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The Sepultura unleashed yet another album, crushing any and all who dared cross its path. That album is the critically acclaimed "Beneath the Remains", which is more or less Sepultura's best effort. It's very easy to see why many would consider it to be their all-time favorite, it's cos it's got the anger and aggression that the earlier albums had, but the sound is more refined than ever. The only album that would ever compete with the might of this one would be "Arise", released sometime later. "Morbid Visions" would be where Sepultura began, "Schizophrenia" would be where they refined their sound, and "Beneath the Remains" would be where they would solidify it. Let's dive down "Beneath the Remains".
Yep, it's that aggressive sound from "Schizophrenia" again, except there's quite a few changes, the production quality being one of the most notable. Everything seems to be more crisp and clean as opposed to the first two releases. There's no more plastic bucket drumming, no grainy, old headphone-like vocals, and no buzzing guitars. With this clean production quality, Sepultura can finally convey their aggression and style, using songs like "Mass Hypnosis" that contain instances of a blindingly fast pace, without any difficulty. While we're on the subject of the band's style, we're totally used to Sepultura using stuttering e-note rhythms at this point. Even when every song on here uses it, the band makes up for it by using more unusual and unconventional chord patterns that create a frightening and abrasive sound. It's something that we've heard quite a bit on "Schizophrenia", but they're more prevalent on this album. Like I said, it's that sound that solidifies Sepultura as a perfectly legitimate thrash metal band and not just another Slayer wannabe.
Of course Sepultura is no stranger to using more than one tempo in each of their songs, it's practically a requirement for all thrash metal bands that at least want to sound good. In some instances, however, they can be kinda slow. One part of "Sarcastic Existence", for example, kinda has a slow, lurching pace, but it doesn't sound bad at all when paired up with a more sinister lick. This creates a very dark and disturbing atmosphere, and is also a break from all the breakneck speed that dominates the album. Although it's not all plodding like previously mentioned song, "Inner Self" is slightly slower than most of the other tracks when it's at its fastest, yet it still maintains the speed needed for most thrash metal songs. It, like "Sarcastic Existence" has also got its slow part, and that's mostly during the verses. If most other thrash metal band around at the time wrote that song, chances are that their songs would be nothing but an extremely fast tempo all the way through, maybe with or without with the occasional different tempo thrown in. Sepultura would use much more than just that one tempo for each song, thus giving us more of a progressive element in their music.
Sepultura is proof that a band from Brazil could have as much potential as one from Germany or the US. Their souped up Slayer-style metal made them a few of the catalysts for death metal's reign of the underground in the 90's. It's easy to see why, since "Beneath the Remains" contains not only the anger found in all of thrash metal, but also the spirit of more determined musicians. The band would release one more opus, "Arise", and after that, let's just say not much good came out of them. It's a shame, really, 'cos the band went the way of Metallica. At least they had no plans of joining forces with any classic rocker to produce a concept album, 'cos that would predictably bomb hard.
Brazilian thrash is probably my second favourite kind of thrash metal right after Teutonic. The Brazilian scene is probably the most overlooked one, but if you look deeper, you can find several valid obscure acts, along with some fundamental and kinda forgotten proto-black/proto-death bands (Sarcofago comes instantly to mind). However, as banal as it could seem, my favourite name of this scene is also, by far, the most famous one: Sepultura. They started as one of those many extreme bands that used to infest the Brazilian underground, releasing raw classics such as “Bestial Devastation”, “Morbid Visions” and “Schizophrenia” for Cogumelo Records. But, since they had way more ambition than most other bands out there, Max Cavalera accepted to make an hazardous trip in disguise to United States, in order to sign a contract with the famous metal label Roadrunner Records. Everything went right, and in 1989, under Roadrunner’s protective wing, Sepultura recorded their first true “mainstream” release: “Beneath the Remains”. Still nowadays, this album is hailed as an absolute thrash classic and, guess what... it’s also my favourite album ever to come from a Brazilian band.
Comparing “Beneath the Remains” to the previous outputs, the first thing you notice is the obvious increase of “aesthetic professionalism” (though I never liked too much the new logo; the Cogumelo-era logo is way better) and the massive improvement of the production, thanks to Scott Burns’ hand. Generally, I’m not a big fan of his “trademark” style, but his work on this album is just orgasmic. The guitar sound is one of the heaviest I ever heard: it sounds like a shower of boulders falling on your head, and it grinds you down mercilessly. This is the perfect guitar sound for a thrash metal album, and rivals only with Sodom (late 80s era) and Gammacide. In conclusion, this is Scott Burns’ best work by far. I have to confess that I’m pretty indifferent to most of his work with American death metal bands like Napalm Death, Obituary or Massacre (even if I still love those albums): I usually prefer him when he produces thrash albums (Demolition Hammer, Sadus, Solstice and, indeed, Sepultura), along with few exceptions in the death metal field such as Deicide and Suffocation.
Now, let’s talk about the music. This is one of the highest peaks ever achieved by the thrash metal genre. It had an incredible impact on the scene of that time, and that’s incredible, since in 1989 thrash metal was no longer a surprise and just few albums (such as “Agent Orange” or “Extreme Aggression”) were able to raise the interest of the mainstream metal crowd, now infatuated with death metal. Maybe, a peculiar element that determined Sepultura’s fame was the misleading “death metal” label. Still nowadays, I wonder why someone considers “Beneath the Remains” a death metal album, when it’s clear that this is just pure thrash metal in its best form. “Bestial Devastation” and “Morbid Visions” are cited as sources of inspirations from many death metal acts, but that’s the end of it. Probably, it’s just a matter of “historical period” if this album got the “death metal” label back in the day.
Do you remember the awesome, intriguing riff-fest of “Schizophrenia”? Well, “Beneath the Remains” is the natural prosecution of that concept, expanding and enriching it, giving you a complete, variegated, yet balanced display of everything that thrash metal is able to offer, with a compositional genius that is difficult to find in the genre. While the previous album was more focused on speed, on this record there’s more space for different paces, alternated each other organically.
Consequentially, the use of mid-tempos is far more accentuated in comparison to “Schizophrenia”. Very often, I find myself preferring fast and “straight-to-the-point” thrash, but this is a definite exception. The mid-paced riffs of “Stronger than Hate” are something even “iconic” to me (especially the one at 3:58), being some of the greatest examples of how to create catchy and brutal thrash even focusing mostly on mid-tempos, something that few bands are able to do. But the absolute quintessence of this formula consists in the main hit of the album, “Inner Self”: a masterpiece of heavy, bastard, in-your-face palm-muted riffs in a mid-paced fashion. Despite the linear structure of the song, it manages to be very creative, yet extremely catchy at the same time: the almost obsessive use of palm-mutes sounds extremely percussive and sometimes drives the riffs through their most peculiar changes (like at 1:24) in an unpredictable way. Beneath these riffs, Igor Cavalera shows his massive improvement since the earlier releases, giving a perfect performance at using double bass (the intros of “Lobotomy” and “Sarcastic Existence” are other incredible examples of his skills).
However, this album is far from lacking fast parts: in fact, every track contains at least one neck-breaking up-tempo. The fast riffs still show a band that hasn’t lost its personal touch about writing raw, extreme thrash; differently from “Schizophrenia”, the style on here is less focused on “sick vibes”, but more on “crude and hateful” brutality; however, the results are still monumental and quite different from the common thrash standards of that time, featuring a more varied approach in terms of chord patterns (though you could notice a definite tendency to “F-E” sequences in many songs). Even the already mentioned “Inner Self” and “Stronger than Hate” have some insanely intense accelerations, and the context where they are placed makes them even tastier. Other highlights of fast riffage include the title-track (which fucks you violently right in your face with an insane opening riff) and various parts of songs like “Lobotomy”, “Hungry”, “Mass Hypnosis” and the ass-rapist “Primitive Future”; but, in the end, every song contains at least a bunch of genial fast riffs that need to be checked out from every respectable thrasher.
Another peculiarity that makes “Beneath the Remains” so special is its rhythmic variety: in fact, many songs on here tend to experiment with rhythmic guitar parts, in a vein that wasn’t so common in thrash metal at that time. There is a strong use of chugs, but in an original and fresh way: “Mass Hypnosis” shows all the rhythmic ability of the band about using monochord chugging riffs in an interesting and stimulating manner (placing even a breakdown at 02:23!). The result is far from being monotonous or boring, unlike most of these modern 2000s’ bands which don’t have any taste about chugging riffage. Other examples of how guitar chugs can be used in a “malleable” and “genial” way, contributing to enrich and improve the riff-structures instead of dumbing them down, are findable on “Stronger than Hate” (go at 03:06 to understand what I’m referring to), “Sarcastic Existence” and “Primitive Future”.
And now, the cherry on top: Andreas Kisser’s orgasmic performance. On this album, his soloist style has improved a lot, and you can hear it: every song is enriched by his beautiful phrasings and solos, with a melodic taste that few guitarists have in extreme metal. The blend of Max’s in-your-face rhythmic parts and Andreas’ sophisticated soloing on “Beneath the Remains” and “Arise” was something unique back in the day, and it still is. Just listen to the fast intro of “Stronger than Hate”: that neck-breaking riff is further empowered by an insane, breath-taking fast solo that will blow you away. Listen also to the high-pitched palm-muted riffs of “Sarcastic Existence”, the vicious intro of “Hungry”, the beautiful phrasings put in the dramatic refrain of “Slaves of Pain”, or the “clean/atmospheric” interludes of “Inner Self” or “Mass Hypnosis”, full of pathos and tension; still talking about “Mass Hypnosis”, after the aforementioned interlude, you will find an exceptional solo, too. However, if I had to mention every single soloist-masterpiece created on this album by Andreas Kisser’s genius, the list would be too long, so let’s get over it.
