May 2, 2024

Well, here it is – the first solo album by Kerry King, after 43 years in the business with Slayer and five years after the thrash legends played their last show of their farewell tour. We have been patiently waiting for new studio material from Kerry King since Repentless came out nine years ago, so to say curiosity and anxiety are high, would be an understatement.

King has been teasing the fans with his forthcoming solo debut for at least a few years, and if it weren’t the pandemic, we would have this debut a lot earlier, but …. that’s life. One of the greatest mysteries was who else would join the band, apart from the previously announced Paul Bostaph and the answer comes with some seasoned metal vets – Kyle Sanders (Hellyeah) on bass and Phil Demmel (ex-Machine Head, ex-Vio-Lence). The final piece of the puzzle is the very welcome addition of Death Angel’s screamer Mark Osegueda, who fits the line-up like a glove. So, what about the music, you might ask? Is it Slayer v. 2.0? Well…. yes and no.

There are two things that make immediate impression – one is the blistering production work by Josh Wilbur (Korn, Lamb of God, Avenged Sevenfold, Bad Religion) and the other is the inhuman performance by Osegueda. We’ve known the guy from Death Angel, yes, and I am not saying he is not killing it there as well, but his vocals on From Hell I Rise should be heard to be believed. This is one of the most aggressive and angry-sounding recordings in Kerry King’s discography and the closest comparison sound and production-wise would probably be God Hates Us All. There are several songs on the album that really bring that Slayer album to mind, especially Residue, Two Fists and Rage. The over-the-top (but not overdone) vocals by Mark, the crunchy, modern sound and mostly mid-tempo riffs, can really put these songs seamlessly among the God Hates tracklist but that shouldn’t come as a surprise, since King was the main composer in that album as well. Idle Hands, Toxic and Rage are more of the same – brutal aggression, the typical King riffs, with more speed added and some great guitar solos by Demmel. Trophies Of The Tyrant could be mistaken for a Death Angel song and Tension reminds of South Of Heaven’s dark, brooding atmosphere. A fantastic song.

The best of the bunch are, naturally, the hyper-speed thrashers like opener and closer Where I Reign (best chorus riff and melodies) and From Hell I Rise, which is probably the most typical of Slayer song. Everything I Hate About You, we should mention, with its off-the-rails punkish aggression and 1:21 duration, is a direct throwback to what Dittohead was in Divine Intervention.  Crucifixation is a total thrash tornado and stands as the album highlight for me, with riffs Gary Hold would kill for, probably showing the Exodus mainman’s influence on Kerry’s composing just a little bit.

In conclusion, from the first few spins, I honestly find From Hell I Rise a much more enjoyable album than Repentless. The music and the performances from all musicians involved are top class yet I somehow feel this is just a warm-up for what’s to come from King’s new band. Blast it loud.

8/10


Kerry King in Facebook

From Hell I Rise is out on May 17th via RPM and you can order it from HERE