Though the pair have had a contentious relationship since the dawn of the thrash era, guitarists Kerry King and Dave Mustaine both stand out across the entire metal scene as some of the finest guitarists there have ever been. In a new interview with Metal Hammer, King heaped praise on his oft-rival Mustaine, with King saying of Mustaine, "Still to this day, he’s a fucking great guitar player."
King told Metal Hammer in their latest edition that, “[Metallica] were great at that point. They were ahead of [Slayer] by at least 16 months to a year. They were doing originals and we were still doing covers. I think we opened for Metallica with Mustaine, I can’t recall, but I know me and Dave [Lombardo, Slayer drummer] definitely saw them in a club and we were blown away by Mustaine.
“Still to this day, he’s a fucking great guitar player. It was very awesome, it wasn’t big clubs, you could see from anywhere, and I was very enamoured with seeing Mustaine play these insane leads and James [Hetfield] playing these insane rhythms and barking out these lyrics."
Reflecting on the experience, King says in the interview “It was way more extreme than what I thought metal was or could be, it was like another arm of it, so to speak.” King will soon be adding to the metal mix for the first time on his own, away from the sun that set long ago on Slayer. Recently, King said he felt "angry" about how how time as a performer was cut short by the break up of Slayer, lamenting somewhat understandably "my heroes from my childhood are still playing" while he sat on the sidelines.
King won't be on the sidelines much longer though, as his highly-anticipated new project, of which little is known, other than it includes former Slayer drummer Paul Bostaph, may see release in 2023.
About the new music, King has said, "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."