Another interesting point of the record is Max’s vocal evolution: he has abandoned his old “hellish” vocal style, opting for a more “masculine” approach that already shows how his voice is gonna sound on albums like “Chaos A.D.”, “Roots” and during his whole Soulfly/Cavalera Conspiracy career. Sometimes (for example, on “Mass Hypnosis”), his vocals sound yet too amateurish and forced, but on “Stronger than Hate”, he sounds nicely frustrated, angry and pissed off to the bone. Not a big surprise, since most of the lyrics of this album reflect a strong sense of juvenile discomfort towards modern society. “Stronger than Hate” expresses perfectly this feeling, and touches me very deeply:
”I can’t decide on which way to turn,
my choices are few and far between...
a lifetime of remorse,
there's no place that I’ve ever been!”
The lyrics of “Inner Self”, instead, are a stubborn hymn to individualism, and contain many verses that should be known by every respectable Sepultura fan:
”Walking these dirty streets
with hate in my mind,
feeling the scorn of the world,
I won’t follow your rules.
Blame and lies, contradictions arise.
Blame and lies, contradictions arise.
Nonconformity in my inner self!
Only I guide my inner self!
I won’t change my way,
it has to be this way!
I live my life for myself,
forget your filthy ways!”
Obviously, also the rest of the lyrics is awesome, featuring underrated and meaningful verses such as “Personality is my weapon against your envy”. But this sense of discomfort is reflected even towards the whole concept of being alive (a title like “Sarcastic Existence” speak itself) and the aforementioned refrain of “Slaves of Pain” is the most dramatic moment of the whole record, in its completely nihilistic view of life:
It’s clear that, at that time, all the band members where very young and they had no focus about their own future. But, if I think that a bunch of young boys managed to compose this incredible monolith of brutality and technicality from start to finish, I just can’t believe it. The compositional level of these nine tracks is too fucking high. This is what a true passion for music and a honest, sincere attitude can do.
For the aforementioned reasons, I consider “Beneath the Remains” to be the peak of Sepultura’s career and of the whole Brazilian thrash metal scene. It’s a totally standout album that shows perfectly how to push forward the standards of the genre in an extremely creative, yet still brutal way. Sadly, most of those new bands which take inspiration from “Beneath the Remains” always fail to recapture the real nature of the album, because they just rehash its most-known cliches without pushing further their skills, and this is their fatal error. Sadly, it’s also the fatal error of modern Sepultura.
Have you ever listened to an album that just mercilessly fucks your ears with stellar riffs for its entire runtime, never letting up for even a second? Well, to be blunt, Beneath the Remains is exactly that type of album. The album repeatedly punishes the listener with one crushing riff after another, smashing his/her skull with their utter speed and/or intensity. Well, the best way to break this absolute riff-fest of an album is definitely instrument by instrument. So without any further ado, let the reviewing commence.
The drums patterns are rather similar to that of Schizophrenia, containing a fair amount of your typical "duh, duh, duh" thrash beat, but also containing a decent amount of slower and more creative beats than their sophomore effort. Some of them are rather groovy and get you tapping your foot, balancing well with the faster, thrashier beats. In addition, the drum sound doesn't suck like it did on Schizophrenia, giving the beats a crisper sound and making the fills much more audible.
The bass isn't the most audible, and from what I hear it often follows the guitars. When the bass is audible it is quite decent, complementing the fucking awesome riffs, but not amazing. The somewhat lack of audibility does not necessarily hurt the album since you are often too busy thrashing your neck off, but some more audibility would be appreciated. Again, this doesn't detract from my score because it is really too minuscule to matter in the grand scheme of things.
The vocals could be best described as slightly-harsher-than-normal thrash metal shouts. They fit extremely well with the intensity of the album. Moreover, the still present Brazilian accent is entertaining to listen to for its comedic value. Not to say that it sounds stupid, which it doesn't, just kind of funny. Lyrically, Sepultura is nothing special, but I honestly don't pay attention to lyrics 90% of the time so, again, this is another flaw too trivial to matter.
The guitar work is what makes this album the anal desecrating masterpiece that it is. Imagine you're in the prison showers, you drop the soap, and get fucked in the ass by a gigantic, musclebound thug with a twelve inch dick. That musclebound thug is Beneath the Remains and his muscles and dick are the riffs in the album. The fucking riffs are some of the best I have ever heard in metal. Bone-crushingly intense, yet extremely catchy (not melodic though). The riffs are mainly a combination of mid-paced, groovy thrash riffs (more original than the standard mid-paced thrash riffs though) and neck breaking, faster than fuck riffs. As mentioned before, these riffs are intense. Emotionally, they bring forth feelings of hatred, rage, and malice. I can literally hear the riffs from this album playing when I want to beat the living shit out of someone. This is probably more of a personal feeling, but, either way, these hateful riffs just rape your ass and ears, leaving you waddling away after the carnage has finally ceased.
So, that's about all I have to say about the album. There are no standout tracks in my opinion, just a plethora of amazing riffs. This album should definitely be listened to in its entirety. Not doing so would make the experience incomplete. Without a doubt, Beneath the Remains is one of my personal favorites in the thrash metal genre and undeniably one of the best the genre has to offer. I definitely recommend this album for fans of thrash metal, but, as with Artillery's By Inheritance, all metalheads should pick this one up.
Most brutal mid-80’s thrash groups it was imperative to refine their primitive sound as the decade came to an end to adapt to the changes in the metal scene, now that there were so many serious rivals around exploring new musical horizons, introducing elements that by 1985 nobody could’ve imagined. For sure, most diehard fans would’ve enjoyed a Schizophrenia sequel, though by 1989 thrash had become too advanced and mature so the requirements of those times definitely pushed an icon like Sepultura to offer a more decisive pretentious work, stripped down from the clichés and straighter ways of the past. It was time for these guys to reach the culmination of their career.
So this is supposed to be a more elaborated attempt than its predecessor, yet that doesn’t mean the band has pushed away their distinctive predilection for ferocity and velocity. “Primitive Future” and the title-track itself maintain the dynamism and intensity of the early days with those cutthroat direct riffs attacking hard along with Igor’s totally frantic untouched rhythm, including a basic configuration that puts exclusive attention on aggression. However, that’s not the general pattern the rest of the tunes follow, as soon ambitious cuts as “Stronger Than Hate” or “Hungry” make clear. Of course, there is still speed, abrasive riffing and impossible loose tempos defining the structures of the music, but a bigger quantity of instrumental complexity and variety is achieved. Leading guitar lines are constantly modified, incorporating versatile sequences that break the uniformity and repetition of the configuration of those numbers, professionally constructed and remarkably developed, taking this stuff to another level of consistency and technique. “Slaves Of Pain” and “Sarcastic Existence” for instance are more intricate and better-arranged than anything Sepultura ever did before, not only because of those incessant riff alterations, instrumental passages are richer, lengthier and rigorously-defined now. On other hand, the group refuses to get particularly progressive and give complication excessive control. Some riff series get technically simplified and humble, kinda repetitive and designed easier on “Inner Self”, which has an insistent bunch of vocals becoming the main attraction at times. And even though some tenuous melody and sophistication can be found on “Lobotomy”, sonic violence and speed are intended to be still omnipresent to determine these songs essence and identity.
The result is absolutely splendid, musically stronger and technically superior; certainly proving Sepultura have become a much more competent mature group than they were. Instrumentally, the execution of each of these tunes shows a huge improvement. The performance of each member is completely precise, accurate, leaving behind the inevitable inexperience and clumsiness of the past. Max’s dexterous nearly impossible rapid rhythms are incredibly exact and coordinated, his drum rolls unpredictable and plenty of details, making those numerous sudden tempo changes take form consistently. Paulo Junior’s bass might be almost unlistenable in the final mix as usual; though it’s obvious the band had one of the most challenging brilliant rhythm sections of the subgenre anyway, a fine support to Max & Andreas perfectionist lines, which construct the whole thing generally. Each sequence is guitar-based with a couple of exceptions in which vocals’ presence is more notable. Supremacy of the 6-string section is complete and also more skillful. As I mentioned, the percentage of riff alterations is greater and more constant, more convincing, progressing efficiently during the tunes in comparison with simpler previous attempts. Pickin’ parts reflect a notorious improvement of abilities and versatility too, no longer shredding senseless, out of tune and poor, getting melodic and unexpectedly lyrical sometimes. It’s clear there would be no extraordinary instrumental execution like that without the proper virtuosism and musicianship from these guys, either without a preceding inspired song-writing process, which is proved successful on each track. So they have become more talented composers, adding advanced arrangements and bigger difficulty to their music, which is fortunately ideally produced this time by none other than Scott Burns.
So here we got one of the best thrash records ever, one of the most vivid expressions of the culmination of the subgenre in the late-80’s that was a glorious ephemeral period, soon turning into a massive decline as the new decade arrived. Before that upcoming decadence, cult bands like this reached their highest level of talent and creativity, just like Kreator on Coma Of Souls, Overkill on The Years Of Decay or Voivod on Nothingface. Then came the decent Arise, later Chaos A.D. sadly broke the continuity of a memorable discography catalog and finally absolute decay became evident on Roots and so on. Luckily, we can always relive the splendor of the past by listening to unforgettable classics like this once again. Old school romantics, here we go again...
I think perhaps that, if this was suddenly the only thrash album on the face of the earth that I'd be fine with it. Maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but it should go some way towards explaining how I feel about this one. Beneath The Remains is a strong contender for my favourite thrash album ever, and definitely in my top 10 metal albums period. To elaborate I need to take you back to when I first heard it. This was one of those "benchmark" albums that raised the bar quite early on what I considered to be the hardest, fastest, most extreme music during my quest through adolescence to see just how far it could really go. Before this must have been Reign In Blood, if memory serves. Of course, if we're speaking in those terms, Beneath The Remains has been trumped innumerable times since by various death and black metal albums, but those benchmark experiences have a tendency to stay with us. Context is indeed of great importance when it comes to experiencing a lot of music. At the time I heard this I was 14 years old. As I say the most extreme things I was aware of at the time were Slayer albums such as Hell Awaits and Reign In Blood. Suffice to say Beneath The Remains promptly demolished my ideas about metal at that time. Sure, those old Slayer albums are still evil as hell, fast and heavy, but this seemed to top even them. I had a best friend at that time who was largely into the same stuff as me, and we'd share music (specifically metal) as we came across it. He was the one who showed me Reign In Blood, and I'll never forget the way my jaw just dropped when I heard it. Some time later I showed him this, and he didn't like it. That was when I knew I was a fan of extreme music, and this album was the springboard.
