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A generation recovering from a morbid and violent dictatorship that generated the worst international debt in Latin American history, levels of urban violence and social inequality rocketing, international fear, reflexes of the Cold War and, as a result of everything, a flaming youth. This is the exact scenario that Brazil faced in the early eighties, which reflected strongly in the musical scene of this time. Post-punk was more popular in Brazil than anywhere in the world, with bands such as Ira! and Legião Urbana receiving huge attention from the media. The funny thing was: while the extremely recent post-punk was exploding, the very old punk scene was just starting to show their claws to the public...
With enraged lyrics in a perfect combination with their enraged instruments, Crucificados pelo Sistema shows hardcore punk in its crudest form, as a record of one of a seminal band in the genre. Under the glorious name of Brazilian punk, RxDxPx screamed raucously their discontent towards the world in their own ways. So one can think "Why would this be so influential, when bands such as the Cro-Mags were already out there and the hardcore scene was already solid?" I can say why.
Everything (I mean everything) that came afterwards in Brazil was undoubtedly influenced by this album, directly or indirectly. Bands such as Sepultura, Holocausto, Mutilator and Sarcófago, despite being from a different scene (Belo Horizonte), surely put their hands on this album and used it as a heavy influence for their music.
The most remarkable thing in this album is the riffing for sure. Inspired by band such as The Varukers and Discharge, Jão plays acid fast riffs that call up for some violent moshing. To make all these guitar riffs even stronger, the raw bass lines get in a perfect sync with them, making the riffs sound much deeper and even more destructive. I personally think punk rock is all about the riffs, so the album has already got my love off this. The drums are in a flawless d-beat, pioneering the drumming style in Brazil.
This results in some angry punk rock at it finest, an outburst of anger of the Brazilian society, something reflected by its lyrics full of anger, like "não me importo" (I don't care), ironising acidly the views of an alienated person, and the title song, that uses strong words to summarise the life of a middle-class individual. Raw and simple as in good punk, but still strong poetry, I must say.
Well, the only reason I'm giving it a 99% is that the mastering was really bad. I'm not talking about their lo-fi, their poor recording is great, but there's something probably in the mastering of the instruments just doesn't sound the best thing ever. However, this doesn't stop the album from being a great listen. Crucificados pelo Sistema is still one of the greatest releases in Brazilian music.
If you search for the origins of extreme metal in Brazil, you must at least know this album. This is where all began in that beautiful country. At the time (the beginning of the 80s) there were two groups in particular that were very important for the genre: Vulcano and these Ratos De Porão. The first one were a lot in Venom style while this band was in pure hardcore/punk style. The association is clear: Venom + punk/hardcore/thrash is the base to the near-future-evolution of bands like Sepultura, Sarcofago, Mutilator and many others. Now, you can understand why this album is so important.
Furthermore, Sepultura did a cover of this album’s title track as a homage to their roots. Anyway, this album is basically “in your face” with lots of fast punk tempos and crazy vocals. The punk influences can be found in the vocal style, the guitars’ fast open chords riffage instead of the palm muting. “Caos” can be easily considered one of the very first grindcore songs, being a 17 second blast beats one and we are in 1984, so far from Napalm Death’s Scum!
Agressão/Repressão is another important example for the political/rebellion lyrics and features less fast tempos even if the punk is always the predominant genre. The vocals are screamed and totally no compromise while the production is a bit noisy especially for the drums’ crashes and for the fuzzy guitars. The tempos are cut perfectly for a great mosh against the stage in a live gig and that’s great! I imagine the Cavalera brothers listening to this LP while they were teenagers in their room.
“Que Vergonha” begins with the acoustic guitars to turn immediately on speed with punk up tempo. That’s simply great and funny. It’s useless to say how the lyrics inspired lots of thrash metal bands from that country those years, it’s enough to read the titles. Musically, another thing that astonished me was the bass sound: it’s so violent, punk but at the same time a bit early Repulsion style with that pounding and low distortion.
Well, there’s nothing else to say. It’s punk/hardcore but it’s also a very important influence for the future generation of extreme musicians that was growing at the time. Rotten, violent, rebels…these are Ratos De Porao, and looking at the social environment they belong (favelas, poverty and violence), it’s impossible to go wrong with this.