Axeman Jeff continues to recover from flesh-eating bug – and frontman Araya promises band will never enter studio without him

Slayer

Time to heal: Hanneman, left, with Slayer

Slayer will give Jeff Hanneman all the time he needs to recover from an attack of necrotising fasciitis in his arm – and have vowed not to start work on a new album until he’s ready.

The guitarist looks likely to continue missing tour dates after a suspected spider bite led to him requiring skin grafts and muscle rehabilitation, a process which is still continuing.

He made a surprise appearance during the Big 4 thrash concert in California in April, but only played a handful of tracks. He’s been replaced on tour by Exodus guitarist Gary Holt then Cannibal Corpse axeman Pat O’Brian.

Slayer frontman Tom Araya tells Billboard: “It was a big deal for him to play in California – it was a big deal for us too. We thought it would be a nice surprise for everybody, and also make them aware he’s still there.

“It’s pretty severe what he’s going through: he’s had skin grafts and he’s got to get his arm back into shape again. It’s going to require a lot of time.”

Speculation has run riot over if and when Slayer will record another album, but Araya appears to suggest it will happen: “There’s no way we’d go into a studio without Jeff. As a band we’re not going to do something without him.

“We require his musical skills and his writing skills. He’s an integral part of the band. So we’re going to hold off until he’s at 100 per cent, and can join the process and be part of it.”

The thrash giants will make their first-ever appearance in Vina del Mar in Chile on Friday, the place Araya was born. He’ll be presented with the keys to the city by Mayor Virginia Reginato.

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