Reality is always more disturbing than horror, and Beneath The Remains is definitely a take on reality as opposed to Slayer's largely fantastical satanic approach. The venomous lyrics, fueled by passion and righteous anger were one of the things that attracted me the most over time, spinning tales of dystopia and human corruption that you don't have to be from fucked up South America to understand or relate to in your own life. At first though, the main attraction was the music itself, the lyrics hard to distinguish through Max's thick accent to my virgin ears. What still impresses me as much as day one is just how FAST the riffs are. Today any fool (me, for example!) can put together lightning speed guitar tracks piece by piece in pro tools with enough time, in 1989 it took a little more and it is a remarkable achievement. The riffs are furious and unrelenting, the melodies dark and enthralling. The tightness of the playing might cause wrist pain in guitar playing listeners! The drums are constantly holding everything together with skill and there is some nice playing going on, but this is really a guitar album. Bass is practically non existent, though Scott Burns is still to be commended for the punchy and aggressive production. Of course, its not all just breakneck speed from beginning to end. There are some great slower and mid paced riffs to shake it up, and in the case of Mass Hypnosis is the prompt for a fantastic, melodic solo. The previous album Schizophrenia (also essential thrash in its own right) had showed the Seps moving towards this point out of their more primitive beginnings, and this album is where they arrived. Then began the slow descent into painful mediocrity, but let's not go there! And who can forget the amazing cover art? Brilliantly detailed and mysterious.
The best songs? All of them. Though there are some (Mass Hypnosis, Lobotomy for example) I like more than the rest, discussing the songs individually is irrelevant. More importantly I can't be bothered to dissect every little detail that I like, because you should be doing that for yourself. This album is PURE THRASH. It makes no apologies for being so, and doesn't care if you don't approve because plenty of others do and always will. Though its not a From This Day Forward or a Time Does Not Heal, albums that show how far the boundaries of the genre can be pushed in various ways, I would go as far as to say this album represents the "conventional" heads down, all out thrash approach taken to its logical conclusion. All further attempts by anyone are, for all intents and purposes (minus a few worthy exceptions), a waste of time. I'm looking at you, modern retro thrash scene. You just won't top this. Stop trying.
“Beneath the Remains” for sure was like a new beginning for Sepultura; they entered the world! First of all, after being signed to small Brazilian label Cogumelo (a legendary label nowadays for sure) they’ve found a new record company – and this time it was a major label; one, which was about to have a huge influence on the thrash and especially death metal in years to come, with distribution worldwide: Roadrunner Records. With them Sepultura became one of the most recognized names in the metal world; together they conquered it! Secondly, the recording session for “Beneath the Remains” may have taken place in Brazil, but the mixing was done at the famous Morrisound Studio, with Scott Burns and Tom Morris doing the job. And obviously soundwise the album is a huge step forward when compared to the two previous LPs (“Morbid Visions” especially). It is enough to say that the sound of “Beneath the Remains” is powerful, aggressive and perfectly clean. Finally, the songwriting for the album is better than before, with some absolutely crushing songs and utterly memorable riffs and the performance of every band member is simply excellent (I especially like the drumming of Igor Cavalera, who’s such an awesome drummer). You can truly hear that Sepultura has evolved and progressed a lot and even if I really like “Schizophrenia” I just must admit that “Beneath the Remains” is slightly better than its predecessor and probably will always be the best thing, which those Brazilians have ever recorded (I am not even going to comment what they’re recording nowadays… I don’t care, the band doesn’t exist for me).
“Beneath the Remains” begins like a dream album. Side A has four tracks and all four of them are just absolute crushers. The title track is an instant killer, with such an awesome riffing and arrangements that for sure it is one of my favourite Sepultura songs ever! A calm acoustic theme is like a calm before the storm, as suddenly a furious death / thrashing riffing erupts and the powerful energy of this music fills my room. Oh, so fast, so furious… and one can call it death metal, most will probably call it thrash metal – but thrash metal in most aggressive and intense way possible… who cares what will it be called if the music is awesome? “Beneath the Remains” is a real highlight of the album for me (“Who has won? Who has died? Beneath the Remains!!!” – yeah man!), but it is followed by another killer “Inner Self”, so there’s no time to breath, but headbanging continues! Again the riffs are absolutely amazing, the drumming and vocals are perfect and so are also the whole arrangements. This song is slower than the one before, not so intense (although it fastens in the chorus part), there are some more melodic parts here and there, but it still kicks ass seriously. Andreas Kisser shows his great skills in guitar leads department, Igor’s drums are strong… And suddenly “Stronger than Hate” begins! For sure one of the fastest and most aggressive songs; really nice, I love how it begins, with those melodic leads and then when it speeds up. This song has a guest vocal participation in chorus part by some well known vocalists from bands like Obituary, Incubus and Atheist, but they only scream the song title in the chorus, so you cannot even guess that John Tardy is there, as you just couldn’t hear it, so if I didn’t read about it in the booklet then I would never know. OK, no time for bullshit, “Mass Hypnosis” starts… the vocals of Max Cavalera are sometimes a bit weird, more in the classic thrash metal vein I would say… also some of the ideas for this song are slightly weird, so not everything about this song is perfect in my opinion, but it is good anyway.
Side B starts with two songs, which not often are mentioned as Sepultura’s finest pieces, but I personally like them a lot: “Sarcastic Existence” and “Slaves of Pain” (this one was originally written by Kisser for his previous band Pestilence). They both are excellent and shred with some absolutely phenomenal riffs and that sheer aggression. I love the arrangements again, the drumming and just everything about these two songs. What is so great about “Beneath the Remains” album is that even those more mediocre songs like “Lobotomy” and “Hungry” sound great – the latter has some truly nice riffs and is a perfect headbanger in my opinion… I bet every band would love to have such “mediocre” songs on their album hehe! Finally the LP is finished with “Primitive Future” – and the tempo is once more fast and the song is truly aggressive and savage… Thrash attack! I have nothing more to add, really… If you don’t know this album then I have no idea what were you waiting for… it is a mandatory release for every metalhead, whatever style of metal is his favourite.
Standout tracks: “Beneath the Remains”, “Inner Self”, “Slaves of Pain”, “Primitive Future”
Final rate: 90/100
Absolute amazing thrash metal release here from Brazilian natives. The band capitalized on originality in songwriting, creativity, aggression, intensity and destruction of the senses. Out of their entire discography, none of their albums dominated as much as this one has. The production did them a great justice with everything properly mixed in the recording. Nothing was left out here and the guitar riffs simply dominated. Lyrical concepts were also a milestone here, reflecting the bands' struggle in to fit into society. They really belted out sheer intensity and aggression here, no words could describe such amazing work as this one.
The entire album is noteworthy, Max leading the way and Andreas simply dominating in the lead department. What's most reflective here is the band's simple desire to create such unimaginably creative riff structures. Tremolo picking galore alongside chunky and thick bar chord mania. The leads really augmented the rhythms, they were crazy fast and technical plus they did not drown out the rhythms. Max's vocal outputs were really aggressive and featured some backups from the band during some chorus parts. YouTube "Inner Self" and "Mass Hypnosis", they are I think the most noteworthy gems on this release.
I like it how they progressed from Morbid Visions (their debut), Schizophrenia (predecessor) and with this one I think is their strongest release entirely. Amazing how they got all of this work recorded in merely a couple of days time! Like I said, everything fit together in unison and Beneath the Remains is an example of how bands should be original in their outputs and the importance of having a good production to augment the talent in the songwriting. Every single song dominates and is original sounding, nothing here was left out and as a 4-piece band I think they were their strongest in my estimation.
Even bass bits were amazing, Paulo showing his talents in this department featuring a notable tapping outro riff and Igor definitely up to par on his drum bits. Sad about Sepultura's demise, here they worked so hard to get everything perfect and the band I no longer am interested in since Max is no longer with them. Sure they made some great efforts following this release including Arise and Chaos AD, but Beneath the Remains I think is their strongest ever because of their intensity and simple originality in songwriting style. The band as a whole did their absolute best work here, and that can't be stressed enough.
I loved the clean intro to this album and everything after. Every single song shows utmost talent and superiority with the band, simply unbelievable. A true masterpiece on every front. The guitars (including the bass), the drums and production quality. Max's vocals fit the music totally and his aggression alongside the guitar riffs turned out amazingly. Some vocal effects, but they didn't overuse technology as some bands have over the years. Thrash metal here as strong and amazing, get the remastered version, it does the album justice. Old Sepultura is dead, long live old Sepultura! Own this now!
Among the early pioneers of the death metal sound, Brazilian thrash maniacs Sepultura naturally shared a fairly close stylistic relationship with that of Possessed and Death, thus putting forth a sound that is often considered more of the thrash persuasion rather than that of death metal. Their stylistic evolution tended to resemble that of Possessed a bit more, as their progression from "Morbid Visions" onward brought them closer to the dominant sound of the general Bay Area scene, thus culminating in a famous collaboration with studio magician Scott Burns, another figure very important in the development the characteristic sound of death metal. The level of production clarity, punch and muscle behind their 3rd and heavily lauded LP "Beneath The Remains" is undeniably masterful, but manifests itself as something not quite as overtly nasty and menacing as what would be heard out of Burns on his work with Cancer and Cannibal Corpse.
