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Kerry King: Alexi Laiho was a “guitar god”

[L-R] Kerry King and Alexi Laiho
(Image credit: Photo cred: Scott Dudelson/Miikka Skaffari/Getty Images)

Children of Bodom electric guitar player and singer Alexi Laiho passed away unexpectedly at the age of 41 in December, 2020, and since then we’ve seen tributes roll in from around the rock and metal worlds, including from guitarists like Steve Vai and Nita Strauss.

Now Slayer axman Kerry King has offered his thoughts on Laiho, telling Metal Hammer, “Are You Dead Yet? was probably my favorite album by them. 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?’ ”

King also recalled touring with Children of Bodom, and how the band was able to handle Slayer’s notoriously devoted fanbase.

“They went down okay; I’ve seen people go out there and just fail miserably,” he said. 

“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.”

The new issue of Metal Hammer, which serves as a tribute to Laiho, is available for purchase from Magazines Direct.

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Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.