Last month, Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman underwent emergency surgery on his right arm for a serious infection, diagnosed as necrotizing fasciitis and likely rooted from a spider bite. Hanneman is expected to make a full recovery (already beginning the process of subsequent medical procedures such as skin grafts), though he is forced to sit on the sidelines for the time being. While the band has canceled touring plans in the past to allow frontman/bassist Tom Araya to recover from back surgery, Slayer has decided to go forward and perform the upcoming Australian Soundwave Festival tour, kicking off on February 26, without Hanneman.

Guitarist Kerry King gave the following explanation regarding their decision:

“After everything that happened last year, we all agreed that we just can’t let our fans down again. Jeff is totally on board with this decision, so we will tour as planned. At this point, we can’t pinpoint exactly what day he’ll be back, but he’ll be back as soon as he possibly can. And we can’t wait for Jeff to get better and get his ass back on the road.”

Slayer will be bring in a guest guitarist to fill in for Hanneman. Details regarding the fill-in are expected to be revealed shortly. It’s weird to think of Slayer performing without Hanneman, just as weird as it would have been to see them perform without Araya for that matter. But it’s cool to see Slayer acknowledging that they didn’t want to disappoint fans like they did the last few times with Araya’s injuries. We will keep you updated when more is revealed.