As an album, this thing is heavily tilted towards the complex, fast-paced, machine-gun riffing approach typical to bands such as Vio-Lence and Dark Angel at around this juncture. In fact, apart from a deeper, slightly nastier vocal display out of Max Cavalera that somewhat resembles the earliest work of David Vincent at times (before he became a bellowing bullfrog), this listens dangerously close to a Bay Area thrash album. The riff work is possessed of a similar combination of deep, rapid chugs and little melodic motives that graced the rugged, bone-crunching work heard on "Eternal Nightmare" and "Leave Scars", throwing in a near equally heavy hint of Slayer's dissonant tremolo riffing and haunting harmonic contour. But even more indicative of the heavy tilt towards San Francisco brand thrashing is the lead guitar work, which is remarkably similar to the absolute mastery displayed out of Flynn and Demmel on the aforementioned Vio-Lence debut.
Arguably, this is the least death metal informed album on Sepultura's early catalog, though the same ear shattering guitar sound and crisp vitality that was typical of a Burns production job is easily heard from one song to the next. Right from the reverb drenched acoustic intro of "Beneath The Remains", an inescapable sense of inevitability paints the landscape, one loaded with battle dead corpses under a blackened, smoke-filled sky. But after the first electric guitar begins pounding away, this album proves to be a constant barrage of heavy fire, like an artillery division with an endless supply of munitions and tireless robotic soldiers. An occasional breakdown to half-tempo may commence from time to time, but they are fast fleeting. It becomes impossible to really pick an obvious standout track when looking to the most exaggerated display of unfettered rage as an example, though "Sarcastic Existence" and "Hungry" do distinguish themselves nicely in how they balance out catchy, melodic guitar motives with gut-wrenching power chord mayhem.
One could liken this album to a berserker leading the charge amid an entire legion of battle-hungry Vikings, and that is the one area where this album falls a tiny bit short of its predecessor "Schizophrenia". This album is basically a straight-shot of extreme violence, one that casts aside any notion of nuance or subtlety. By no means it fall short of deserving all the praise it has garnered, and it definitely is far more accessible to the average thrash maniac than the low-fidelity character of the band's mid-80s sound. It's out on the front lines and its incredible ferocity will assure it a very high body count, but it isn't quite the album that commands the brigade.
Whilst Sepultura’s previous two albums (Morbid Visions from 1986 and Schizophrenia released in 1987) were popular amongst underground tape traders, the thrash world at large had ignored them. This was largely down to the fact that the distribution of these records had no clout but it has to be said that the quality of the song writing and the buzz saw production had put them in the third division of thrash metal and that’s being particularly generous. Enter legendary thrash producer Scott Burns, the man who had worked his magic on Obituary, Atheist and the outstanding Death albums. His clean production savvy combined with Sepultura’s ever confident and more mature song writing would have increased their standing for sure but it was singer and guitarist Max Cavelera who brokered the deal with Roadrunner Records which gave them the financial backing to break into metal’s elite and have the Brazilian noise merchants gain the popularity that Beneath The Remains deserved.
I bought this originally on cassette which just isn’t the greatest format to listen to it on. I always preferred to listen to tapes of my favourite albums on my Walkman that I would dub from vinyl. Beneath The Remains simply got side-lined for a good few months. Gradually though the hooks took hold. The opening line from Inner Self; “Walking down these dirty streets with hate in my mind” and its memorable chorus was the first inklings for me that this band could become something quite special. Walking home from a school I hated to a home I feared with these Brazilian nutcases pumping thrash metal in my ears eventually took its toll. I became a fan.
Mass Hypnosis was another stomper, the main guitar line cuts through with jagged stabs that simply entice you into the grooves. Where metal acts such as Suicidal Tendencies were going wrong, Sepultura seemed to be getting right. A prime example is the full pelt thrash of Slaves Of Pain, rather than ignoring their past and reinventing themselves as something adjacent to what they originally planned to be here Sepultura encompassed the pace of their previous output whilst improving their song writing and song structure, throwing in a great breakdown part and they even began playing with vocal textures. They made what was an otherwise middle of the road album track something special. Suicidal’s reinvention was simply too mainstream, what was a new outlook for them had already become an old pair of jeans for us local metalheads. Sepultura were leading the way forward.
Today I have a lot of respect for Sepultura. Along with Pantera they kept metal interesting during the grunge years. Of course many would argue that Machine Head should be name checked in the same breath but they didn’t have the same strengths or vision that the aforementioned bands had. Beneath The Remains for me was the curtain call of thrash metal. Thrash became over saturated and weak and died the same time as the hair bands did. Until it’s recent re-emergence I thought that thrash’s final page had been written with this record but as it turned out bands like SSS, Municipal Waste and Evile have rekindled the flame. Thrash metal is dead…. Long live thrash.
Sepultura, while certainly not the best band from Brazil, was truly worthy of their mass attention following the release of their 1989 Magnus-opus Beneath the Remains. Unlike many thrash metal bands, proclaimed by the mainstream media to be among the best in the genre when they really weren’t (especially the mass hype surrounding heavily influencail Metallica), Sepultura actually lived up to the hype sporting genuine talent and technique, to create several masterpieces of extreme, yet controlled and somewhat sophisticated Death/Thrash metal.
Starting with the primitive, but enjoyable and thrilling Bestial Devastation ep, and their first album, Morbid Visions, Sepultura started to mature as a band, and the antics of pure speed alone started to cease, resulting in the more refined sophomore album. At this point, it was clear that the band wished to expand upon their sound, and incorporate more thrash influences into their mostly death metal sound. The fact that they were largely influenced by Metallica’s is most obvious when listening to the Metallica inspired instrumental Inquisition Symphony, as well as the more variation in their music, and more varied song structures compared to earlier efforts. Without a doubt Schizophrenia was transitional, and exposed Sepultura’s venturing into a more Bay-Area patterned format, while still preserving some of their death metal tendencies.
By the time their third album, Beneath The Remains saw the light of day, Sepultura had evolved even more since Schizophrenia, and became even more mature as a band, focusing on catchy and memorable riffs, and incorporating Metallica-like structure to their album layout (take for instance the clean instrumental preceding the first song, being much more straight forward than the other songs on the album. similar to Metallica circa 1984-88). Still the band showed no signs of slowing down, and although the somewhat undesirable (or at least in my opinion) Metallica influences became more obvious, they still managed to be surprisingly aggressive, and straight forward with their music, Exceeding the speed of both Slayer and Dark Angel.
The production of this album alone in a clear improvement over previous works, sounding sufficiently heavy and surprisingly clear, for a band that still had relatively little studio experience, largely due to a better producer. The clarity even matches that of more popular American bands, only aiding the intensity of the music even further. The main problem with Schizophrenia was the production was still very weak, and did not adequately support the stellar music on the album. BTR had a professional amount of clarity, that give little to complain about.
In terms of song structure, BTR continues, and in some aspects (but not all) expands upon what Schizophrenia started, continuing the more mature and controlled, yet fast and intense approach, only done in a more streamlined way than before. Whereas Schizophrenia was much more raw, wild and in many ways more ambitions, BTR seems to be more focused on Restrained riffs, less adventures than before, focusing more on heaviness. To me, this is the only shortcomings of the album, the simplicity of the riffs.
Schizophrenia was actually semi-technical in nature, with complexity stemming from a multitude of techniques, and constant tempo changes in each song. The riffs on BTR sound a bit tired, and more chord based, with some moments of tremolo picking, but not quite as much as on the Schizophrenia album. Take for instance the song Inner-Self, with chugging riffs similar to that of Metallica, as a pose to the rampant death thrashing number R.I.P. (Rest in Pain). The riffs just don't seem as wild as before, but still are satisfying in that they are controlled, and memorable. The true strength of BTR however, lies in the drumming.
Beneath the Remains boasts some of the fastest and most intense drumming since their '85-'86 period, easily exceeding, Slayer, and Dark Angel at the time. The Drums are also a huge improvement over Schizophrenia, being much faster, but much more clear and refined as well. While Sepultura were not the fastest of the time, with bands like Sadus, Necrodeath, and Merciless far exceeding them in the area of speed, they were sufficiently fast, and did not go overboard with speed. Just like Slayer on RIB, they were aiming for writing something that was not just mindless bashing, but controlled while still being intense and straight-forward, unlike Metallica’s overly restrained, semi-thrash, that actually had more traits of NWOBMH and traditional heavy metal than it did thrash. Sepultura basically took the formula of Slayer, and applied Metallica elements, with touches of death metal, and much more speed.
To me, BTR remains the best "popular" thrash metal album, but not the best in the genre. While being more mainstream in its production, and more controlled, it is still savage and extreme compared to other bands that crossed over into the mainstream. Additionally, the quality of the album is undeniable. While master of puppets hardly lived up to it supposed title of best thrash metal album (Just to clarify things I'm not saying it's a bad album, I just don't find it to be the best in the genre), BTR actually is a quality album that lives up to its hype. Sure, Sepultura is somewhat overrated, and this album certainly is, but this is one of the cases when the people are right. Sepultura is one of those few bands that actually deserve to be, as they have real talent and quality music (at least from 85-91). BTR is highly recommended for those who want fast, yet controlled thrash, that has a professional level of musicianship. The bands best without a doubt.
Everything in this album is punishing! You know the kind of metal that tells you fucking do what I say! OBEY ME! That is what this metal is about.
Okay let’s start with the production, Sepultura released great albums before this, just somewhat bad production, well not bad after all, just bad when compared to this production. Come to think about it, Schizophrenia with this production would sound better than it does and I only thought so after listening to this album. The whole sound is just clear, yet aggressive, sharp and tight. The previous albums probably had a “nastier” production, but this is the sound of pure hostility, the sound of all what is stronger than hate.
The drumming by Igor is just very vigorous, and precise, and sounds volatile with the riffs being played. You know they sound thunderous just like those shells that put everything beneath the remains. Actually, the drums drew my attention as much as the drums on Darkness Descends did. This album needed an aggressive and tight performance on the drums, to add to the overall volatile feel of the album and thus, probably would have been flawed if Igor had not executed this perfect drumming on this album.
