Slayer-Mayhem spat: Festival boss calls for unity

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The co-creator of the Mayhem touring festival has called for unity in the metal world following a spat with Slayer guitarist Kerry King.

The thrash icon ruffled feathers by criticising the Mayhem lineup, and questioning the quality of one record label’s roster. That followed comments from festival boss Kevin Lyman, who blamed “old, fat and bald” metal acts for ruining the genre’s reputation – although he later apologised.

Now Lyman’s colleague John Reese has appealed for calm. He says in an open letter: “We are one community. It is vitally important that we all unite, not divide. Without each others’ support the only thing that suffers is metal as a genre.

“In the midst of our most challenging year of producing the festival, Kevin made some comments that he has subsequently apologised for.

“Kevin is an honourable man and he’s given everything he has to the presentation of music and expanding the profits of countless artists.”

Reese says he understands why the arguments broke out and admits: “The event has suffered as a result of these comments.”

He adds: “What’s done is done. But I’m here to say that heavy metal is alive and well. We as a culture have faced ostracism from the mainstream for decades, and we should not let over-sensationalised media hype separate us. I think we’re all tired of the bullshit – I know I am.”

Thanking Slayer and the other Mayhem acts, Reese says: “Let’s move the conversation forward, supporting each other, not dividing.”