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Somewhere in the pitch black plains of the netherworld there was a chance rendezvous between Sepultura and Slayer that resulted in a wicked consummation of sorts. This metaphorical appeal to a truly nasty and beastly musical endeavor circa 1987 had a proper name of Mutilator, and the term proper should serve to thus properly illustrate what was likely happening to the ears of those that first heard its pummeling blows. Indeed, there are points where the unrestrained sonic fury that is "Immortal Force" hits with a ferocity that rivals "Pleasure To Kill", though with more of a distant sounding production quality in line with the blackened landscapes of the Sarcofago debut, which went into circulation just a couple months after this did.
In the overall evolution of death metal, this gets to be a bit forward looking in certain respects, though it is largely time appropriate given what was already making waves both in this band's native Brazil and up north in the United States. It has a similarly tinny quality with a strong helping of crunch that was fairly common before the Scott Burns sound fully took, but is a bit less muddled than what Slayer sounded like at the time. Indeed, an interesting thing about this album from a production standpoint is that it sounds more like a thrash album than the slightly muddier character of "Reign In Blood" that would be further exaggerated by Schuldiner on "Scream Bloody Gore", but in terms of stylistic devices in the riff and drum work, it's closer to a death metal character than anything Slayer had put out in the 80s.
The Slayer comparisons, while perhaps a bit redundant given all the bands with similarities to them at this point in the game, do merit further consideration given that they are far more obvious than otherwise. Taking the epic opener "Memorial Stone Without A Name", for example, is slightly punchier and less dissonant yet very faithful homage to "Hell Awaits". Perhaps even more interesting is the frequency of blast beats that occur not only on this song, but throughout the listen, clocking just a bit faster than the frenzied thrash beats heard out of Slayer's mid 80s repertoire, but not quite reaching that height of sheer chaos accomplished by Repulsion and Morbid Angel. Likewise, the whammy bar happy shred fests that guise as guitar solos are about as cut from the textbook Kerry King mold as can be.
It obviously goes without saying that this isn't quite to the level of what was coming in out of Florida as the 80s roared on, as much of these songs definitely have a healthy remnant of an early thrash character to them. Even when things almost seem to venture into early Death territory as on the verses of "Blood Storm", "War Dogs", "Mutilator" and damn near every other song rolled out, the vocal work remains highly reminiscent of a Tom Araya shout with maybe a hint of Chuck Billy. Likewise, when slower, groovier sections emerge it definitely has more of a fist-pounding Bay Area feel than an outright gore fest. But it definitely carries enough elements of that developing death metal character to creep ever so slightly closer to the tipping point than, say, the Infernal Majesty debut, which was chock full of death metal leanings at times.
While not quite the ideal meld of thrash and death metal that "Schizophrenia" was, nor a colossal cacophony of extreme metal elements like "I.N.R.I.", this is definitely something that stands as a solid example of what the Brazilian scene at the time was capable of. It's Persian flaw manifests in a production job that leans a little too heavy on the drums and sees the guitars pushed back in prominence further still when the vocals come in, and this even holds true on the 2003 remaster. But anyone approaching an album like this should expect a healthy dose of rawness. Some might say thrash till death, but Mutilator was one of those bands that was definitely taking the concept a bit more literally than most.
By '87 in Brazil, extreme metal and straightforward thrash groups—whether they be demo oriented or chance enough to be signed on to Cogumelo, aka "mushroom," Records—took over more terrain with releases from the brief holdover of heavy and speed metal bands having their fun. Groups that would become infamous in this country turned out, let's say for now, differently in retrospect, such as Vulcano, Sepultura, Dorsal Atlantica, Holocausto, Sarcofago, Chakal and, here, Mutilator who were ready to sabotage that smile, pillage that picnic and drain their system from a deluge of pent-up, most likely environmental emotions that will instead come to flood a town nearest you.
You got to imagine the production was cheap and the equipment was even cheaper. The actual recording session was most likely brief, a learning experience and a chore to explain the unconforming fundamentals of this fresh type of extreme music—where, as far as releases go, the metal genre itself is about as old as '82 in the country—to a sound engineer who probably had more racked on years with samba music passing by his ears than the former. Mutilator essentially took what they have, used it while they had it and gave it all they got in a held-back, hung-out-to-dry kind of way with their full length "Immortal Force." It's an animal that manages to keep the listener guessing as to whether it's purely wild or might've had some slight taming.
