“It’s an extension of Slayer, and I think a lot of people will think it might have been the next record”: Kerry King promises business as usual on upcoming solo debut

Kerry King, onstage with Slayer in 2017
(Image credit: Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

Kerry King has been keeping his cards close to his chest ever since Slayer called it quits in 2019. The biggest news to come from the thrash metal trailblazer has been his switch from BC Rich to Dean, and the launch of a pair of über-metal signature guitars.

But he has broken cover to offer an update on his debut solo album, which is he says has been finished for months and will see the light of day in 2024.

If any long-time Slayer fans were harbouring concerns that this hinge moment in the history of a bona-fide metal guitar icon, that perhaps there had been some creative epiphany that sent him down a different direction, they can rest easy.

Speaking to Metal Hammer, King says the album has been done since June 2023, and he assures us that this forthcoming album is very much on-brand – and if anything it is “an extension” of what Slayer was.

I really have no desire to do anything different

Kerry King

“If I was ever to try anything different, I guess that would be the time. But no, I really have no desire to do anything different,” he said. “If I wasn’t in Slayer, I would be a Slayer fan. So yes, I think it’s an extension of Slayer, and I think a lot of people will think it might have been the next record. I guess maybe 80 per cent of it would have been, maybe it would have been exactly what I’m putting on this one. In my eyes, I think it’s a definite extension, a follow-up to Repentless for sure.”

Released in 2015, Repentless was Slayer’s final album and the only studio album recorded after the death of Jeff Hanneman, with Gary Holt stepping in as King’s foil on lead guitar, just as he did on tour. King says there’s some slow doomy stuff on this new record that could set next to Relentless material, including a “cool and spooky” track that calls to mind When The Stillness Comes.

But if you want an idea of how it sounds, then just dig into your record collection and pull out your Slayer records, because all the super fast, super punky and hyper evil sounds on those records are what you’re going to get here – there’s even one track that tantalisingly sounds like the Scorpions’ Animal Magnetism crossed with Hell Awaits.

“There’s definitely some fast stuff on it,” said King. “It’s not the fastest thing I’ve ever done, but I’ve done some pretty fast stuff. There’s definitely some Herculean speeds getting achieved on this, but there’s heavy stuff. There’s punky stuff. There’s doomy stuff. Pretty much any aspect of any kind of music we’ve done in our history, I think you’ll find on this record.”

King was less forthcoming on his band’s personnel. Though he did say that there were no guest spots on the record. It will be interesting who he chooses to front the project. He will make his post-Slayer live solo debut at on 9 May at Welcome To Rockville festival, at Daytona Beach, Florida.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.