Former Slayer guitarist Kerry King is set to finally release his long-awaited debut album this summer. He’s keeping schtum about who else plays on the album – not least the singer – but he has offered up some information to Hammer. Here’s what we prised out of him when we interviewed him recently for our latest issue.
How close are you to finishing the album?
“Pretty close! It’s been done since June.”
Does it pick up where Slayer left off, or are you heading off in another direction?
“If I was ever to try anything different, I guess that would be the time. But no, I really have no desire to do anything different. If I wasn’t in Slayer, I would be a Slayer fan. So yes, I think it’s an extension of Slayer, and I think a lot of people will think it might have been the next record. I guess maybe 80% of it would have been, maybe it would have been exactly what I’m putting on this one. In my eyes, I think it’s a definite extension, a follow-up to [Slayer’s 2015 final album] Repentless for sure.”
How fast and extreme does it get, musically?
“There’s definitely some fast stuff on it. It’s not the fastest thing I’ve ever done, but I’ve done some pretty fast stuff. There’s definitely some Herculean speeds getting achieved on this, but there’s heavy stuff. There’s punky stuff. There’s doomy stuff. Pretty much any aspect of any kind of music we’ve done in our history, I think you’ll find on this record.”
What about the other end of the spectrum? Are there any slower songs or musical surprises on the album?
“For me, the slowest one is similar in vibe to [Repentless track] When The Stillness Comes. That one came out really cool and spooky. And then there was one where my entire intention was to write something like the Scorpions’ Animal Magnetism crossed with the ‘chug’ of Hell Awaits. That one came together pretty early. I like that song a lot. I mean, I like all of them a lot, but that one, that one’s got a different vibe for sure.”
What inspired you lyrically this time around? Any specific events?
“I had war entries in my songtitles and lyrics, but after I finished those, the Ukraine war broke out, so I made a point to go back to them and take out anything I felt was insensitive to the Ukraine situation. I like to get the idea of the song across without being too close to home.”
Can you reveal anything about who plays on the album? And will they also be in the live band?
"It’s my intention that everybody that’s on the record is going to be in the band, hopefully for its entirety.”
Are there any guest appearances on the album?
“No, we addressed that pretty early and suggestions were made, but my answer was always that it’s not reproducible live. I don’t want to waste songs and not be able to play them live.”
Any other plans for 2023 up your sleeve that you want to share?
“Enjoying the rest of the American football season, of course.”
Pick up the latest issue of Metal Hammer to read more from our huge 2024 preview