"The most aggressive thing Kerry King has produced since God Hates Us All": Kerry King's solo debut From Hell I Rise sees the thrash legend at his tooth-gnashing, head-banging best

Slayer might have called it quits in 2019, but From Hell I Rise proves Kerry King still has a lot to say

Kerry King 2024
(Image: © Travis Shinn)

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Retirement was never an option for Kerry King. Even before the untimely passing of guitarist Jeff Hanneman in 2013, it often seemed that Kerry was hauling Slayer along, almost single-handedly, with the ferocious focus and determination of a man with no Plan B and vast quantities of self-belief. 

Some degree of sheen may have been lost from the launch of his first solo album, thanks to his old band’s decision to reform for some lucrative festival performances this year, but make no mistake: From Hell I Rise is the sound of a man with absolutely zero interest in fading into the background. 

It is also the most pissed off and aggressive thing Kerry King has produced since God Hates Us All more than two decades ago. First things first: From Hell I Rise is instantly recognisable as Kerry’s work, and similarities to Slayer’s most recent material are part of the deal. 

With Paul Bostaph on drums and Death Angel’s Mark Osegueda assuming vocal duties, these furious new songs are rooted in the same dark thrash and groove-driven brutality that typified Slayer’s final album, Repentless. But again, thanks in part to Mark, From Hell I Rise also sounds like the start of something new. 

As showcased on first single Idle Hands, Kerry King is simply steamrollering forward, armed with a thousand riffs and a million things to be seriously fucking annoyed about. This album is so angry, one might worry about its creator’s state of mind. But this is Kerry King, so stop your whining and bang your fucking head. Ultimately, what do people really want from a Kerry King solo album? 

The album goes for the jugular from the start, slamming the guitarist’s retooled identity into our faces and grinning maniacally when doing it. After the domineering overture of Diablo, this veteran wrecking crew slam the hammer down and barely draw breath for the next 50 minutes. 

Where I Reign encapsulates the KK ethos. A natural successor to Kerry-penned Slayer songs like Hate Worldwide and Implode, it provides a jolting dose of remorseless, fat-free, modern thrash, and sets the scene for a sustained and exhilarating act of catharsis, with Kerry as scowling overlord, and Mark as a teeth-spitting, mad-eyed ringmaster. 

Throughout, the Death Angel man is a revelation. One of thrash metal’s most underrated vocalists, he sounds dangerously angry and unhinged (albeit perhaps on Kerry’s behalf), and delivers a vocal performance so venomous and vital that listeners may find themselves recoiling from the speakers in case they get a slap. 

Songs such as Residue, Trophies Of The Tyrant and Crucifixation may tell us little that we don’t already know about Kerry’s songwriting, but a new voice and a renewed sense of purpose have made them fresher and more exciting than anything on the last few Slayer albums. From the seething sprint of Everything I Hate About You to the pitch-black triumphalism of the title track, this is what people should want and expect from a Kerry King solo album. He’s back and he’s fucking livid.

From Hell I Rise is out Friday May 17 via Reigning Phoenix. Kerry King is on the cover of the new issue of Metal Hammer, on-sale now!  Order it online and have it delivered straight to your door.

Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson has been writing for Metal Hammer and Prog for over 14 years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He also contributes to The Guardian, Classic Rock, Bravewords and Blabbermouth and has previously written for Kerrang! magazine in the mid-2000s.