Kerry King / A Metal Masterclass Of Brilliance In Camden

When we heard at the Metaltalk office that Kerry King, the genius of the much-missed Slayer, had formed a new group, recorded a new album drop and announced a tour, we were stoked. The biggest queue I’ve ever witnessed snaked from the Electric Ballroom along a sunny Camden High Road to witness this highly anticipated sold-out Metal gig from Kerry King and Ko – a testament to fans who wanted to experience this new lineup live and loud.  

Kerry King

Electric Ballroom, Camden – 18 June 2024

Words: Sara Harding

Photography: Robert Sutton

Kerry King - Electric Ballroom, Camden - 18 June 2024
Kerry King – Electric Ballroom, Camden – 18 June 2024. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk

Kerry promised the setlist for the shows would feature Slayer tracks as well as several of the 13 songs that appear on King’s debut solo album, From Hell I Rise, which dropped in May. As we all chatted excitedly in the line, we were literally buzzing about what we were about to behold. 

Kerry King - Electric Ballroom, Camden - 18 June 2024
Kerry King – Electric Ballroom, Camden – 18 June 2024. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk

Still very much in their early incarnation of this band of brothers, and just a few gigs in, Kerry is still very much feeling his way around this new project. ‘We’re still feeling it out,” Kerry said. “I mean, I was in the same band (Slayer) for 40 years of my life, roughly, so other than Paul Bostaph being there, it’s new being around the other guys.”

Kerry King - Electric Ballroom, Camden - 18 June 2024
Kerry King – Electric Ballroom, Camden – 18 June 2024. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk

King has recruited a tour de force of Metal personnel, including one of my best friends, the awesome Phil Demmel, former Machine Head shredder, Vio-Lence axeman and now guitarist of the mighty Category 7 (who are being hailed by Metallica frontman James Hetfield as his favourite Metal band’). 

Kerry King - Electric Ballroom, Camden - 18 June 2024
Kerry King – Electric Ballroom, Camden – 18 June 2024. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk

Asked if the lineup for his solo band is made up of “friends”, Kerry said, “Absolutely. The thing that meant the most to me about moving forward in this project was getting my friends. I could get anybody in the biz — I can get people I don’t know, people I’ve never met, but I have enough friends in this business to know that I could put a band together of outstanding musicians that are friends that, after the show, we can get on the bus and have a drink and just have fun.”

Join Hillbilly Vegas on Tour This July

Kerry King - Electric Ballroom, Camden - 18 June 2024
Kerry King – Electric Ballroom, Camden – 18 June 2024. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk

I’ve had the honour of listening and loving the Kerry King debut album drop with all material for From Hell I Rise was written by the 60-year-old Slayer guitarist, who was accompanied during the recording sessions by the rest of his band, consisting of Bostaph, bassist Kyle Sanders (HELLYEAH), Phil Demmel and vocalist Mark Osegueda (Death Angel).

Kerry King - Electric Ballroom, Camden - 18 June 2024
Kerry King – Electric Ballroom, Camden – 18 June 2024. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk

So as the lights dim, a lager beer has been consumed and we’ve bought the T-shirt. We are all chanting and the atmosphere is just like this venue – Electric!!!!

Just like the best 39p energy drinks, the band steams on at 200 MPH and blasts us with brilliant, brutal and badass anthems. No nonsense, so I’m not going to write flowery words or pack this review with cliches. This is a full-on Thrashathon.  

Kerry King - Electric Ballroom, Camden - 18 June 2024
Kerry King – Electric Ballroom, Camden – 18 June 2024. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk

As the lights glare off King’s tattooed barnet, it’s a full onslaught of Metal at its best. Fans old and new, Slayer and non-Slayer, circle pits, crowd surfing, and pulsing, the audience are in full mosh mode to Where I Reign and straight onto Trophies Of The Tyrant.  

King remains stage right allowing Osegueda to deliver his vocals, Sanders to churn out his bass and Demmel to shine on some serious solos with Bostaph delivering double drum beats like no other.

Kerry King - Electric Ballroom, Camden - 18 June 2024
Kerry King – Electric Ballroom, Camden – 18 June 2024. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk

No microphones or BVs for King and his bandmates, Osegueda takes to the microphone to introduce song three, Toxic. “This is about fucked up politics.”  Demmel is at the front gesturing and interacting with fans, and they can’t get enough. He glances up to the balcony and spots me moshing and salutes – my night is made!

Kerry King - Electric Ballroom, Camden - 18 June 2024
Kerry King – Electric Ballroom, Camden – 18 June 2024. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk

The lighting was stark and brutal, but King’s light-up guitar stands out, and he is shredding. God, it’s good to see him playing live once again and so into a Slayer song, Repentless.  This fierce five-piece tear through the now anthemic Two Fists, packed with punk undertones, duel guitars, rumbling backline and no-nonsense raging lyrics.  

Kerry King - Electric Ballroom, Camden - 18 June 2024
Kerry King – Electric Ballroom, Camden – 18 June 2024. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk

Frontman Mark looks at us all and takes it all in, “Fucking London, England, this is what we’ve been waiting for.” It’s then time for more new tracks from the new album drop with Tension, Everything I Hate About You and Idle Hands.

Kerry King - Electric Ballroom, Camden - 18 June 2024
Kerry King – Electric Ballroom, Camden – 18 June 2024. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk

Time for for some Slayer with Chemical Warfare from the Haunting The Chapel EP. This is total speed death and takes the gig up another notch.  As this power piece comes to an end, Osegueda shouts, “You guys are fucking amazing. We’ve been waiting to play a real show for real fucking people,” and intros Rage.

Kerry King - Electric Ballroom, Camden - 18 June 2024
Kerry King – Electric Ballroom, Camden – 18 June 2024. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk

Kerry King is very clearly wanting the rest of the band shine.  During Disciple is the only time he moves to centre stage and into the spotlight to showcase his solo. 

“You want it dark? You like it evil?” They tear into Crucifixiation. By now me and my bestie, Kerrang legend Xavier Russell have lost our shit. The whole Ballroom is swathed in Thrash at its very best with the Slayer classic Raining Blood, which was one of the first videos we’re proud to have blasted out on MTV’s Headbangers Ball back in the day.  

Kerry King - Electric Ballroom, Camden - 18 June 2024
Kerry King – Electric Ballroom, Camden – 18 June 2024. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk

Osegueda continues, “London thank you for unleashing and for understanding what we’re at. This is the last headliner for the UK. What a colossal scene thank you all. Have you got one last song in you? We’ll be fucking back. Until then, here’s From Hell I Rise.”

Kerry King - Electric Ballroom, Camden - 18 June 2024
Kerry King – Electric Ballroom, Camden – 18 June 2024. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk

With promises of another tour, you should do yourself a favour, buy the album, watch the videos and get a ticket to the next show.

Camden, England, tonight we rained in Metal while the sun shone.

Kerry King - Electric Ballroom, Camden - 18 June 2024
Kerry King – Electric Ballroom, Camden – 18 June 2024. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk

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