Slayer guitarist Kerry King names the “perfect” riff he’s written: “It’s got a lot of harmony going on”

Kerry King in 2024
(Image credit: Press/Andrew Stuart)

Slayer guitarist Kerry King has named the “perfect” riff from his own back-catalogue in a new interview.

Talking to Metal Hammer Germany, the 60-year-old gave the honour to Crucifixation, a song from his new solo album From Hell I Rise.

“The perfect Kerry King riff, to me, is probably the newest one I made up that I’m excited about on any given day,” the guitarist said (as transcribed by Blabbermouth).

“The perfect Kerry King riff – it’s really difficult, but we’re very notorious historically for making up songs with tons of riffs, and there’s tons of riffs on this album, From Hell I Rise.”

After zeroing in on Crucifixation, King explained: “It’s got a lot of harmony going on. It elevates from just the riff to one harmony to the next harmony to the next harmony.

“It’s also got a bunch of drum-fill breaks, which I was very happy to present to Paul [Bostaph, Slayer and Kerry King drummer] when I made that song up.

“I said, ‘Hey, dude, I’ve got a song that's got recurring drum fills. Man, I need you to do your best Bill Ward [Black Sabbath drummer].’ And I think we did that. And I’ll pick that riff for now because it’s a big part of a super-thrashy song, but it’s very heavy and slow and very Sabbath-influenced.”

King revealed his solo band in February with the release of his debut single Idle Hands.

Two weeks later, it was announced that Slayer would be reuniting after a five-year retirement.

Talking exclusively to Metal Hammer UK, King described the timing of the Slayer comeback announcement as “not my favourite”.

“In Kerry King world, would I have wished that that announcement had taken place a few months later? Absolutely,” the guitarist said. “But that was out of my hands.

“The announcement came, and people got all excited or all pained about it, but hopefully when I release another song, the attention will switch back to my record.”

Nonetheless, King released From Hell I Rise on May 17 to positive reviews.

The guitarist’s namesake band – rounded out by vocalist Mark Oseguada (Death Angel), drummer Paul Bostaph (Slayer), guitarist Phil Demmel (ex-Machine Head) and bassist Kyle Sanders (ex-Hellyeah) – start their tour of Europe to promote the album tonight (June 3) in Tilburg, Netherlands.

King’s band will also play across North America later in the summer.

For the full list of dates and to get tickets, see the musician’s website.

Slayer will play their first reunion show at Riot Fest in Chicago from September 20 to 22, then perform two additional dates at Louder Than Life in Louisville on September 27 and Aftershock in Sacramento on October 10.

King recently revealed in an interview that Slayer shows post-comeback will be few and far between.

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.