While the death of Jeff Hanneman looms large over Slayer's upcoming Repentless album, it's not the only loss that has affected guitarist Kerry King. The musician tells the Phoenix New Times that he dealt with a pair of deaths in quick succession that really left a mark on him.

"A lot of people don't know that a year before Jeff died, I lost my guitar tech. He passed away, too -- more unexpected than Jeff was -- and that was difficult for me," says the guitarist.

Both losses fueled King as he penned a song called "Chasing Death" that appears on the upcoming release. "I'm getting to the age where you deal with more deaths than you do weddings," explained King. "I was having conversation with Jeff about his spider bite and everything and I told him that he had just been chasing death. I said he needed to focus on getting better and get rolling again. So part of that song is about addiction and part of it is about the finality of dealing with death. I don't know. I had to write it. I don't usually have to write songs -- but I had to write that one."

But while Hanneman's death is addressed on the new album, King says that not all of the music is derived from that. In fact, he had been writing plenty prior to Hanneman's death and there was material that had been lying around for years waiting to be addressed. For instance, he reveals that the intro to the recently released song "When the Stillness Comes" is 20 years old. The same goes for "Vices."

"At the time, I just didn't have the things to marry them to," says King. "I like that, though -- figuring those things out. It kinda gives the record a sound of what Slayer wrote 20 years ago was well as what Slayer wrote in the past five years."

Slayer's new album, Repentless, is due on Sept. 11.

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