The music is savage and primitive, and, of course, lets that be known whenever they can. The pacing is demanding of your attention, such as jumping from one bombardment, er, section to the next. Though the band has a few areas where they might let up, such as the guitar just warming up for the rest of the group to join in—their way of generosity—though they will only occasionally give the listener a break. They hand out a few mid-paced moments where the guitars pump thicker, weighted strings as the drummer might keep your attention locked with pummeling double bass, yet you know he can't wait to return to the finger-thrustin', head-poppin' momentum. Even the solos can be intrusive. "War Dogs" literally opens up with this hectic jumble of notes, as if providing you with a breather for a new song wasn't in their agenda. Though they do dish out some forethought with finger tapped leads, and also this occasional characteristic technique of holding a note, manipulating the whammy bar and giving the moment a certain eerie effect overtop.
The vocals on the demo and split shifted between growled to raspy. The delivery here is projected through different means but isn't without charm as Kleber uses this particular yell and shout—as if he's heatedly protesting, except with instrument in hand—coupled with a heavy Brazilian-Portuguese accent. The vocals are terrible by any professed technical standpoint, but I think their hateful, third-world rage is what propels them forward. His English is off, his timing is misplaced, his lines are jumbled—yet their ferocity is what gives them charge. I think if he took a lesson or two in music or English from, say, General Mines University, or whatever the local equivalent, it wouldn't have given off the same impact. It's almost as if he went in with more chip on his shoulder and attitude than honed practice. Most importantly he's able to pull off that certain type of resonation and almost become a character, where if not, the performance could have easily sent him on a one way trip to the floor with a face-plant.
"Immortal Force" is the second word in abundance, and the first if Ponce de Leon was right and I'd get to listen to this eternally. Whether it be the fast-action oriented guitar lines giving more catch than some hobby fisherman get on their best day; drumming that doesn't get to Sarcofago-like blasting, but from their own hard-hitting tendencies are in cahoots with handicap parking space makers as they hamper unsuspecting people immobile daily; vocals that could either be one pissed-off tour guide in Minas Gerais or some guy who's seen one too many violent acts in the favelas. This is all combined with a production that resonates their roughness, and still gets their crude notes through without being too muffled or hidden. You got to throw a few elbow nudges and pokes at this release. I mean, if you compare it to popular examples of thrash it can be unreasonable in certain areas, like you can easily point out its unbalanced nature. They still put some skill to composition, either by their basic but measured timing or their know-how of giving you just enough taste of a section and then switching to the next. That way when the music stops the boulder rolling, the heart-pounding experience lingers, and as a listener you may feel inclined to hit that repeat button out of wanting it all over again. This album works in different ways than other musical styles in different regions and countries. And this is up there as '80's Brazilian thrash at one of its most entertaining points.
These cult Brazilian thrashers really created a ripper of an album in Immortal Force. While somewhat hidden away compared to their other Brazilian counterparts, with their debut album Mutilator splashed out nine tracks of violent death/thrash which, while not always completely memorable or innovative, are really quite impressive, and definitely some of the most brutal thrash of the time.
The band's technical prowess is nothing to write home about, but beginning with the somewhat tightly structured opener "Memorial Stone Without Name" it shows that they are definitely capable of writing an engaging and memorable song, despite it being the longest on the album by far at nearly 7 minutes.
The rest of the album mostly consists of high-speed thrash tracks in the vein of Sodom's debut album, or perhaps Slayer. A good example of the consistent speed is the violent "Blood Storm" which features some of the most furious tempos I've heard in thrash.
While the name of the game here seems to be short, sweet thrashers. The band on occasion writes a few longer songs, for example War Dogs, which, while still being mostly about speed, contains certain memorable riffs and solos that distinguish it from the rest of the album.
The album's second half contains a couple of songs definitely worth mentioning as the best here. Brigade Of Hate starts of very memorably with its more mid-paced approach and speeds up to tempos slightly lower than average when compared to the rest of the album but this is not a bad thing, and leaves for a memorable enough thrasher.
The album closes with Paranoic Command which once again shows an ever-so-slightly more mature approach to songwriting, and sounds quite tight in contrast to the almost sloppy presentation on a few of the songs on the album.
