Review: Kerry King – ‘From Hell I Rise’

The marketing ploy of the year has to be Kerry King releasing his debut solo album in the same week as Jonathan Yeo unveiled his divisive portrait of King Charles. Or should that read Jonathan Yeo unveiling his divisive portrait in the same week that Kerry King released his debut solo album? The Independent reported: “The unusual portrait has divided opinion amongst royal fans and social media users, with some saying the large swathes of red made them “uncomfortable” and that it looked like the monarch was “in hell”.” “Uncomfortable”…that’s nothing compared to what the Slayer legend’s ‘From Hell I Rise’ album would make them feel.

With a crack team of hardened players by his side – drummer Paul Bostaph (Slayer), bassist Kyle Sanders (Hellyeah), Phil Demmel (formerly of Machine Head, and played together with King when he stood in for Slayer’s Gary Holt at short notice) on guitar, and vocalist Mark Osegueda (Death Angel) – King (who has held a seat at the top table of Metal Royalty since Slayer released ‘Reign In Blood’ in 1986) says: “…this is what I know how to do…number one being music, number two being metal. It’s been a part of my life for 40 years, and I’m nowhere near being done.”

With his signature guitar sound very much at the forefront of the album, and forming a killer co-lead guitar partnership with Demmel (whose solo on ‘Toxic’ hits hard) King is in inspired form. Age and time have not diminished the fury and vitriol coursing through his veins and after the brief scene-setting instrumental ‘Diablo’ opens the album, Kerry lets loose on ‘Where I Reign’ and necks are snapping everywhere throughout the metal community. It’s relentless, fast, and just what you would expect from a Kerry King album. The spotlight might be on King for obvious reasons, but the work of Paul Bostaph and the vastly under-rated Mark Osegueda steals the show; although, the sludgy dual-guitars mid-song do get two thumbs up.

Bostaph particularly shines on the early stages of ‘Residue’ which owes as much to groove metal as it does to thrash (as does ‘Trophies of The Tyrant’), and it’s not difficult to imagine him needing some new foot pedals after playing this one live (ditto ‘Idle Hands’ and ‘Rage’). Had ‘Crucifixation’ clocked in at 2 minutes rather than the 5 minutes that it runs for then it would be a classic hardcore/punk punch to the solar plexus. But that comes with the 90-second long ‘Everything I Hate About You’. ‘Two Fists’, however, is another hardcore-influenced moment even though it comes in at 3 times the normal length of a hardcore anthem (the bottom end from Kyle Sanders is tasty on this one).

Ending with the all-guns-blazing approach of the title track,  ‘From Hell I Rise’ is further proof if needed that Kerry King still has a lot to say. When both he and Demmel lock into that dual-guitar groove, young pretenders to the throne back away, bowing as they go. The Electric Ballroom in London 2 days after King’s appearance at Download Festival is shaping up to be one of those “I was there” moments.

‘From Hell I Rise’ is available now via Reigning Phoenix Music, HERE

Kerry King EU & UK live dates:

03.06.2024 NL Tilburg – 013

04.06.2024 NL Enschede – Hertog Jan Zaal

06.06.2024 SE Sölvesborg – Sweden Rock Festival

07.06.2024 DE Nürburgring – Rock am Ring

08.06.2024 PL Gdańsk – Mystic Festival

09.06.2024 DE Nuremberg – Rock im Park

11.06.2024 DE Hamburg – Große Freiheit 36

12.06.2024 DE Berlin – Huxleys Neue Welt

13.06.2024 AT Nickelsdorf – Nova Rock

15.06.2024 CZ Hradec Králové , Rock For People

16.06.2024 UK Derby – Download Festival

18.06.2024 UK London – Electric Ballroom

20.06.2024 BE Dessel – Graspop Metal Meeting

21.06.2024 DK Copenhagen – Copenhell

22.06.2024 FI Nummijärvi, Nummirock Metal Festival

26.06.2024 ES Viveiro – Resurrection Fest

27.06.2024 FR Clisson – Hellfest

28.06.2024 FI Helsinki – Tuska

29.06.2024 PT Lisbon – Evil Live Festival, Altice Arena

Tickets available HERE

Review – Dave

Band photo: Jim Louvau

Kerry King photo: Andrew Stuart Photography

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