Slayer, 'World Painted Blood' (American/Columbia)

Critical Mass
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by Chuck Eddy

Their horrific onslaught has been passed on the extreme left by myriad black-death grind upstarts, and these thrash originators mostly spin their mosh-pitstuck wheels on this tenth studio album -- anticipating Armageddon, reveling in torture, protesting oil war. Tom Araya's shriek has grown ponderous, and not until rosary-ripping closer "Not of This God" do the four mid-fortysomethings bypass their rigid polkacore hopscotch for a devastating groove. Still, Kerry King's riffs dive-bomb true throughout. And an inadvertent nod to the Anarchist Cheerleaders on "Public Display of Dismemberment" is a hoot.

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