Kleber's vocals are surprisingly quite distinguishable for a thrash band, sounding similar to Max Cavalera of Sepultura but in a slightly more abrasive manner. The song's 'verses' have a slightly unstructured feel vocally, as he seems to shout his lines in an almost "random" way. This seems to work the majority of the time, but there are moments in which it seems slightly off.
The production is pretty rough, but clear enough. The chainsaw-like buzz of the guitars is at times over-powered by the drums, which tend to echo a fair bit. Apart from these factors it sounds fairly clean.
From a rough-sounding beginning on the classic Cogumelo Warfare Noise compilation, Mutilator tighten up considerably for Immortal Force, and while it has its rough moments, this is a fast, abrasive and cult thrash classic.
Mutilator, one of the leading thrash/death bands in Brazil (under Sepultura that is). Their debut is considered a timeless testament to their style. But even with the timeless feel to it, it still has an archaic feel about it.
Immortal Force shares strong similarities with the various other groups from the area such as Korzus. The big similarity is the album structure, epic opening track then the rest fades into a dull mesh of speedy thrash/death. The vocals are the generic deep style of Brazilian metal, and later into the album get very monotonous. The guitar work is exceptional on this album, carrying a heavy and fast style. But sadly most of the stand out guitar work is on the first track, where most of the album’s charisma lies. The rhythm section is pretty drowned out. The bass is almost non-existent and the drums feel muffled.
The production on this album is pretty third rate, which really gives it that nostalgic feel. Everything has a rough edge and as the album progresses it gets to be more of an annoyance. The lyrical themes are the average thrash/death ideals: anti-Christianity, murder, violence ect ect.
So if your looking for the good nostalgic feel of the old third rate Brazilian metal, then don’t hold back from this album. As for me, well there’s better albums out there by better bands-60%.
The middle 80s period was incredible for the growing extreme metal genre in the whole damn world. In Brazil we could find lots of new, extreme bands and among these we have Mutilator. They took the lesson in violence from Slayer, Kreator, Sepultura and so on to create their own personal death/thrash music style. This is the classic old fashioned metal recording that any extreme metal fan should at least listen to brush up his knowledge about the roots of that music.
The music here is truly essential and raw as sushi. There’s no melody concession obviously and everything is made to be as bestial as possible. The following album, Into the Strange, will feature more thrash metal patterns but here we have the perfect mix of those influences with a primitive form of death metal. The production is quite clear anyway and the sound is quite powerful too.
The main role is played by the rhythmic session and the vocals. The drums are always very pounding and hammering, while the vocals are a sort of Venom/Kreator mix. We don’t find the same bestial early Sepultura’s aggression but we are so close. If the first song features more mature and less impulsive parts, the following “Blood Storms” is total speed. The up tempo parts are a sort of Hellhammer style ones but far faster.
The refrains are well stuck in the aggressive music and the guitars riffs are in a terrific, fast sequence. There’s no time to relax in this lethal combination of guitars whistles, shreds and palm muting riffs. “Butcher” and “War Dogs” are almost hilarious in their essentiality but they are very good. The drums rolls on “Brigade Of Hate” are excellent to give something more to a sound that, even if doesn’t want to change, always remains very good we must say…
The various thrash/death metal influences are always present in massive dosages but the beauty of this kind of music will never die, especially when it comes from that period. Mutilator didn’t invent anything, but in their way, they contributed to the growth of one of the most genuine and sincere scenes of all time.
While the band seems to lack a big fan base, they definetly could have been big if they hadn't split up. This is absolutely one of my top 10 favorite thrash metal albums! I havent heard their 2nd album "Into the Strange" but when i had heard that there was a different vocalist on that one i didn't bother checking it out. I had to buy an original CD of this album on ebay for only 30$ and i think it's a bootleg, but no matter it was worth every penny. From the first song till the last this is neck breaking classic thrash. While the vocals aren't that great the music definetly makes up for it, no matter how many times i hear it, it always makes me laugh the way the vocalist pronounces the word "pleasure" like "plashuree". Since the band is from latin america you can of course expect a heavy accent which is something that i actually enjoy. The only reason why this album doesn't get a 100 is because of its very very had production but this is still fun to listen to.
Stand out songs: 2 - BloodStorm, 6 - Brigade of Hate, 8 - Tormented Soul