Here’s everything we know about Slayer guitarist Kerry King’s new band so far

Kerry King
(Image credit: Martin Hausler)

Kerry King is a true icon of heavy metal. The former Slayer guitarist remains one of this genre’s most instantly identifiable and beloved figures, even though it’s now been four long years since his band split. We’ve not heard much from him since Slayer’s implosion, but one thing we do know (and that he really enjoys reminding us of every time he does pop up) is that he’s working on new music. We’re so excited about what the bearded barbarian of thrash is doing next that, here, we’ve compiled everything we’ve heard about this new project thus far.

Metal Hammer line break

Why did Slayer break up?

It’s complicated, and we don’t really have any definitive answers. However, bassist/vocalist Tom Araya appears to be the man sickest of the touring lifestyle – after all, Kerry told us at Hammer that Slayer’s end was “premature”, guitarist Gary Holt has since returned to the road with Exodus and drummer Paul Bostaph recently jammed on-stage with Jamey Jasta. Kerry also expressed anger to us over what he deemed an all-too-quick end for the Big 4’s most riotous force: “I can still play, I still want to play, but that livelihood got taken away from me,” he lamented.

What is Kerry King doing now?

Keeping himself to himself, mainly. Unfortunately, we don’t know the ins and outs of Kerry’s daily routine, and he’s not the sort of bloke to open himself up on social media. There have been a few sightings at various gigs, though, and he dipped his foot into the acting world with a cameo in the 2022 Foo Fighters horror movie Studio 666. Other than that, we assume he’s been working on new music – speaking of which…

Does Kerry King have a new band?

Kerry definitely does have a new band, and he’s got plenty of songs in his back pocket too. In a 2020 interview with Dean Guitars, he revealed that he has two records’ worth of new music ready to go. The only other member of the new band that we know about is Paul Bostaph, who Kerry tells us he’s been jamming some ideas with since March 2022. So, we should be getting close to hearing it soon – fingers crossed.

What is the name of Kerry King’s new band?

This we do not know. In the immediate aftermath of Slayer’s split, there was some pretty random speculation that Kerry might be creating a solo project, but going out under his own name doesn’t really feel like a very Kerry King thing to do. Some people have done some digging and found that King registered a new company under the name Blood Reign back in 2017 – just prior to the announcement of Slayer’s decision to call it quits. Hmm… It might be pure coincidence, but it’s the best lead we’ve got at present.

What does Kerry King’s new band sound like?

Come on, it’s not going to be acoustic covers of Motown songs, is it?! We’re happy to stick our neck on the block and assume it’s going to be brutal dizzying thrash metal with some out-of-control, squealing guitar solos and plenty of evil lyrics. Kerry himself admitted as much to Hammer in 2022, when he said, “Well, you know me, so you know what it’s going to sound like. I don’t need to elaborate on that any further.” He then elaborated anyway, saying, “I remember I was playing this new song for a buddy […] and he said to me, ‘That sounds like you could have pulled it off of any Slayer record!’ And, like, yeah, sure. Me and Jeff [Hanneman] wrote all of that stuff, so what else am I supposed to write?”

Are Slayer ever coming back?

Realistically, it’s doubtful. Kerry and Gary Holt have tentatively appeared keen in the past, but the big fly in the ointment is the total silence from Tom Araya. Kerry told Hammer in 2021, “The way that I’m moving forward is I don’t think Slayer are ever going to play again. There’s no business of me playing by myself!” Never say never – but feel free to say probably not.

Stephen Hill

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.