By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Though many avoid the number 666 like a leaking condom full of AIDS, some heathen entertainers see June 6, 2006 (6-6-06) as a once-in-a-century marketing opportunity. The remake of The Omen will be released, and speed-metal pioneers/pentagram enthusiasts Slayer long planned to release their follow-up to God Hates Us All on that darkest of dates. Unfortunately for Slayer, front man Tom Araya's gall-bladder surgery forced the postponement of a tour and the album release. Maybe that's divine intervention, considering that the last time a new Slayer record arrived in stores was September 11, 2001.
Sonic Youth, Rather Ripped: 3/10, or "Madonna." The song "Do You Believe in Rapture?" asks a babe whether she believes in redemption. Given SY's irony penchant, it seems unlikely the narrator does. Then again, the song might just be a political statement. "...Rapture" aside, only sellout-phobic purists will find Lucifer at work in the band's poppiest songs in recent memory.
Ice Cube, Laugh Now, Cry Later: 4/10, or "Bratz Doll." Cube wore all black and said "fuck the police" as an NWA rapper. He considered it a good day when he didn't have to use his AK-47 and has never released an album that didn't earn a parental advisory sticker. But railing against "devils" and starring in the PG-rated Are We There Yet? drain him of Satanic credibility. Cry now, pagans.
the pAper chAse, Now You Are One of Us: 5/10, or "Jayne Mansfield." The Dallas band's screams, creepy synth parts and pounding drums might be a little scary to those who like their rock safe, but John Congleton and Co. don't attend Black Mass. However, their album cover features a picture of what appears to be a hanged, pantsless man, which ups the Beelzebub factor. (On the plus side, at least the naked guy is "hanged," not hung.)
Deicide, The Stink of Redemption: 9/10, or "Marquis de Sade." The death-metal band's name means "god-killing," and its lyrics and art revolve almost exclusively around anti-Christian themes. Though only junior-high kids and glue-sniffers take their Cookie Monster-singing shtick seriously, they've made Old Scratch proud.
The original motion picture soundtrack to A Prairie Home Companion: 7/10, or "L. Ron Hubbard." The sound of radio host Garrison Keillor breathing heavily through his nostrils into the microphone during his droll Lake Wobegon stories gives me intrusive, evil thoughts already. The thought of him singing--let alone vocal turns by Meryl Streep, Woody Harrelson and Lily Tomlin--makes my head spin. If the radio show's inexplicably employed "mouth sounds" guru appears on the album, its rating shoots to 10 and I stop believing in God.