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5:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 21. Pop's (1403 Mississippi Avenue, Sauget, Illinois)

Civilization remains largely intact in the aftermath of the National Day of Slayer (6/6/06), proving that devotees refrained from chemical warfare, mandatory suicides and any activities that might cause blood to rain from lacerated skies. Instead, most observers of this overdue occasion followed the instructions of the mysterious single-page Web site that instituted it, opting merely to blast Slayer records at brain-boiling volume in their homes and cars. However, now that Slayer has arrived in town to witness any pentagram-painted pets, wanton destruction or altar sacrifices, celebrants must resume their tributes with added vigor. To use Slayer's Bizarro-world equivalent, it's as if Jesus appeared in concert a week after Christmas; even believers who installed pyrotechnic manger displays in their yards would attempt to surpass their earlier worshipping efforts to win favor in His eyes. With a sinister singer who considerately enunciates his torture threats, dual guitarists whose riffs swallow minds like possessive demons and backbeats that make table-drummers' fingers resemble the reaper's, Slayer — the purest manifestation of musical malevolence ever created — deserves more than a once-every-millennium holiday.

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