But to judge the band's aesthetic based on their exploitation of the world's misery is to miss the point of their triumph, which is of an outsider art form becoming mainstream while refusing to use music's power of persuasion to gloss over the unsettling facets of life. Countless musical acts use the forum of a packed live show to celebrate the wonder of existence, but few do as Slayer does, wrapping that celebration in towering gloom and gasp-for-air power while surrounded by Marshall stacks in the shape of upside-down crosses.

"Nowadays," Araya says, "people who would never have been into metal can 'get' Slayer, and honestly it's because of the wow factor. I think people have adapted to that, they've realized it's cool. People don't have to buy into any kind of message; someone can just go 'Wow, this is really cool,' and no one's gonna think 'Oh, you're a devil worshipper' or 'Oh, you're a Nazi.' Now, they'll just think, 'Okay, he thinks that this is cool,' and that's about it. Music has gone through an evolution; metal has evolved and become part of the scene, and it's accepted. We've become part of the fabric of America."

SLAYER + ANTHRAX + MOTÖRHEAD + MORE | Comcast Center, 885 South Main St, Mansfield | August 3 @ 1:30 pm | All Ages | $33-$77 | 508.339.2331 or livenation.com

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