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Saturday, December 4, at Java Jazz Coffeehouse, 419 Gentry in Old Town Spring, 281-528-8129. All ages.Jägermeister Music Tour, with Slayer, Mastodon, Killswitch Engage and Faceplant

Slayer has played "Raining Blood" during unplanned virtual monsoons at outdoor shows, provoking massive mudfights, but not quite achieving lyrical symmetry. The song's words clearly call for lacerated skies to leak red gore, not the crystalline precipitation that makes the heavens seem sorrowful rather than mortally wounded. Slayer tried to set up a splatter storm when touring in support of 1986's seminal speed-metal statement Reign in Blood, but the group lacked the funding needed to simulate this unnatural disaster. Being music's most relentlessly brutal band for 18 years has proved lucrative, however, so for a few select tour dates, including Thursday's gig here, Slayer will unveil its unprecedented "Wall of Blood."

Slayer has summoned some spectacular stage shows in the past, from ghastly surgery-footage videos to gaudy fire displays that singed upper-deck eyebrows. But the band has never tapped this type of special-effects sorcery. Using a complex sprinkler-and-pump system, the "Wall of Blood" will spew a scarlet stream that measures 25 feet wide and at least 32 feet high. The DVD Still Reigning, released in early November, gives viewers a sneak preview of the liquid carnage, which soaks the group in a 45-second flash flood.

Given that the demonic drenching lasts less than a minute, the real draw is that the group plays Reign in Blood in its entirety. The most efficiently compacted disc in thrash history, this 28-minute masterpiece packs its straight-razor riffs and treadmill-set-to-death drumbeats so tightly that its parental-warning sticker should read "contents under pressure." Reign in Bloodends with "Raining Blood," which Slayer butchered live during the past decade by chopping off its chaotic conclusion. By the end of the evening, longtime fans who have ached for those final apocalyptic notes will have their climactic release, aptly marked by a frothy fountain. -- Andrew Miller

Thursday, December 2, at the Verizon Wireless Theater, 520 Texas, 713-230-1600.Metal Church, with Azrael's Bane and WolfeBlitzer

In its day, Metal Church was overshadowed by heavyweights Metallica and Megadeth and the litany of hairspray rockers like Warrant and Poison, but Metal Church's early albums are classic metal masterpieces. Now that Metallica's gone soft and the glam-metal bands are firmly fixed on the nostalgia circuit, could the time be right for Metal Church to make a play for the throne? After all, some bands improve with age, and Metal Church's current roster is strong, as is the band's latest album, The Weight of the World. Original guitarist-songwriter Kurdt Vanderhoof and drummer Kirk Arrington are still calling the shots and have recruited metal vets vocalist Ronny Munroe, guitarist Jay Reynolds (formerly of Malice) and bassist Steve Unger. With bands like Incubus, Korn and Linkin Park the new millennium's hair-band equivalents, maybe Metal Church can truly be a contender this time around. -- David A. Cobb

Friday, December 3, at Forgetta 'bout It, 13245 Jones Road, 281-807-4166.Riddlin' Kids, with Lit

They used to earn tips delivering pizzas in Austin, but now the four members of Riddlin' Kids are knocking on the front door of the music industry. The Texas punks' 2002 major-label debut, Hurry Up and Wait, featured a peppy mall-core mini-hit about heartache ("I Feel Fine") and a light-speed cover (R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World as We Know It"). The album hadn't even hit the shelves when the lucky Kids landed a spot on the Warped Tour. In the wake of Wait's release, the group has been road-dogging it continuously, proving that an energetic live show might indeed be the cure for attention-deficit disorder. At least the musical kind. -- Geoff Harkness

Wednesday, December 8, at the Meridian, 1503 Chartres, 713-225-1717.

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