Kerry King- From Hell I Rise (Album Review)

May 20, 2024


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Kerry King indicated he was putting together a new band of some type not long after Slayer officially disbanded in 2019, but between the pandemic and other factors it has taken nearly five years for the first release bearing his name to see the light of day.  It comes at a bit of an odd time considering a Slayer live reunion got announced recently, but From Hell I Rise showcases that no matter the name Kerry King continues to deliver the type of thrash he helped to create.  It may be light on surprises and have a few lulls, but if thrash is the type of metal you gravitate towards there’s plenty here to keep you satisfied.

There’s no denying that King has assembled a very capable roster for his solo work, as he has brought Phil Demmel (Vio-lence, Machine Head), Kyle Sanders (Hellyeah), and Slayer bandmate Paul Bostaph along for the ride.  The performances on From Hell I Rise are strong throughout and you can tell that the lineup has some good chemistry that results in a bit more intensity than you might initially be expecting.  Stylistically the material is unsurprisingly a bit closer to Slayer’s last few albums, alternating between faster thrash riffs and mid-tempo thrash/groove metal with a few dips into punk on specific songs.  It does feel like this album carries on naturally from what King was doing on Repentless, though it hardly comes off like a mere retread either.  Instead, it’s Kerry King writing exactly the type of thrash he’s explored for decades now, for better or worse.  This does yield some strong moments early on, as “Where I Reign” comes exploding out of the gate with scorching tonality and heavy hitting riffs while “Residue” finds the right balance of mid-tempo grooves and faster moments.  The short and punchier “Everything I Hate About You”, the punk leaning “Two Fists”, and the much denser tone on the title track also stood out on repeat listens.  But in between the highlights there are plenty of songs that are decent but not truly memorable, and I found myself starting to zone out a bit during some of the slower moments around the middle of the album.  A few more instances like “Two Fists” to shake up the formula would’ve helped, and it’s an area King can build on as he continues with this lineup.

Prior to the release of the first few singles there were numerous rumors about who would be behind the mic for Kerry King’s album.  The final choice of Mark Osegueda from Death Angel is one that makes perfect sense, as not only does he have some of those higher Tom Araya type screams that suits the Slayer sound but the performance also hits with the maximum amount of intensity.  One could argue that sometimes Osegueda plays it a little too close to Araya compared to some of the other stuff he’s done with Death Angel, but when each and every word hits this hard I can’t complain.  From the first verse of “Where I Reign” until the closing of the title track, the screaming/yelling rarely lets up and things skew towards extremity.  Under these circumstances the vocals could’ve easily overwhelmed the rest of the band in the mix, but this is another area where the production really bolsters the final product as there’s just the right balance between the two.

Reviews for From Hell I Rise seem to be all over the spectrum, which isn’t surprising considering how people feel about later period Slayer.  Personally, I was hoping Kerry King would shake things up just a bit more and give me a few more punk leaning moments or other elements that changed the familiar formula, but this is still a solid effort that lays the foundation for even better things on the horizon.  If you weren’t a fan of Slayer in the past decade and a half don’t expect this to change your mind, and if you’re a diehard fan of the band add an extra point to this score.  Wherever you fall, this is definitely not a bad album by any means and I’ll be interested to see how King and company continue to work together.  From Hell I Rise is available from Reigning Phoenix Music.

-Review by Chris Dahlberg