The answer to a question Slayer singer/bassist Tom Araya was asked during an interview is about to be as criticized as Kevin Lyman’s “metal got gray bald and fat” comment was earlier this year. During an interview with Germany’s Rock Hard magazine, he was asked about Repentless and his thoughts on it. Not only did he call the current lineup, the first album without founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman and first without Dave Lombardo since 2006, “half of Slayer,” but he doubled down on his comments, saying it multiple times:

When someone [asks], ‘How do you feel about the record?’ I say, ‘It’s Slayer. Well, half of Slayer, but it still sounds like Slayer.’ It sounds like a Slayer record. When you listen to it, you go, ‘This is Slayer.’ But then you have to sit back and [go], ‘Well, part of Slayer… It’s half of Slayer.’ You know what I mean? Because of what we’ve gone through. I listen to it and… Inside, yeah, I feel like, ‘Okay, well this is…’ Because of my perspective, it’s half of Slayer. But when I listen to it, it’s Slayer; it’s identifiable.”

He continued: “I think it’s really good for half of Slayer. That’s what I’m saying. When you listen to it, [you go], ‘Oh my God, this is Slayer.’ I said that without the thought that it’s just me and [guitarist] Kerry [King from the original lineup]. I said it with, ‘Oh my God. this is Slayer.’ ‘Cause I’m a fan. You know what I mean? And my concern is, ‘What are people gonna think?’ ‘What am I gonna think?’ And so when I heard it, I was, like, ‘Oh my God, this is Slayer.’ But deep inside, I know… I know that Jeff’s not here, and that we were lucky enough to have a song of his on the record. So that, to me, was… ‘Oh my God, this is Slayer.’ But inside I correct myself. I go, ‘Well, half of Slayer, but this is Slayer.’ As a fan, I can sit back and go, ‘My God…’ And it sounded awesome.”

It’s interesting to hear Araya refer to the band in a way that many detractors of the band’s current lineup have. And while there’s been some harping among fans about Dave Lombardo leaving the band over contract negotiations, this is the first time a member of the band has referenced that, even though he doesn’t mention Lombardo by name. He also devalues the work that Paul Bostaph and Gary Holt have done for Repentless, so there might be a little in-band tension.

[via Metal Sucks]