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Slayer’s Kerry King shares the story behind “Disciple”

Posted by on October 18, 2017

We will never forget the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and always remember where we were when we heard the terrifying news. It was a horrific day and ironically, it was the same day Slayer’s merciless ninth studio album God Hates Us All was released. The song “Disciple” has become a fan-favorite, which is arguably up there with “Raining Blood,” “Angel of Death,” and “Dead Skin Mask.” Metal Hammer recently spoke to Kerry King about how this classic track was made. At first, the guitarist revealed how he wasn’t really into their previous album 1998’s Diabolus In Musica, which fueled him to rediscover Slayer.

He stated:

“I’ve said it a whole bunch of times before, but I just wasn’t really present on the previous record because of how I felt about what was going on in heavy music at the time. That whole Limp Bizkit and… I can’t even think of the other ones anymore… but all of that had just got me really bored and uninspired. So I felt like I had to be me again or just stop, and I think Disciple was a big step to rediscovering that, you know? We’re doing it our way or no way at all!”

He continued:

“Obviously the line ‘God hates us all’ was a big thing for the song. It’s such a brutal sentiment and fit perfectly for us. But it’s a pretty unique song for Slayer, in that we don’t really usually have these big chant-along moments. That’s not really the type of thing that we trade on. But I know people like to be stood in a festival environment and have that hook, and that groove, and Disciple has both of those things. That, along with this really grinding outro, set it apart from the rest of our back catalogue.”

Later, he shared how the inspiration for the song hit him while being stuck in a traffic jam:

“I remember being gridlocked in LA, where the traffic is terrible, getting angrier and more frustrated and looking up at this big billboard that said, ‘God loves you all.’ and I remember thinking, ‘What? he sure as hell doesn’t love me right now!’ and it stuck with me. I already had the ‘I never said I wanted to be God’s disciple’ line, but I didn’t know it was going to link up with the ‘God hates us all’ lyric initially. They just fit together so well, though, that I knew I had to.”

King recalled that “Disciple” was the last great collaboration he had with the late Jeff Hanneman where King wrote the lyrics and Hanneman wrote the music. Later he admitted that the song has become more like “South of Heaven,” “Dead Skin Mask,” or “Angel of Death” and decided to keep it in the setlist.

You can read his full story here.

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