"My band is not a solo project. My band is the band I intend to play with until the end of time.” Kerry King admits that yes, he will be playing Slayer songs this summer, but only select cuts

Kerry King
(Image credit: Martin Hausler)

There's just over a week to go until Kerry King's new project release their debut album From Hell I Rise and prep for a summer run of shows across Europe and the UK before returning to the US for a mamoth tour with Lamb Of God and Mastodon. But before all that, King's band are set to make their live debut this week with an incredibly intimate show at Reggie's Rock Club in Chicago on May 7, ahead of an appearance at Welcome To Rockville on Thursday (May 9).

Naturally there's plenty of curiosity around what a Kerry King solo setlist will look like. Thankfully, the thrash metal legend has put some fans' concerns to rest, clarifying that yes, he will be playing Slayer songs - albeit choice cuts. Speaking at a Q&A event in Germany, King explained exactly how his setlists are likely to look this summer.

"For this coming summer in Europe we’re gonna do like nine or 10 tracks from the album and depending on set length fill it with stuff I’ve done - something I wrote in Slayer or co-wrote." he explained. " So nobody can say ‘he’s playing Jeff [Hanneman] songs!’ because although I love Jeff songs and he was such a big part of my life, I don’t want to rely on it this year, this album cycle. At some point, I will play Angel Of Death but there’s so many fucking faceless haters on the internet I don’t want to give them ammunition.”

Of course, that opens the grounds for plenty of Slayer classics to still make the set, including some rare songs that could make a comeback. But King's solo band has more of a pedigree than just Slayer with the likes of Phil Demmel (ex-Machine Head, Vio-Lence) and Mark Osegueda (Death Angel) in their ranks so the question was asked if any of their songs might also make the final cut. 

“We’ve spoken about covers," King mused. "But we probably won’t be doing them in June and July, but the format for covers in my band is music from bands that don’t exist anymore. Say for instance, Ace Of Spades. I want to cover bands that don’t play those songs anymore – like Iron Maiden don’t play the first two albums. Stuff like that which is meaningful and my band can go out and kick the shit out of it."

In this month's Metal Hammer cover feature, King shared exactly what his new band means to him, and that this year's surprise Slayer reunion isn't "going to translate into recording and it's not going to translate into touring."

"For me, it's three shows marking five years since our final shows, a fun, 'Hey, remember us from before the pandemic?' celebration," he explained. 

At the Q&A, King also elaborated that although his new band bear his name, he very much sees it as a band. "Although the band is called Kerry King let me be clear – my band is not a solo project," he stated resolutely. "My band is the band I intend to play with until the end of time.”

From Hell I Rise is out May 16 via Reigning Phoenix. For the full list of upcoming Kerry King tour dates, visit the official website. Read more about Kerry King's new project in the latest issue of Metal Hammer, on-sale now.  

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Kerry King on the cover of Metal Hammer

(Image credit: Future (Cover shot: Travis Shinn))
Rich Hobson

Staff writer for Metal Hammer, Rich has never met a feature he didn't fancy, which is just as well when it comes to covering everything rock, punk and metal for both print and online, be it legendary events like Rock In Rio or Clash Of The Titans or seeking out exciting new bands like Nine Treasures, Jinjer and Sleep Token.