The vocals are to the death side of metal, and they’re punishing ; this is my favourite vocal style in thrash metal, to be honest. They are belligerent, retaining the speed of thrash metal vocals, yet adding a whole lot of hostility and coarseness in their delivery.
… and the solos, just like albums as “None so Vile”, they have this character that identifies them yet they never take over; the solos are just another aspect of the album that complements it.
BUT forget everything said (well not really, just consider this line as an emphasis on what I will say), what is most punishing ( said it alot already eh ?), and the ultimate highlight are the fucking riffs. Some of the best thrash riffs in the whole thrash metal genre (and metal as a whole) are Where? where? where? where? HERE ! Here’s quality and quantity, and with that sick, heavy, thrashy guitar tone it has, the riffs only sound more intriguing. Forget catchy, although Stronger than Hate’s main riff is all you’ll be humming in the next half of your life, yes forget that Beneath the Remains’ first riff will haunt your dreams, they just dominate. You want the riffs to be catchy? or headbanging ? or aggressive ? or what ? This is a real perfect combination of all. One also gets his share of spine-chills too, listen to that break when the solo of Mass Hypnosis kicks in, just amazing.
I usually tend to have problems going through an entire album, even if it has some classic songs and then a bad one, I kind of find that somewhat repellent, but nothing like that to find here. This is just one of those unrelenting albums; No silly melodic passages that make you pray that they end (probably just some exclusive ones to make you breathe every 10 minutes or so), just an onslaught of madness of a once great thrash band. Yes ONCE, which brings us to why this is one of the biggest misfortunes in metal. I rather like to look at it this way ; I don’t hate Sepultura because they are a mallcore band; I hate them because they don’t like this album anymore. They can't still like this album and release something as “Roots”. Their tastes seem to have changed (Sepultura lost track before the Cavaleras leaving), to the worst unfortunately.
If you liked Sepultura ‘s Schizophrenia, well, Sepultura didn’t really change in this album concerning their approach to thrash, just put out an even more perfected album.; different production, “clearer” and more violent, and some more awesome drumming without forgetting the riffs; all that in one punishing thrash metal album. You can actually hate this and like “Roots” and the likes, but you can’t hate this and like Thrash!
The 1980s were the years in which were born some of heavy metal's most important genres, such as black, death and thrash metal.
Sepultura, today's most famous Brazilian metal band created in 1984 by the Cavalera brothers Max and Igor, is one of those few bands that have managed to participate as a pioneering band in such musical genres, as well as bringing key characteristics into those rapidly evolving subgenres of metal.
Sepultura's influences are hard to discern at first, though the clear mark of hardcore punk's speed and attitude is easily recognizable.
This influence has been constant, from the band's earliest cult blackened thrash/death metal releases to the these recent years whence Derric Green was brought in to substitute Max Cavalera's departure.
This rebellious sentiment of distaste directed towards modern society reaches it's peak in total synchronization with the band's final acquiring of musical technique and an impressive inspiration on Sepultura's 1989 full length release “Beneath The Remains”.
The record's first apparent lyrical theme is surely apocalypse through warfare, but it is through further interest in the song titles and lyrics that we learn that this apocalypse Max Cavalera bravely barks about is happening right now as we know it, through the degeneration of society into a game of survival based only on self-trust.
The first song “Beneath The Remains” perfectly portrays what to expect from this album.
The sorrowful acoustic intro (surely in reference to a pre-apocalyptic life) provides a moment to breathe, but this is only the calm before the storm.
A brief moment of silence ensues in a sonic attack by a maddened and enraged riff, signalling the beginning of the end, the beginning of total degeneration.
The speed kicks in, speed that can be found everywhere on this album, and occasionally turns into a slower, groovier breakdown, that eventually leads to a frenetic bomb blast towards the end of each song.
This recipe works wonders on this album: used in addition to awesome, imaginative riffs and suffocating, brutal drumming, it creates a blueprint to thrash metal perfection.
The next song is “Inner Self”, a slower (in comparison to other tracks on the album) heavy metal anthem with a melodic passage that was bound to become one of Sepultura's most famous songs (a video was made for this song).
Then, the speed is quickly reinstaured with the following track “Stronger Hate”, which can equally be considered as an anthem, with a good balance of slow passages and fast passages, as well a memorable chorus (“stronger than hate!” an all star vocal performance comprised of Kelly Shaefer (of Atheist), John Tardy (of Obituary), Scott Latour and Francis Howard (of Death/Thrash band Incubus) lively shouts).
The guitars on “Mass Hypnosis” hypnotically swoop in, and once more a fantastically enjoyable rush of speed that lasts all through the song punches in.
The three next songs “Sarcasting Existence”, “Slaves of Pain” and “Lobotomy” are musical compositions that work perfectly with their lyrical themes and are enjoyably progressive.
They are followed (in my regards) by the weakest track of the album, “Hungry” which if left on it's own is still widely acceptable.
The album should finish with “Primitive Future”, a breathtakingly fun and fast track, but on the remastered version the Brazilian masters of speed choose to give extra bang for the buck with two instrumentals for the tracks “Mass Hypnosis” and “Inner Self” (get your karaoke machines!), and of course a hilariously good anglicized cover of Os Mutantes “A Hora E A Vez Do Cabelo Nascer (The Moment and the Turn of Hair's Birth).
This album showcased the impressive musical potential Sepultura acquired over the years (before they unfortunately downgraded themselves with Chaos A.D and beyond) mixed with truly wonderful song and lyrical writing.
The addition of lead guitarist Andreas Kisser proved to be a significant strategic move, as his leads and solos bring the cutting edge the vocaless sections of the songs need.
The drumming is fantastically delivered by Igor Cavalera, who uses brutal speed or more groove inspired drumming at times: all in all his perfomance provides a dynamic feeling to the music.
Paulo and Max do excellent jobs at what they do best, as Paulo's bass brings in the extra heaviness needed.
Max Cavalera's barking vocals convey an image of a desperate man in an apocalyptic world who sees a glint of hope in this blackened, futureless world.
His vocals take on a significant change from their earlier releases, being more of a shout than a growl.
The lyrics vary from political and medical condamnation to a more punkish charged themes such as individuality.
I consider this album as one of the highest peaks of thrash metal, as it perfects most of the genre's highlights, such as speed, technicality, great songwriting and quality riffing.
All in all, this album is nothing short of excellent and it is a must have album for a metalhead or anyone, really, regardless of genre preference.
Sadly, on later releases Sepultura sacrificed complex musical compositions for a more straightforward style of music( still maintaining a punkish attitude, but more dumbed down), which resulted in a good number of mediocre releases (such as “Roots”).
This is an album that will strike your heart with memorable tunes that will stick in your mind for weeks and will definetly make you want to headbang violently as well as turn you into a speed addict. A jaw-dropping release.
With the great Schizophrenia, Sepultura really learnt how to play their instruments in a good way and they started a new period, less death metal but more thrash/death. This period has a peak, and it’s also the peak of their career in my opinion…of course we are talking about the fucking great Beneath The Remains. The brutality of this group is mixed perfectly with a good technique and an excellent songwriting. The sound by the instruments is sharper, thrasher and less Venom worshipper, showing a personality that has always been a bit hidden in their previous albums.
This time the production is far better than the previous albums, but very old fashioned, especially for the drums. Everything sounds so raw but clean and powerful without the pounding production of the following Arise album. Beneath The Remains contains some of the best songs ever recorded by those guys and it’s a classic in its genre.
Starting from the title track, after a small acoustic guitar intro, all that we have is a bunch of riffs, the sick Max's vocals and the restless Igor’s drumming. The following “Inner Self” is a great mid-paced song, that contrary to those in Arise, doesn’t show signs of modernism or something like this. This is pure thrash/death orgy with hundreds of palm muting riffs, stop and go and speed restarts.
Kisser is growing album after album in its way of playing the lead guitars and every song has some of the best solos ever by this group. For example check the magnificent, superb one in the awesome “Mass Hypnosis”: pure hellish madness. It's so sick and obscure. “Stronger Than Hate” is total death in the guitars with great obscure lead lines and the great work by Igor, especially at the double kicks.
The drums intro to “Sarcastic Existence” shows no mercy and begins a long series of great fucking songs…each and every one contains catchy riffs and some obscure lead sounds to create a truly hellish atmosphere. Max continues in vomiting all his hate towards the world while the tempo is getting faster and faster.
“Slaves Of Pain” is great with the refrain “…Life Ends…Feeling Death! Slaves Of Pain!” and the great thrash rhythmic guitar riffage. “Lobotomy” is lethal with the drums intro: Igor is faster than ever. The two final songs “Hungry” and “Slaves Of Pain” don’t slow down at all, continuing the up tempo parts ‘till reaching the end by an echoing stomp on the last drum beat. All that remains is satisfaction for such a brutal effort.
These ones are some of the best compositions ever by the Brazilian group and this masterpiece enters, rightly, in the Hall Of Fame of this genre.
When I first heard this album I was speechless. The half-assed Pantera clone I had heard on Chaos A.D., had been a really talented thrash band at one point. Thats right, no grooves, no hardcore punk inspired riffs, just pure fucking thrash metal. It was this album that made me take a second look at Pantera, later Sepultura ,and realize it for what it was, pure crap. I had never heard something with such a concentrated use of aggression before in my life. It would be this album that would open the door's into the vast world of underground thrash for me, and ultimately make me ditch the glam pussies attempting to be tough act from texas. Sepultura was at the top of their game here, and it shows from beginning to end.
Well I suppose I have to review the songs. The album starts off with "Beneath the Remains" which is a nice opener that catches even the most polished thrash/death listeners unaware. Basically this song is the epitome of what Sepultura could do right, and it was done with style. "Inner Self' is more mid paced, but features a slew of catchy riffs. "Stronger Than Hate" is built to stomp your face into the ground with its vast array of heavy riffs, speed sections, and pounding drums. "Mass Hypnosis" has a retarded vocal track, but Sepultura never really was about the vocals. The song kicks it into true high gear for the first time on the album. "Sarcastic Existence", "Slaves of Pain" and "Lobotomy" all meld together really well. Slaves of Pain does it a little better with its use of a very sudden but important tempo change. "Hungry" is the worst track here, and its still worth listening too if I'm on a Sepultura run. "Primitive Future" contains an innovative song structure and a slew of riffs, it is guaranteed to destroy anyone in its path.
