Kerry King (born June 3, 1964 in Los Angeles, California) is best known for his work as a guitarist in the band Slayer.
Over the years, Kerry King's guitar style has remained the same, giving him a very distinctive sound. On earlier Slayer albums up to and including South of Heaven his playing focused more on speed and chaos than melody. However, in his post-Seasons In The Abyss work, Kerry has managed to capture more feel to his guitar work, showcasing more diverse and melodic styles. Aside from his strong rhythm work, he is also recognised for his distinctive and unique lead guitar work which critics disparage with definitions such as: 'grab the guitar neck and hang from the whammy bar as if your life depends on it'. However, despite such criticisms, it must be noted that King almost singlehandedly created an entirely new style of guitar soloing, and his influence is prevalent in countless metal bands, particularly thrash and death metal bands, where diatonicism is less important than in traditional rock and metal.
His lyrics are mostly based on Satanic subjects, which he attributes to his love of horror movies. Though many fans regard him as being a Satanist, he regards these people as "dumb". He has stated he does not believe in God, so he does not believe in Satan, but he writes about Satanic subjects because he says it is more fun to sing about Satan than God.
King uses Marshall JCM800s, along with his own B.C. Rich signature guitar, the KKV. In addition to appearing on Slayer's albums, he has also made guest appearances as lead guitarist, including:
* "No Sleep Till Brooklyn", from the Beastie Boys album Licensed to Ill He also had a guest appearance in the video for the song "Fight For Your Right To Party"
* "Final Prayer", from the Hatebreed album Perseverance
* "Dead Girl Superstar", from the Rob Zombie album The Sinister Urge
* "Goddamn Electric", from the Pantera album Reinventing The Steel
* "What We're All About (The Original Version)", by Sum 41 from the Spider-Man movie soundtrack
* "Disorder", with rapper Ice-T from the 1992 album "Judgment Night"
He also spent a short while as a guitarist in Megadeth, although this was only a temporary arrangement. There is a long-standing, mutual animosity toward Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine. His friendship with Machine Head frontman Robb Flynn also deteriorated after Kerry labeled Machine Head a "sellout" band with "no integrity, no credibility". Robb claims that he has since approached Kerry to reconcile their friendship, but Kerry was oblivious.
Like most heavy metal musicians, King had long hair, but then shaved his head when he started balding. His bald head, spiked wristband, and extensive tattoo work (which covers his hands, arms and head) are his trademarks.
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