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Most thrashards with a certificate in thrashology proclaim Beneath The Remains to be the peak of creativity and coherence for Sepultura. I disagree however, because Arise is an even better album. Overall, the production is superior, the songs have a more developed and sinister atmosphere as well as simply just being catchier songs. The heavy parts are simply also just heavier than on past records. These songs also retain more diversity and therefor, this fares better as a complete album. Granted, none of the individual tracks taken one at a time will stomp upon your balls like that of "From the Past Comes the Storms" or "Stronger Than Hate" but as an album, it's more diverse and feels more conceptually complete. I normally despise using this term to describe music, but yes, it's more mature.
The first three tracks let loose some energetic rippers right from the beginning with tracks "Arise" through "Murder" being total ragers. A few of the later songs on the album introduce a new style of riffing for Sepultura in the form of open-string muted chugging (which of course, would be shamelessly ripped-off and downright abused later in the metalcore sub-genre.. and ironically- by Sepultura themselves) but in regard to "Arise" being released in 1991, it was at the time a diverse and creative way to break up the thrash riffs being belted forth at whirlwind velocity. Tempo variety and timbral dynamics is a GOOD thing in thrash metal, unless your band is called SLAYER.
This album along with Heathen's "Victims of Deception" and Dark Angel’s “Time Does Not Heal” which were both similarly released in 1991, made good developments with stammering, staccato thrash-riffing mixed with some classy palm-muted chugging patterns. On this record you can kind of hear that tribal, primitive, rhomping-through-the-jungle-naked vibe start to develop on this album that they were clearly going for in abundance on later albums (Roots especially), but it doesn't overpower the serious Thrash Metal that is taking place here, because it is not the focal point of the songs. It merely exists as an atmosphere and looms throughtout the duration of the album, as it should.
This logically just falls exactly in between "Beneath the Remains" and "Chaos A.D." which in my opinion is great. "Beneath the Remains" is, by definition a fierce thrash album, and "Choas A.D." is not a bad one by any means, as many like to claim. For what that album is- it has it's moments. However "Arise" is certainly a superior display of that type of sound that they were looking to create with the follow up. “Arise” is something of a ‘best-of-both-worlds’ in the Sepultura sound. It's like a bridging link, and I would say it's their peak album. The synergy.. the melding of worlds. Before the second world fell into a mallcore dystopia, never to return.