The best tracks here are "Beneath the Remains", "Slaves of Pain", and "Lobotomy". Yet every track here contributes in some way to the album. The production is basically flawless, heavy, yet not overproduced and a very interesting guitar tone. Yes this is Scott Burns crowning production achievement. The vocal tracks are audible, and not turned too high (Like in their groove years), and almost every riff seems to serve a purpose.
The album contains a slew of riffs, featuring 15-20 per song, as well as well constructed guitar lines, solo's, and even at times well written lyrics. Even more interesting is the way the vocal tracks are kind of used as another instrument to counter-act the flow of the currently playing riff. All in all, this album was hardly a new thing at the time. Good death/thrash had been around a while, but Sepultura re-wrote the entire rule book on how to make a death/thrash release. This album would pave the way for aggressive thrash bands, and even influences bands to this day (Warbringer).
Any fan of thrash should get this album. Anyone looking for something heavier then Slayer or any of the big four should get this album. I reccomend this to anyone who is interested in thrash, and wants to re-live the days when Sepultura was actually good and not a bunch of proto-mallcore based grooves on cd.
"Who has won?... Who has died?... BENEATH THE REMAINS!!!"
The unprecedented extremity of 'Reign in Blood' sounded the death knell for 80's thrash, but the pummelling perfection of 'Beneath the Remains' delivered the decisive blow. Sepultura accidentally broke a few extreme metal boundaries with 'Bestial Devastation', then showed that they could actually play their instruments with the promising yet ultimately transitional 'Schizophrenia'. Newly signed to Roadrunner and supporting Sodom on their European tour, Sepultura exploded out of Brazil with ruthless intent and showed the rest of the world just how good they were.
On the surface this is a tweak of their previous album, not an overhaul. Where 'Schizophrenia' was meandering and messy, 'Beneath the Remains' is tight, lean and relentless. The inexorable, driving thrash rhythms now twisted and turned with merciless precision and purpose. Igor Cavalera's powerful, dynamic, forceful performance established him as one of the best metal drummers. Andreas Kisser proves himself as one of the genre's greatest lead guitarists with relatively simple leads that emphasise harmony without resorting to mindless shredding. The last solo on 'Mass Hypnosis' is the best example; one of the best metal solos ever.
Scott Burns achieves his best production job here. This band's hunger and forcefulness slices through the murk, but creates an immense, brooding atmosphere of South American darkness in the process. It fully captures their brutal punk roots that were largely absent from their next album. Still, it is the songs that make this so essential. Side A is full of catchy, immediately recognisable 'hits' such as the immense 'Inner Self'. Side B has a stripped down, sharper thrash attack culminating in the flat-out speed of 'Primitive Future'. It is brilliant from start to finish. If Sepultura were to become one of the biggest metal bands in the world, then 'Beneath the Remains' is the reason why.
Pretty brutal thrash to be found here, not brutal as the teutonic bands, but still quite brutal. Aside the first 50 seconds of this album,there is a never ending riff assault which will make you bang like a real bastard, but if you'll sit back and read the lyrics, you'll discover a different aspect of this album.
The main themes on 'Beneath The Remains' are about war, hate,and political issues. The lyrics fits pretty well the riffing and when you concentrate on them you'll see that 'Sepultura' have some more talent with lyrics than most of the "death, satan, hell" bands. The vocals are also pretty good. They are quite agressive but still remains clean, not melodic but has some great heat within.
The opening track has a bit negligible intro for me. It sounds a lot like 'Call Of Cthulhu' ('Metallica'), pretty calm and clean pluckings with some echos surrounds it. Then it just explsodes into heavy and yet catchy riffing which could be a great straightforward intro for this album, instead a dull and long quiet passage which doesn't really gets to anywhere. 'Inner Self' has a nice main riff and pretty good drums fills, the lead guitar also sounds well and the chorus is a bit faster and excellent for moshing. The C-Part is pretty intense and combines a distorted and clean guitars flawlessly. Pretty sweeping track, also my favorite of this album.
I must mention that this album is produced pretty well. The guitar has a solid feeling and it sounds pretty clear and heavy, the drums are also very dominant and the bass is pretty noticeable. All the instruments together sounds amazing and powerful and gives within the songs a pretty heavy vibe.
Each song has a great riffs and it's own mettle which makes it sound unique in this album. The riffing isn't very technical, it's pretty simple but remains heavy and agressive for the whole album, and has some catchy moments here and there. No bad moments at all, there are good tracks and even better tracks.
In conclusion: this is one of the highlights from Sepultura's discography. Very enjoyable album, flows great and doesn't becomes boring at any point. Pretty essential for thrashers and closes the 80's thrash scene greatly. Get it if you look for a powerful thrash piece.
Highlights: 'Inner Self', 'Stronger Than Hate', 'Mass Hypnosis', 'Slave of Pain' and 'Primitive Future'.
My first introduction to Sepultura was hearing 'Primitive Future' on the radio somewhere in 1989. Shortly after I saw the video to 'Inner Self' on Super Channel (remember that one?). I immediately went out to buy the album and at Dynamo Open air 1990 I stood in front waiting for these guys. I guess this says enough about how I feel concerning 'Beneath the Remains'. Not only is it by far the best Sepultura album ever made, it is also one of the best thrash metal albums ever made. The overall sound was vile, angry. The vocals were trully mean yet fortunately no real grunts. My god did this album thrash.
After a beautiful intro, the titletrack sets the mood for the album. Raging uptempo thrashing madness which is actually very catchy. 'Inner Self' proved to be the 'lightest' song on the album, mostly bringing some excellent mdtempo riffing verses, an uptempo chorus and my favorite solo from the album.
Other highlights include the already mentioned 'Primitive Future', 'Stronger than Hate', 'Slaves of Pain' and the mighty catchy thrasher 'Mass Hypnosis'. Objectively speaking Sepultura have never made a flawless album but the lesser interesting songs 'Sarcastic Existence', 'Lobotomy' and 'Hungry' are still of outstanding quality.
Compositionally and productionally their most aggressive album. The sound of 'Beneath the Remains' shattered that of 'Schizophrenia' and the aggression presented here overthrew the dark 'Morbid Visions' album with ease. That is saying something, knowing both 'Schizophrenia' and 'Morbid Visions' are classics in their own way as well.
The riffs on 'Beneath...' are mostly simple but they are pretty catchy and deadly effective. The finishing touch is the magnificent drumming of Igor Cavalera. He plays his parts with mindblowing surgical tightness and a never ceasing amount of energy. It was on this album that the brothers Cavalera excell together in tightness and both perfectly coincide with the creative leads presented by Andreas Kisser. A classic of the purest kind.
It's Sepultura's third full length but only the second if you consider the newfound direction starting with 1987 Schizophrenia.
Things are simple here. I could easily go into a moronic-mode and start barking that this album is a huge part of my life and emotionally driven shit like that etc etc. Instead I will comment objectively and state, in full awareness, my belief that this is the best album of music related to Speed Metal/Thrash. At least of what I've listened to.
Schizophrenia showed a great deal of potential but the technique needed to play this style of metal was quite out of reach for Sepultura. Andreas Kisser was an excellent guitarist at that time, adding new sense of melody to Sepultura but, probably, he and Max needed a bit more practice to explode from the Death Metal they played into the more Speed oriented stuff. This grey area between Speed Metal and Death Metal was explored by many bands in the mid and late 80's (Slayer, Kreator, Sodom, Rigor Mortis etc) featuring the song structures and riffs of Speed Metal (although some times riffs could arguably enter the Death Metal division), the growls of early Death Metal and probably the tempo of Thrash cause Speed Metal never reached this speed before. In my opinion Sepultura explored this era with the most free and creative mind. Creating a language of their own by not being attached to any genre. Beneath the Remains is the gem of this exploration and quest and it is also the highest moment of Sepultura's career.
The album starts with Beneath the Remains, a magnificent masterpiece of controlled and directed energy. Kickass parts from the track's solo till the end. Inner Self follows up which is a Speed Metal hymn, one of the most famous songs of Sepultura, slower than the title track but good. Stronger than Hate is probably my favorite track. Pure energy and powerful lyrics. Magnificent riffcraft for the biggest parts of the song. Mass Hypnosis is another classic of Speed Metal structuring with excellent melodic parts in the middle of the song. Sarcastic Existance is a piece of delightful headbanging which (along with the last track of the album) are my favorites lyrically. This song deals about war probably and in an excellent manner. Slaves of Pain is possibly my least favorite of the album but still kicks ass (the first half of the song is fucking excellent). Lobotomy is the most progressive attempt in this album and upholds this quite good, containing many riffs and tempo changes. Hungry is a kind of melodic track dealing about social stuff and finally, Primitive Future is an epic, a prognosis of humanity and this world with supreme headbanging intent and top-class lyrics. The album leaves you wanting more...
What can I say? The only reason I give it an 98% is that I just hold the two last ratings (99 and 100) for ultra super fuckin special reasons. I sincerely state that this is the fuckin best thrash-related metal album of all time. I can say that this is my favorite album of metal music. It is perfect in almost every aspect, it literally never slows down, song structures are masterpieces, sometimes they put melodic touch but this whole thing is so fuckin anti-modern that I feel full of fuckin 80's energy every time I listen to this album, even in its melodic moments. It chops in half the dick of everyone claiming that The Haunted Made me Kill Myself and all this Gothentrend shit is thrash-style. Beneath the Remains will teach you (if you are a beginner) what the fuck is thrash. What the fuck thrash was supposed to be.
