Kerry King does not give a fuck. He doesn't care what bridges he burns, what people he offends, he speaks his mind. Last year, he, almost single-handedly, buried Mayhem Fest and its promoters after the promoter called metal "old, gray and fat," and today he sets his sights on burying some of his peers… namely Metallica and Iron Maiden.
In a new interview with RVA Mag, King was asked about the big problem in metal, and rock in general, today… the focus on nostalgia and history, and while King concedes that Slayer is living on their history, he makes sure to point out others are relying on their back catalogue much more…
"We're living on our history for sure," he admitted, "but so is everyone else, yet we're the ones trying to push ourselves forward. I would say [Iron] Maiden and Metallica, no offense, are living on past success. Metallica has toured forever on The Black Record which a lot of people don't like. I actually like it. It's heavy as can be. Is it Master Of Puppets? Course not, but it's a great record. Iron Maiden for me is living off their first three records. Have they made good songs since then? Yeah, but they haven't made great records. I like to think we're still making great records and as much as people come out wanting to hear 'Reign In Blood' and 'Angel Of Death', they also want to hear 'Disciple' or even 'Implode.'"
I think Kerry is giving his band a little too much credit. I can't imagine somebody going to a Slayer show and thinking "man I really hope they pull out 'Implode.'" I'm sure they are more curious about the content from Slayer's early few albums. Additionally, I'm positive there are Maiden fans out there who are hardcores, who keep up with the discography and love new material played live (as they are selling out arenas of 20,000 compared to Slayer's 5,000 seaters, meanwhile Metallica play stadiums almost exclusively now.)
Slayer's 2015 release Repentless sold 49,000 copies its first week, which was an improvement over their previous release, World Painted Blood, at 41,000 copies first week, but down for the 62,000 copies that Christ Illusion sold in its first week in 2006. King says he's not bothered by the lack of sales:
"It's true, but it's just a sign of the times because people get their music differently. It's not all about [Nielsen] SoundScan anymore. That's the last thing I remember because you remember what you had growing up. There's different technologies and different ways of doing a number of things, but when I grew up, I knew SoundScan and we are way off of SoundScan now. That's because people get music for free. One person downloads it and shares it with five people. It's not the same as it used to be. I can't be bitter about it because that's just how time has changed."
Asked what he uses as a barometer for Slayer's success, he responds:
"My barometer is the live show where people show up," King detailed. "That means people are into the music, whether the record is selling or not. They have it, they know it, and we can play it and have them sing it right back to us. That's pretty much how it shows me people are still into, regardless of sales."
Luckily, I'm sure we have a few Slayer fans here. When you go to see Slayer, what do you want to see?