As a metal guitarist, getting the approval and praise of those that came before you is a big deal. Given how competitive guitarists can be, and how much swagger and attitude factors into the role, impressing one’s idols means you’ve hit an upper echelon. So while Slayer guitarist Kerry King was always vocal about the technical ability of the late Alexi Laiho, having him call the Children of Bodom frontman a “guitar god” is no meager praise.
In a new interview with Metal Hammer, the man who founded thrash’s scariest band pays tribute to the guy who brought fun back to metal during the humorless days of the early 2000s. And man, he does not pull any punches, claiming that from the very beginning he could see Alexi’s bright future ahead of him.
“Are You Dead Yet? was probably my favorite album by them,” says King of Children of Bodom. “Even back then I was like, ‘This is the next dude, this is the next guitar hero.’ He’s one of those effortless guys that you watch and you’re like, ‘Fuck! I’ve been working all day and I can’t do that shit?’”
Kerry was then asked about Bodom’s ability to open up for Slayer, a famously difficult feat given that every single person in a Slayer audience is there to see Slayer, and will scream, “SLAYER!” at openers until they stop playing. But King makes it clear that Laiho and Co. actually held their own.
“They went down okay; I’ve seen people go out there and just fail miserably,” says Kerry. “Their setlist was on the heavier side, which is a smart thing to do when you’re opening for us. I was up there almost every night watching them. They’re fun to watch play and Alexi was a guitar god.”
Everyone at The Pit wishes Alexi’s friends, family, fans and collaborators the very best during what’s surely a difficult time. Here’s Children of Bodom covering Slayer’s immortal “Silent Scream.”
Words by Chris Krovatin