Riffcraft here is not as necrohellish as is on the previous records of this band but instead show zero intention to sound satanic or occult or metal or shit or whatever the fuck every band hailing from the underground is in fear of not sounding like. This is to their favor because when these kind of things emerge, probably the whole thing is controlled by such ideas and the bands that work like that are kinda immature and are being lead by a lot of underground trends so they lack originality. Believe me MANY bands are like that, especially in the South American Underground, Sepultura are maybe slightly aware that they are getting to be well-known so what they make is not so underground-elitism stuff but they show some mainstream metal influence too, not bad, sometimes this is needed too, blind rejection of the mainstream is ... blind. In a few words, in this time of their career, Sepultura don't give a FUCK about their image but they only care about the music, and this fuckin shows real good in Beneath the Remains. Plus that there's a huge improvement in rythm guitar technique and compelxity.
So... The 80's sadly wave goodbye and give their metal throne to the debatable 90's and Sepultura after conquering, through Cogumelo Records, South America, decide to conquer the world of metal. Scott Burns' production is excellent and if you ask me better in a lot of ways than Arise (my humble opinion). Every instrument is represented like it should be and guitar is not heavy as fuck like arise which kinda ruins the speedy feeling. Igor Cavallera also sounds a lot better here than in Arise. He is fuckin insane and absolutely fuckin precise, sometimes it drives me mad thinking he can burst into thrash rythms any time, EXPLOSIVE fuckin percussion here. Super highlight of the album.
Epilogue: 98%. If you want to show what the fuck metal means to one friend of you, lend him this album but if he accidentaly loses it or destroys it, rape his mother and sacrifice his whole neighborhood to Satan. If you don't have this album, go buy it NOW or die. No, seriously, I can't think of a possible reason why you wont like this album, it represents everything thrash ever stood for and there's nothing fuckin modern to be found here. EVEN if you aren't much into thrash or speed. If you are into these genres and you don't have this album simply you don't know what the fuck you are missing. EXTREMELY recommended to any self-respecting human being that wishes to be called a metalhead (or if he doesn't give a fuck about how will he be called).
Indeed, this is Sepulturas best album hands down. The riff assault of beneath the remains is absolutely crushing. This album is the best thrash fest anyone has attempted, with the most quality riffs being written and thrown down your neck like a cracked out whore being forced to inhale bleach till her death. This album as a whole is a complete riff monster with the speed and technicality that is unmatched by bands that even used “tweak” to aid their writing process and you know who I’m talking about :). And that drumming.. oh my.. Igor’s style, speed, brutality and fierceness really are an act of blitzkrieg pummeling all standing in the way. The bass definitely has its role in this album, bringing a slight side of punkishness along with the fueling of the freight train to its final destination = destruction of your mind. Max’s growls are at their peak of his career with lyrical themes that are generally pretty average. Then again, who needs lyrics of vast importance when all your head hears is the whiplash of your neck as your skull takes out a wall. I could go on about how wet my panties are, but onto the songs.
Nothing is to be thrown away here. From the opener to the end you get a sheer quality amount of riffs that will keep your head banging for a timelessness eon. The opening riff to the title track definitely lets you know this album is out to annihilate you and your babies alike. So many riffs are thrown into the mix it’s absolutely mind boggling how they could fit all of this onto a single album. The solos are a speedy electrocution of all nerve endings amongst your soul; they remain at a furious rate along side of the riffs assuring the consistency of the pace of chaos. The guitar work is all around very nice and full of relevancy; this is DEFINITELY Andreas’s highlight of his career.
The second song really shows Igor’s skills and really shows he deserved his old nickname “Skullcrusher”. The change ups in this song reign abundant with solos of beautiful fast composure showing off the song writing talent of these Brazilian maniacs. A good example of this is in Mass Hypnosis at the 2:43 break you come to the realization you’re nothing but a peon in the midst of the metal gods forcing you to raise your horns to the sky before quickly returning to the overdosed status of rushing adrenaline. Slaves of Pains intro fastens your seatbelt to commence on this rollercoaster that would be one the best thrash songs ever written. The dual riffs of this song make for a lethal combo of “pain” and yes all of you are the slave to it.
Definitely can’t go wrong with the intro to Lobotomy with Igor almost taking over spotlight of riffs overwhelming your eardrums. Ending the album is Primitive Future which gallops along like a headless horseman caused by a riff induced decapitation. This song is one last attempt to paralyze you and succeeds amazingly. It’s very odd that this is the last song with a name that quite possibly is a prediction of what thrash would become after this; even for the authors themselves.
Overall this album provides the heaviest, highest quantity of riffs and greatest technicality to the thrash scene. With a definite unique Brazilian aura and production quality that leaves nothing to be hindered; you can’t go wrong with this album. This is probably my most played thrash album that is nearly impossible to get tired of listening to.
Beneath the MOTHERFUCKING Remains... the highlight of Sepultura's career, and - with the possible exception of a Torture Squad LP - the best thing Brasil has ever put out.
this is a riff-derived album... I say that to mean that this is not a song-based album, where you remember each individual song distinctly - nor is it a concept album where there are a few themes that come up, and those end up being the most memorable. This runs together, unashamedly so... you will remember lots of riffs, each of them pretty fucking distinct... at the very beginning a few assorted noises, and then you are grabbed by the penile vagina, or whatever other genitalia you may choose to have this particular day, thrown into a blender the size of Olympus Mons, and mercilessly beaten about the head and neck for 38 minutes.
But hey, if you want me to name highlights, I would go with the title track, and Slaves of Pain... but also Inner Self, and what a fuckbeast way of ending things with Primitive Future... or maybe Hungry (for pleasure... you act like a robot). Yeah the lyrics aren't really amazing, but I mean they're grunted out as a rhythm instrument to provide a perfect counterpoint to the riffs... check out that staccato in "blame and lies... contradictions arise", and then riff, riff, riff, riff, riff. Hell, even when Max is unintentionally hilarious (mass hippie-nosis!) he's pretty damn good. Such a contrast with when he would blow cocks later (Chaos AD... suck on the street!)
This is pretty much Schizophrenia Part II, except this time with better production... this album literally never slows down, it just thrashes fuck from chimpan A to chimpan Z. I've listened to this album about 8 and a half trillion times, and sometimes I still can't individually discern the songs, but play me ten seconds of this album and I will recognise it correctly: "oh, this is Sepultura's finest moment, am I right?"
Yeah, they really got this one right... there is not a single moment on this album when you are not getting skullfucked with a spike, and that's how brutal thrash is supposed to operate. Fuck, I mean they even threw in the Under the Blade riff (2:11, title track) - I mean any LP that rips off that riff (see also: Feel the Fire and Breaking the Silence) can't be bad, right? No, of course not. This isn't bad. This is electric fuck - the pinnacle of a band's creative accomplishment, before they sorta slipped (Arise) and then utterly fell off a fucking cliff (everything after that).
In short... the universe is a midget, and this album rapes it so hard that Stephen Hawking learns how to walk again. And that's all I have to say about that.
This album is pretty action packed: filled with speed and aggression. There’s definitely both hits and misses on this album. Before I begin, I would say that I would rate this album lower than I did personally, because I’m not all that big of a fan of the vocals, it’s too choppy, and Cavelera really doesn’t get creative behind a mic, but I know that most people like his vocals, so I’m rating this how I think I would, should I like Cavalera’s vocal capabilities.
Fast, a lot of time changes, a lot of tempo changes, some creativity, and some repetitiveness displayed. Pretty good thrash though. Drums are so-so, the guitarist I think had a lot to contribute to the album. Seems to have a lot of ideas and creativity to make songs interesting. The bassist, as far as I could hear, really didn’t do anything special, but that’s okay, it doesn’t subtract much from the quality of the album. All in all, this album's definitely a keeper.
Long song-by-song version:
Beneath the Remains, the first song, is so-so, there’s just this part that occurs a couple times where he grunts and it echoes, and it really sounds like shit. It really distracted me from the beauty of the rest of the song. It was definitely a well-written song, I give them that. Everything’s right on the dot, nobody misses a beat, and that’s something to aspire to in thrash, to be crazy, but tight, not sloppy.
I really liked the intro to the second song, with the guitar starting out, then double bass kicking in rhythm. Not super fast or amazing by any means, but it sounds pretty damn good. It’s not nearly as balls-out as the first song, they certainly toned down the speed and thrash. Towards the end it picks up a bit, though.
The fourth song, Mass Hypnosis, has an intro that really reminds me of Metallica, that is before it kicks in with some pretty fast double bass. (The double bass was just a tad bit sloppy), but it still sounded good. This song isn’t bad at all. Paying attention to it, they make good use of song structure and time changes. They got really creative with the song and made something that really works. A whole spectrum of speed and style is displayed in this song. Parts are fast, some slow, some aggressive, some melodic. I really enjoyed listening to this one.
Sarcastic Existence is really pretty generic, until about halfway through, then the double bass is let loose. The time changes and musical style thereafter definitely make the song worth mention.
Slaves of Pain has an AWESOME guitar riff for an intro. A great lead into a mid-tempo groove before they kick into high gear. The drummer didn’t fare too well about forty seconds into the song. Sounds like he wasn’t sure what he was going to do, but he wanted to pull off something cool and had a sight mess up in a fill. The song really is pretty cool. The guitarist does some showing off, which is great. I feel that the song does get a bit repetitive. Still can’t say much about the vocals, still doin the same old shit.
Lobotomy has kind of a cool intro. Starts with a 5/4 beat with guitars accompanying the drums, before it goes to 4/4 time. I’m probably going to interpret this wrong, what with my limited knowledge of music theory, but it sounds like it alternates from an 11/12 to a 6/6 a few times to end the intro. Whatever it is, it sounds well written and is definitely creative. This song really is a change from the others. All of the others, although different, almost sound generic, respective to sepulture, not thrash in general. This isn’t necessarily a good thing. Take for example about 3 minutes into the song, the drummer does a 2/4 beat with the guitar just strumming with every on/off beat. Not impressive at all.
