In the mid-’90s, punk crossed over into the mainstream as acts like Green Day and the Offspring skyrocketed in popularity, inking deals with major labels which ultimately returned Diamond and multi-Platinum albums for each band respectively. For the underground, many saw this as a departure from the true punk aesthetic, even thrash legends Slayer.
“In particular I didn’t like where music was going,” guitarist Kerry King said in Metal Hammer‘s Spotify series, Metal Hammer: In Residence. “And I let it get to me for the only time in my career – and that was basically the ’90s,” he continued, adding, “I couldn’t understand why things were popular and it just bummed me out completely and I had to forget about it and refocus because it was just bringing me down. I’m not talking about pop and stuff like that. Heavy music – I didn’t like where heavy music was going.”
King then turned his attention toward Slayer’s album, Undisputed Attitude, which features covers of punk songs from bands like Verbal Abuse, Minor Threat, D.R.I., Dr. Know and more. He commented, “I remember in particular when we did Undisputed Attitude in 1996, we did that in rebellion to Green Day and the Offspring. It’s not their fault but everyone called them punk bands and me and Jeff [Hanneman, guitar] were, ‘This isn’t punk, guys.’ We just took offense to it and Undisputed Attitude was that coming out.”
As for Slayer’s follow-up, the largely maligned Diabolus in Musica, King touched on the rise of nu-metal and how it crept into the band’s sound. “For me especially, it took 1998’s Diabolus In Musica to come out and get past that and then say, ‘This ain’t what Slayer’s about, we gotta redefine and show everybody that Slayer’s still here and not trying to be somebody we’re not.’ I think that’s what God Hates Us All was,” he said.
Since God Hates Us All, Slayer have recorded three more studio albums, the latest being Repentless. The band released a video trilogy for three tracks off the newest album, which inspired the forthcoming Slayer three-issue comic series, Slayer: Repentless. The first issue will be released on Jan. 25 and can be pre-ordered online