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CD Review: Slayer 

World Painted Blood (American)

Now 28 years strong, Slayer haven't sounded this good for more than a decade — since 1998's underrated Diabolus in Musica. And if you're among the considerable constituency that doesn't dig Diabolus, you'll likely find World Painted Blood their strongest set since 1990's Seasons in the Abyss. The thrash gods' 10th album is pure Slayer, still without a ballad or a single acoustic moment. After two albums in a supporting role, guitarist Jeff Hanneman dominates a track list that plays like a horror-movie marathon about flaming corpses, children's blood and overachieving serial killers.

The six-minute title track opens the disc with a violent soundtrack for a mob-sized scrum. Guitarist Kerry King's "Hate Worldwide" is a manifesto that's unnecessary for anyone who's been paying attention, with lines like "I'm a godless heretic/Not a God-fearing lunatic." Frontman Tom Araya has long since traded high notes for a military cadence and slower, lower, throat-shredding vocals. "It's all about the motherfuckin' oil," he barks on King's "Americon," the band's most political statement yet. Drummer Dave Lombardo is all over the kit, playing like a hyperactive octopus. Greg Fidelman, who worked on Metallica's Death Magnetic, produced World Painted Blood, and no doubt could have given the new album by fellow thrashers Megadeth some much-needed sonic grit. The thrash revival is now officially a thrash renaissance. — D.X. Ferris

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