Writing and recording
World Painted Blood marked the first time that the band wrote material in the studio rather than entering the studio fully prepared with lyrics. The fact that they were not prepared made guitarist Kerry King skeptical. King related: "I was kind of thinking, 'Man, this could be the first record in a long time that's got a little bit of filler,'" he acknowledges. "But I think every song came out great. I was concerned some would sound similar, and every one is completely different. It's cool how it worked out." The majority of the lyrics and music were written by guitarist Jeff Hanneman. Kerry King stated: "I like when Jeff writes as much as he did for this record. When you have one guy doing most of the writing you only get one perspective. A lot of Jeff's stuff has a very punky vibe this time; the stuff I write sounds thrashy but with a hint of punk, and when Jeff writes the stuff is more punk with a hint of thrash. It works together well." Unlike 2006's Christ Illusion, the band was "under-ready" with their lyrics and music.
Because we did those first three songs in October and those were all his. I don't know if he's worked just since January like I have. I would imagine he probably worked a little earlier than that.
Kerry King, Blabbermouth.net (2009)
The album was recorded in Los Angeles, California with producer Greg Fidelman during October 2008 and then recorded from late January and March 2009. There were 13 songs recorded for the album, but only 11 appear on the album. In May 2009, King said of the album: "I think this one has a little bit of everything—more so than anything we've done since Seasons. So I would imagine people are gonna compare it to that one." The band had recorded thirteen songs for the album, seven written by lead guitarist Jeff Hanneman and six by King, although not all of them were included. King later confirmed the album's release date was pushed back to late summer 2009. An article on Slayer's website confirmed the album's name. On August 20, 2009, Roadrunner Records confirmed the track listing. Thom Jurek of Allmusic said the production "takes a different tack altogether for this guitar-manic crew." A listening party for World Painted Blood was held on October 30, 2009 at Duff's Brooklyn in Williamsburg, New York. The event started at 9:00 pm
During the recording of World Painted Blood, King used BC Rich Guitars, Marshall Amplifiers and Cabs, Dunlop strings and picks, EMG pickups, and Korg tuners. Hanneman used ESP guitars, Marshall Amplifiers and Cabs, Dunlop strings and picks, Monster Cables, and Shure Wireless System. Vocalist/bassist Araya used ESP basses, Marshall Bass Amplifiers and Cabs, EMG Pick-Ups, Dunlop Picks and accessories, and MXR Effects. Lombardo used Tama Drums, Paiste cymbals, Pro-Mark drum sticks, and Evans drum heads.