KERRY KING Admits SLAYER 'Got A Little Lost During The '90s' With 'Diabolus In Musica' Album

May 30, 2024

In a new interview with Metal Blast, SLAYER guitarist Kerry King was asked what he would say if he could go back in time and impart some well-earned wisdom about the music business to his younger self. He replied (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "That's easy, 'cause there's one part of my career that I always look back at and go, 'You should have paid more attention then.' The '90s. 'Pay attention to the '90s and don't put out the shitty albums you're probably gonna put out in the '90s.'

"I don't like the stuff we did in the '90s," Kerry admitted. "I was very disenchanted by music because bands that were getting popular I didn't understand. And I still don't understand. I never liked LIMP BIZKIT. I never liked bands of that era. It just bummed me out and turned me off. And it's really visible to me on [1998's] 'Diabolus In Musica'. I didn't pay any attention to that album. I had a couple of songs on there, but I didn't contribute as much as I usually do. And then I came back to my senses and I said, 'You know what? Fuck that.' I'm, like, 'We're in SLAYER. We need to be fucking important. I need to pay attention to this shit.' And you can tell that I started paying attention when [2001's] 'God Hates Us All' came out, 'cause that was kind of our rebirth into, like, 'Yeah, we got a little lost during the '90s, but we righted the ship and here we go.'"

Asked if SLAYER's change in the musical direction during the '90s was a creative decision or if there was pressure from others for the band to try something different, King replied: "I think Jeff [Hanneman, late SLAYER guitarist] tried to embrace being a little different and I just hated it. [Laughs] And it shows in my contribution. And I know that in hindsight. As soon as that record came out, I'm, like, 'Man, I should have paid more attention to that album and contributed more' — just to get my angst across instead of listening to a band try to evolve into something they weren't. And you can argue that statement as well. Some people really like that album, but it's definitely not my favorite.

"And we weren't real prolific in the '90s," Kerry added. "Paul [Bostaph, SLAYER drummer] left us once. So we did the 'Undisputed Attitude' album, which I am very proud of; I love that covers record. We had a couple original songs, a couple of punk songs from Jeff. 'Gemini' from me.

"Yeah, the late '90s just — it's not a good point in my history, in my mind."

When the interviewer noted that SLAYER didn't follow in the footsteps of bands like MACHINE HEAD by donning kung fu outfits and "little dreadlocks" during the "nu-metal" era, King replied: "Yeah, I wasn't that bad."

King previously talked about the change in SLAYER's musical direction on "Diabolus In Musica" in a 2010 interview with Metal Hammer magazine. At the time, he said: "It was the fuckin' LIMP BIZKIT era. I remember that it was the only time that I let something influence what I was writing. When we made the 'Diabolus In Musica' record, I wasn't into writing music because I was so offended by that shit. I couldn't understand why anybody would make music like that, let alone like it. That was definitely my darkest time as a musician, and that definitely showed up on 'Diabolus…' through my lack of involvement."

Asked why he thinks the SLAYER fans stuck with the band through that period, King said: "We never tried to be something we weren't. Fans see that. I remember being into bands and when they made drastic changes I hated it, so being in a band and being able to make those choices, that was something I never wanted to do. We were still SLAYER; it just wasn't our best time back then."

Regarding when he realized that metal was on its way back, King said: "Believe it or not, I predicted it when GODSMACK and DISTURBED started to get big. Kids were getting into heavier music and they were gonna get tired of it and go to the next level, and then they're gonna come right down our street. I said that years ago, and that's essentially what happened. SLIPKNOT were a definite new thing, too, and their first record was great."

Kerry's debut solo album, "From Hell I Rise", was released on May 17 via Reigning Phoenix Music.

Joining Kerry in his new band are Mark Osegueda (vocals; DEATH ANGEL),Phil Demmel (guitar; MACHINE HEAD, VIO-LENCE),Kyle Sanders (bass; HELLYEAH) and drummer Paul Bostaph (SLAYER, TESTAMENT, EXODUS).

Earlier this month, the KERRY KING band performed its first live show at Reggies in Chicago. In the days that followed, the band went from playing an intimate venue to performing at the huge U.S. festivals Welcome To Rockville (Florida) and Sonic Temple (Ohio).

Now the KERRY KING band is ready to embark on a European tour that will start on June 3 — on King's 60th birthday. The trek will combine headline shows in the U.K., The Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Spain but also festival appearances such as Rock Am Ring, Hellfest, Tuska, Download, Sweden Rock Festival and many more.

All material for "From Hell I Rise" was written by the 59-year-old SLAYER guitarist. Helming the sessions at Henson Recording Studios in Los Angeles last year was producer Josh Wilbur, who has previously worked with KORN, LAMB OF GOD, AVENGED SEVENFOLD and BAD RELIGION, among others.

KERRY KING will be special guest on the upcoming LAMB OF GOD/MASTODON North American "Ashes Of Leviathan" co-headline tour. The six-week run will launch on July 19 in Grand Prairie, Texas and will wrap on August 31 in Omaha, Nebraska.

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