What did guitarist Kerry King feel when Slayer made the decision to retire? "Anger... What else?," he tells Metal Hammer in a new interview.

In late January of 2018, the thrash legends stunned the world, announcing they'd embark on their farewell tour later that year. They closed it out in late 2019 and "it was premature," per King. "The reason I say ‘premature’ is because my heroes from my childhood are still playing! I can still play, I still want to play," he adds, "but that livelihood got taken away from me."

“But, anyway, on to the next chapter, I guess. We were on top of the world, and there’s nothing wrong with going out on top of the world, it’s a good way to go out. So, bravo for that," King reasons, "But do I miss playing? Yeah, absolutely.”

The band's retirement is not something King has taken lightly and guitarist Gary Holt (Exodus, Slayer) told Metal Hammer in 2021 he agrees that Slayer hang it up too early.

"We were still playing at the top of our game, we were totally killing it," Holt enthused, "The band had a lot of years left in it, but I guess when it's time, it's time. When you decide to walk away from something, walk away. I can't tell anybody they made the wrong decision. Better to go out on top than go out unable to play your own songs and this shit isn't easy. Playing 'Angel of Death' at 70 years old would be fucking hard."

King is intent on returning to metal though and has been working on something new for a couple of years.

In the summer of 2020, King acknowledged that he had "more than two records worth of music" written and that he was "very, very lucky with riffs in 2020," pondering if being cooped up at home amid the pandemic had anything to do with that.

Not a whole lot has been said about King's new material, but in June of 2022 he did confirm that Slayer drummer Paul Bostaph is one of the members of his new band.

And as for what that new material will sound like, the guitarist said at the time, "You know me, so you know what it’s going to sound like. I played this new song for a buddy, and I said to him, ‘If there’s anything I’ve written in the last few years that sounds like Slayer, it’s this.’ And he said, ‘That sounds like you could have pulled it off of any Slayer record.' I actually made that riff up backstage at a Slayer show. We were walking to the stage and I got my phone out and recorded it so I wouldn’t forget it."

Slayer Songs Ranked

More From K2 Radio