KERRY KING On METALLICA's 'St. Anger': 'JAMES HETFIELD Needs To Have A Shot And Get Over It'

September 14, 2003

SLAYER guitarist Kerry King was the subject of this month's "Hard Of Hearing" feature in Britain's Terrorizer magazine. For the article, King was played a song each from 10 different bands and was asked to comment on the music as he was listening to it.

The following are some of the highlights from King's listening session:

METALLICA – "St. Anger"

Kerry King: [2 seconds in] "Ugh! I know what that is! You can tell right away by the shitty mix. I made myself listen to this album twice, just to make sure I hated it as much as I hate it.

[on the snare drum sound] "I mean, what is that? Sounds like he's hitting a Pepsi can or something when it should be a snare sound. I like that intro riff, it could be heavy if it was mixed, this would sound awesome. I'm not sure what they were going for in the mix. For me, it's just the mix.

[on the part of the song when the pace picks up] "This part here could be entertaining as hell, but I just can't get past the mix."

[on the album being the supposed "return to form" that most of the rock press are heralding it as] "Yeah, I read that, and I was like, 'What record were they listening to?' I bet it sounds pretty decent live, and those songs are alright, but there's no reason for those songs to be seven minutes long, let along eight or nine. It's like they have one of the better guitar players on the planet, and they're not letting him play lead. It's kinda like putting cuffs on him. I personally can't understand it. I think the lyrics could have gone further than fuckin' rehab. James needs to have a fuckin' shot and get over it.

"The whole thing about this album that really bugged me is like, 'What was up with the last record ['Load'/'Re-Load']? I thought that's what you liked?' And now they think they're heavy again? To me, I've lived this all my life, day in, day out. I might be Kerry King the homeboy for some of the time, but I'm always SLAYER. METALLICA weren't METALLICA for 10 years. I think when you don't live it, and try to jump back into it… It just doesn't work out."

ANTHRAX – "We've Come For You All" (album)

Kerry King: "Yeah, I got it. It's generic. I like John Bush's singing. I saw 'em the other day and it looks like they're trying to put it back together. I hope they can, but I think they've shot themselves in the foot too many times, and it's hard to take people seriously when they've done so many goofs. Those pentagrams [on the album cover] bug me. You don't just take the pentagram up 20 years into your career. It's like, 'Pentagrams are cool,' so they have them. Fans aren't stupid any more, 'cause I am a fan. I know these guys, but I'm a fan of the music. Shit like that sticks out to me. 'These guys never had pentagrams before, what's up with that?' It's like they didn't think it out completely. It'd be like us using clocks with skulls for our stage show or something."

THE HAUNTED – "Three Times"

Kerry King: "[hums the riff immediately] The best album THE HAUNTED ever put out! I loveTHE HAUNTED! Though I don't think they've made a record as good as the first one. [I'm not] not saying the second and third ones suck, but I still play this first CD. I got it in my hotel room right now. I know my shit. I love that record. [We've] only [played] festivals [with THE HAUNTED], never been on a tour together. That'd be something interesting for the fans to see… A good band."

In the same article, King was asked about the progress of the songwriting sessions for SLAYER's new studio album, the group's first since the return of drummer Dave Lombardo.

"We're already working on new stuff," Kerry said. "We don't have any that we're playing. We've got about five almost finished, and four or five more that we haven't even worked on yet. It takes [Dave] awhile to learn the new stuff, and we have to put a set together to come out and play [referring to SLAYER's most recent European run of dates—Ed.]. When we get back [from the road], we've got plenty of things to work on.

"We would love to be done for the end of the year, so it'll be out for March/April."

When asked how Dave is taking to the new songs that he didn't play on record, King said, "It's awesome. He knows the songs, but we don't put the handcuffs on and make him play like fuckin' Paul [Bostaph, SLAYER's on/off drummer for the last 10 years]. Paul was a lot more technical and big-time pay attention to detail, whereas Dave is a loose cannon. You never know how it's gonna end up, but it always comes out right."

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