** Slayer, "Diabolus in Musica," American Recordings/Columbia. Given the flak these dudes attract from intellectual types, they might have rethought the title acronym, but plainly they're beyond such concerns. Rick Rubin's in the control booth and the bile is pumping, so you're gonna get all the Slayer you need and then some.
Especially delightful are the guitar solos, two paradigms by Jeff Hanneman (articulate) and Kerry King (noisacious) arriving back to back behind the classic doom riffing of the album's best cut, the necrophiliac "Desire."
The sludge/rave of "Bitter Peace," the thrubba-dubba drums and vocal FX of "Perversions of Pain" and the wall-of-something on "Death's Head" further tickle your hostility bone, while "Stain of Mind" offers boulder massage. Tom Araya yells convincingly. "Shooting up hate/nothing beats the rush"--nice! "I hate your church/I'll burn your state"--well, sure!
Alienation is hard work, but a decade and a half of single-minded shoveling attests that these gravediggers can stand a little dirt under their fingernails.
Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).