As one of the lead guitarists of Slayer, the outspoken, opinionated King has also bred snakes off and on since the late ’80s.

Photo by Annie Atlasman

Four and a half years after Slayer’s last performance in 2019, guitarist Kerry King returns to the throne with his first solo outing, From Hell I Rise.

When Slayer played their last show in November 2019, Kerry King already knew he had no intention of slowing down musically. What he didn’t know was that the pandemic would be the conduit to a second act. But, as German theatrical director, dramaturge, and playwright Bertolt Brecht once astutely observed, “Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.”

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Portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven by Joseph Karl Stieler

Public Domain

Sad music, ironically, seems to make us happier when we listen to it. The explanation for that could be either scientific or philosophical.

Sad songs make me happy like drinking makes me thirsty. It’s a strange paradox most of us share; nobody enjoys being sad in real life, but boy do we love to listen to a song that makes us miserable. It’s magic, or maybe a better word is “alchemy”: If you take a few inert ingredients (one C major scale, one D#, a 3/8 time signature), then arrange the ingredients in the right order, like Beethoven had in mind, and play dynamically with a flowing tempo that breathes a bit, the final product can tear your heart out.

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