In the annals of heavy metal lore, a singular figure looms large: KERRY KING. Renowned as the axeman extraordinaire of Slayer, his name is synonymous with ferocious riffs and unbridled intensity. Yet, beyond the blistering solos and thunderous rhythms, lies a lesser-known facet of his musical prowess – his mastery of the bass guitar.
Since the early 1990s, Kerry King has quietly assumed the role of bassist on every Slayer album, a fact often overlooked amidst the cacophony of distortion and mayhem. But now, as the sun sets on one chapter of his illustrious career, King emerges from the shadows with his debut studio album, “From Hell I Rise,” slated for release on May 17 under the banner of Reigning Phoenix Music.
This ambitious endeavor sees King joined by a formidable ensemble of metal luminaries. Among them, the soaring vocals of DEATH ANGEL’s Mark Osegueda, the thunderous drumming of Slayer’s own Paul Bostaph, the seismic bass grooves of former HELLYEAH maestro Kyle Sanders, and the blistering guitar work of ex-MACHINE HEAD and VIO-LENCE virtuoso Phil Demmel.
In a candid conversation with Rolling Stone, King sheds light on his multifaceted role within Slayer and the rifts that led to the band’s dissolution. Reflecting on his longstanding tenure as both guitarist and bassist, King reveals a rift between himself and former bandmate Tom Araya, whose retirement marked the end of an era for Slayer.
The dissolution of Slayer in late 2019 brought with it a sobering reality for King, who admits to a strained relationship with Araya in the band’s twilight years. A pivotal moment arose when Araya’s public endorsement of political figures clashed with King’s convictions, revealing a schism that ran deeper than musical differences.
Despite the discord, King harbors no ill will towards his erstwhile comrade. Theirs is a relationship defined by mutual respect and artistic collaboration, even amidst ideological divergence. As the final notes of Slayer’s farewell tour faded into the night, King found solace in the bonds forged through music, even as the prospect of reconciliation remains uncertain.
As the curtain falls on one chapter of metal history, Kerry King stands poised at the precipice of a new era. With “From Hell I Rise,” he embarks on a sonic odyssey that promises to captivate and inspire, a testament to the enduring spirit of metal and the indomitable will of its creators.