Slayer guitarist Kerry King has admitted that the band considered giving up on the album format.
They thought about drawing a line under their studio career in the light of diminishing sales and increasing piracy – but in the end decided to keep going. They released 11th album Repentless last year.
King tells RVAMag: “We definitely thought about not releasing new music any more. Maybe doing what Down did, and release four songs before every tour.
“But really, until the time comes that albums are obsolete, you better believe Slayer’s going to be making records.”
He accepts that his band are living on their past legacy to an extent. “But so is everyone else – yet we’re the ones trying to push ourselves forward.
“I would say Iron Maiden and Metallica, no offence, are living on past success. Metallica has toured for ever on the Black record. It’s a great record.
“Iron Maiden is living off their first three records. Have they made good records since then? Yeah – but they haven’t made great records. I do think we’re still making great records.”
King argues that, even though album sales are down compared to previous decades, it’s not an accurate measurement of how well Slayer are doing. “My barometer is the live show where people show up,” he says.
“That means people are into the music, whether the record is selling or not. They have it, they know it – we can play it and have them sing it right back to us.”
He adds: “People get music for free. One person downloads it and shares it with five people. It’s not the same as it used to be. I can’t be bitter about it, because that’s just how time has changed.”
Slayer are currently touring North America. They return to Europe in the summer and appear at Bloodstock Open Air, Derbyshire, on August 14.
Slayer, Testament, Carcass 2016 North American tour dates
Mar 03: Philadelphia The Fillmore, PA
Mar 05: Silver Spring The Fillmore, MD
Mar 06: Boston House Of Blues, MA
Mar 08: Columbus The LC Pavilion, OH
Mar 09: Madison Orpheum Theatre, WI
Mar 11: St Paul Myth, MN
Mar 12: Fargo Civic Center, ND
Mar 14: Calgary Macewan Hall, AB
Mar 15: Edmonton Shaw Conference Centre, AB
Mar 17: Boise Revolution Center, ID
Mar 19: Seattle Paramount Theater, WA
Mar 20: Portland Roseland Theater, OR
Mar 22: San Francisco Warfield Theater, CA
Mar 26: Las Vegas The Joint, NV