Gary Holt agrees with former Slayer bandmate Kerry King — the band retired too early. In a new interview, Holt says Slayer were still at the top of their game, though it’s better to go out on top than a shadow of your former self.

Kerry King addressed the end of Slayer, which took place right before the pandemic began, while congratulating Machine Head on their 30th anniversary as a band. "So, I hear congratulations are in order for my friends in Machine Head. Apparently, it's 30 years, which is quite an achievement. Not a lot of bands get there," said King before lamenting Slayer's decision to retire. "We did and then we quit too early. Fuck us — I know. Fuck me. I hate fucking not playing."

In a new interview with Metal Hammer, Holt reacted to King’s lamenting. "I'd have to agree. We were still playing at the top of our game, we were totally killing it. The band had a lot of years left in it, but I guess when it's time, it's time. When you decide to walk away from something, walk away. I can't tell anybody they made the wrong decision. Better to go out on top than go out unable to play your own songs, and this shit isn't easy. Playing 'Angel of Death' at 70 years old would be fucking hard. But it was time for me to come back, let's put it that way. I was really missing my first family [Exodus].” [via Blabbermouth]

King and Holt’s statements give fans further hints that Slayer’s retirement was largely Tom Araya’s idea. Araya spoke openly about his frustration with Slayer’s hectic touring schedule for many years, eventually revealing to Loudwire that he struggled with sleep apnea and got very little sleep on the road.

Araya also suffered from serious neck issues, which forced the Slayer frontman to stop headbanging onstage. As Araya told Loudwire in a 2016 interview, that intense physical connection to Slayer’s music was immeasurably important and the absence of it made performing slightly less enjoyable. “After 35 years, it’s time to like, collect my pension.”

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