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Cryptic Slaughter was an influential Santa Monica, California-based hardcore punk band. They are cited as being one of the prime influences in the "crossover thrash" sound, a blending of hardcore with fast-core and political / social lyrics. Along with Dropdead, Intense Degree, Ripcord or Siege, they were instrumental in cementing the early fast-core sound which first emerged in the late '80s, and are cited by grindcore innovators Napalm Death as a major influence.

Their first demo tape, Life in a Grave, was produced in 1985. They toured extensively in support of the albums Convicted (1986) and Money Talks (1987) which demonstrated their political element in the band. They are often credited as one of the progenitors of "metal-crossover", the and genre, along with such seminal acts as D.R.I. and Corrosion of Conformity. Shortly after the recording of their next album, Stream of Consciousness, the band broke up in 1989 as a result of Crooks and Peterson leaving the band, as well as financial and managerial problems. Shortly after this, however, guitarist Les Evans and bassist Rob Nicholson recruited new members and continued the band.

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