ALBUM REVIEW: Kerry King – From Hell I Rise

December 1st 2019. 

The first day waking up in a post-Slayer world.

A dark day indeed. 

Having played their final show in Inglewood, California, the previous night, the Huntington Park Thrash Metal game changers could now only be referred to in the past tense. Yes, their legacy will reign forever but without the prospect of any new music or tours, the world just seemed a darker, quieter place. It just wasn’t right, damn it.

Having been the main driving force behind the band for the last few years of their existence, we all knew that guitarist Kerry King would never go down without a fight and that it would only be a matter of time until he reappeared. Well, that time is now and the record is the appropriately titled From Hell I Rise (released on the equally appropriate Reigning Phoenix Music label).

For months the project was shrouded in secrecy. Who would appear? Who wouldn’t appear? Who would be the singer? Would it even sound like Slayer? So many questions that, when finally answered on the 5th of February this year along with the release of the band’s first single, “Idle Hands”, resulted in an audible sigh of relief being heard around the world.

It sounded like Slayer.
Well, duh.
But the line-up.

Former Slayer, Exodus and Forbidden drummer Paul Bostaph – pretty much announced from the very beginning, but a great start; Kyle Sanders on bass – probably the least-known member of the band, but anyone even remotely familiar with Hellyeah and Bloodsimple will be able to confirm his worthiness; Phil Demmel as King’s axe partner – as in Vio-Lence, Machine Head and Lamb Of God Phil Demmel? Fuck yeah; and the singer who is going to have to be prepared for endless comparisons to Tom Araya? That’ll be Mark Osegueda from Death Angel then. And if you were wondering if he was up to the task then just take a listen to any of his Slayer covers with Metal Allegiance. If there is one single person on Satan’s green Earth who is not only able to pull this off but make it sound perfectly natural then it’s him.

Kicking off with a guitar tone from the South Of Heaven ball park, “Diablo” is a surprisingly melodic introduction which true opener “Where I Reign” promptly hammers straight into the fucking ground. Fast, antagonistic and about as subtle as a concrete block to the face, Osegueda sounds like he’s been fed nothing but a diet of raw meat for the last few months as he gorges ravenously on riffs which in all honesty the last couple of Slayer albums could have done with.

Second single “Residue” is a slow crawl to hell with occasional bursts of rage where both King and Demmel, and Bostaph and Sanders really gel as the tightest of units with Osegueda sounding more like Tom Araya than Tom Araya (I did say the comparisons would be endless). The aggressive stomp of the aforementioned “Idle Hands” is followed by the equally insistent “Trophies of the Tyrant”, another song with a fantastic solo and a chorus riff sitting in the same skeletal chair as “Dead Skin Mask”.

With a title lifted from Beelzebub botherers Deicide, “Crucifixation” causes all types of carnage before the new but familiar kick to the gut of “Tension”, while “Everything I Hate About You” recalls the speed punk sensibilities of the much-missed Jeff Hanneman in one-an- a-half minutes of vitriolic bile.

Now, as much as the world would have loved a Kerry King Britney Spears cover, “Toxic” is absolutely not it, the vicious cut a perfect four-minute distillation of what many people expected from the project’s very inception. Another track with the ghost of Hanneman written all over it, “Two Fists” bristles with pure punk energy and sits easily as one of the album’s … undisputed (see what I did there?) highlights.

Just as its title suggests, “Rage” is a fast, ferocious assault on the senses which harks back to Divine Intervention but with better production while penultimate cut “Shrapnel” could have been included on God Hates Us All with a rhythm not to dissimilar to the heavier parts of “Bloodline”. 

Bringing the curtain down on his solo debut with lyrics like, “preaching faith, selling lies / religion’s plague just never dies”, the title track is three-and-a-half minutes of searing anti-religious venom and literally everything you signed up for in the first place. 

Taking you from a time of six-inch nail wristbands and a full head of hair through to a post-Slayer landscape (for the moment anyway…), on From Hell I Rise Kerry King has not only retained that bond with existing Slayer fans, but added a different edge, one which is open to new and different ideas. By surrounding himself with musicians with just as much to contribute as himself, King has created something that all Slayer fans can agree on. It’s time to get in the pit and start hurting each other again.


Buy the album here:


9 / 10