Hungry had some good parts. Nothing really reached out and grabbed my attention, that was a bummer.
And finally, Primitive Future. GREAT INTRO! Fast and furious. No doubtedly compelled thousands to beat the fuck out of each other in the mosh pits. The whole song really is really pretty fast. The guitar does some heavy riffing in this song, the drummer goes nuts with the bassist following right behind. As nerdy as this sounds, this song brought a smile to my face. It was just a perfect closing for the album, the final farewell, heavy as fuck.
Well that’s it, I hope you enjoyed reading my review, regardless of what you think of the album. It was a pleasure to write this for all you fellow metal-heads \m/
What the fuck was I doing these past years? Something surely went wrong, since I somehow missed the brilliance of Sepultura and have only discovered it lately. Beneath The Remains is one of those albums that you buy/download/whatever and then it doesn't leave your CD player for days or even weeks. I usually don't practice that, but it seems I can't get tired of this one.
After the great Schizophrenia, I was a bit sceptic about it's successor. I was thinking: ''Ah fuck, it can't get better than Schizo. I will just have to settle with something worse...''. But NO, Sepultura actually released a record which was equally good to Schizophrenia, if not even better. And not only that the quality was still here, the basic ideas were actually really close to the ones one it's predecessor, they were just upgraded to a higher level.
The riff ideas actually stayed the same, they just got a bit more developed. There are still a lot of mosh riffs and one not riffs, along with tons of triplets and other stuff like that. I wouldn't really say that there are more riffs here than on Schizophrenia, but something is certain: only the best ones were picked out for the songs, since there aren't any bad riffs on this record. Kisser's leads and solos are still frenetic and just a bit chaotic, staying mostly at simple scales. BUT, simple as they are, his solos are absolutely amazing. Once again, I was totally blown away by one of his solos. As it's the case in To The Wall from Schizo, Andreas' solo on Mass Hypnosis is easily one of the 10 best solos in metal ever played.
The vocals are still raspy, a little bit growly and aggressive, if maybe a bit more controlled than on previous records. Bass really isn't that audible but one really doesn't miss it with so much other stuff going on at the same time. Drums are quite diverse and there's not much more endles THUNK THUNK THUNKING to be heard. The lyrics have changed from still a bit adolescent ''evil'' lyrics on first two full lenghts, to fairly good texts mostly about politics and society.
The highlights: all of them, but if I would have to pick I would say: Inner Self, Mass Hypnosis (check out that riff and the solo - probably the best Sepultura song ever) and Slaves Of Pain, for it's great pre-chorus and actually for the whole song.
You should realy get th... Shit, I promised I would change my closing sentenses :/ Hum, what to say. Oh, yes, the skull on the cover advises you to get this or you will forevermore have to listen to Soulfly albums.
Beneath the Remains is a very under-rated album by a very under-rated band. Sepultura is a Brazilian thrash band in the vein of Slayer and Testament(Both bands I whom I highly recommend.).Alot of people see Sepultura as a band with very little talent, that doesn't compare to bands like Slayer and Metallica, but I beg to differ. And that's what makes the U.S. great, freedom of speech. Anyway I think that as musicians they lack musicianship compared to bands like Slayer and Morbid Angel. That's just not where Sepultura's abilities lie. Sepultura's talents are their abilities as composers. Take for example Andreas Kisser, his guitar solos always seem to fit almost perfectly in every song. They are melodic, written in classical scales, and fast just like the rest of Sepultura's music. Andreas's riffs are real head movers to. They are just so catchy yet brutal, they are Slayerish but more sludgy/groovy. If these riffs don't get your head banging you must be paralyzed. The most moshable tracks are probably "Inner Self", and "Primitive Future" witch is probably the most energetic song on the album.
Next we have Igor Cavalera who just pulverizes his drum kit. He pounds those things with all his might, and creates thunderous sounds that Zeus would be jealous of. He is also pretty tight. Most drummers don't catch my attention because I usually focus on the guitars. But Igor is just so loud, and and his technique is so catchy my attention is just swayed over to him alot of the time. If I was a drummer this is what I would sound like.
There's really not much to the lyrics they are the same old tongue in cheek anti-war lyrics you get from many a metal band. But Max Cavalera(Brother of Igor.) the vocalist/rythm guitarist has a very strong, and masculine voice, and you know he means buisness.
This album is near perfect it's heavy as all hell(This must sink in.), there is no filler, and almost no throw away riffs/lyrics. Despite all that, it lacks originality so I can't give it a 100% rating. But I can say this, if you're a fan of brutal thrash at all, you must give this a trial listen.
Highlight tracks include: "Beneath the Remains ", "Inner Self", "Lobotomy", and "Primitive Future".
How do you begin to describe an indescribable experience? In one almighty slab of a metal landmark, Sepultura created the near perfect thrash album. Thick, aggressive guitars, gargantuan drums, the perfect mix of all things metal.
1989 was a landmark year for thrash metal. A generation of Metalli–clones was dominating the scene, and death metal was just starting to rear its pustulant head. Thrash was on the verge of being written off. Suddenly, a typhoon of immense proportions swept out of the over crowded slums of Brazil. The impact "Beneath The Remains" made on the metal world is near on impossible to comprehend now, but it was like a force 12 hurricane on the Beaufort scale, a magnitude 10 earthquake on the Richter scale, a huge asteroid crashing into the Earth. OK, so it was only one album, and there were probably about five billion people in the world who had never heard of Sepultura, but in terms of metal, it was really big!
It may seem hard to believe, but this one album revitalised faith in thrash to still deliver killer albums. Harnessing the power of Slayer, the muscle of Metallica at their peak, the aggression of hardcore, and touches of many other influences from Black Sabbath to Celtic Frost to Dead Kennedys, Sepultura seemed to have hit upon the perfect recipe to take metal into the 1990s. This took Slayer's "Reign In Blood" to the next level.
All still in their teens when the album was recorded, it was amazing to hear such maturity from such an unexpected source. Brazil had produced a grand total of zero metal bands of international note before Sepultura. While English was only a second language to a young Max Cavalera, he showed excellent mastery of dark themes, while keeping things relatively simple and to the point. The lyric sheet is not really good reading if you're looking for something to cheer you up. His rhythm guitar playing is also outstanding. Andreas Kisser's leads were original for a time when lead guitar players were either ripping off Kerry King or Kirk Hammett. Igor Cavalera's drumming is incredibly accurate and aggressive. Paolo's bass is not really audible for much of the album, but it provides a rock solid sub–sonic foundation for the whirlwind of noise created above.
Slipping on this album is like meeting an old friend after spending months surrounded by assholes you can't stand. Every track has its distinctive familiar character, instantly recognisable when you hear it. The acoustic introduction to the title track, the solos on "Sarcastic Existence", the opening riff on "Slaves Of Pain", Max shouting "Mass Hypnosis". All provide metallic nirvana, a veritable musical orgasm, a feast of sonic pleasure.
Yep, when the rest of the world has gone to shit, "Beneath The Remains" is still there, like a thrash metal security blanket.
You have to wonder what happened between Schizophrenia, a thrash masterpiece, and this album, which is as mediocre as they get.
Schizophrenia had riffs that slew. Beneath the Remains is full of riffs that I've heard a zillion times on other thrash albums. And for an album released in 1989, that's not a good thing. This album is full of the oh-so-typical dundundundun-du-da-du riffs, with the various songs having various variations thereof. The guitars are accompanied by the same sort of drumming that typified the drumming on Schizophrenia, only this time because of the lack of intense and interesting guitar-riffs, it's a mis on the hit-or-mis scale. The vocals still carry part of the intensity that the vocals on the previous album had, the intensity of a group of people in a desolate place desperately seeking a way out, but apparently the possible real-life breakthrough abroad at that time adversely affected this. I miss the madness in the music, the raw emotion, I miss something as epic as the Inquisition Symphony. I miss the attitude the liner notes on this re-release speak of.
It's not all bad, and in all honesty this Sepultura album is moderately better than the 'average' thrash album, but only marginally so. The album just goes right past me after I put it on. It doesn't seperate itself from other thrash. The album, like each song seperately, lacks it's own atmosphere. It's such a huge dissapointment for a band that released both Arise and Schizophrenia. I can't blame the crispier production, as they thankfully found themselves again on the next release.
Welcome to SEPULTURA 101. This is THE quintessential thrash metal album of the 1980’s. By 1989, the thrash metal movement was at the peak of its power. And Sepultura were right on top of the whole scene, four young, hungry guys from Brazil for whom being the undisputed kings of metal in their own country wasn’t enough – they were out to conquer the whole world!
The band consisted of Max Cavalera on rhythm guitar and vocals, Andreas Kisser on lead guitar, Paulo Jr. on bass, and Igor Cavalera on drums. What amazes me the most while listening to brutal yet technically perfect riffs on this album, is that the oldest member of the band, Andreas, was only 21 at the time it was released!
Anyway, onto the album… In a nutshell, it’s perfect. The gentle yet haunting intro to the title track soon gives way to vicious thrash riffing by the guitar duo of Max and Andreas, and those two don’t stop until the very end!!! The songs are cruel, fast – but at the same time they don’t show that primordial ugliness that was loved by some and hated by others on their previous efforts (“Bestial Devastation” in ‘85, “Morbid Visions” in ’86 and “Schizophrenia” in ’87). To some extent, this can be contributed to the fact that this was the band’s first album with Roadrunner and they were able to get a producer that knew what he was doing – Scott Burns. Some even go as far as saying that this was their “sellout” album, as Sepultura abandoned death metal – a genre they helped discover – and dived head-first into thrash. But the reader is free to make his/her own judgment – I’ll just say that Sepultura were never about staying in one place. When they felt they exhausted their artistic creativity in one genre, they went into uncharted territories.
But let the music speak for itself – and trust me, it can! If you’re not head-banging violently by the middle of the first song, there is a strong possibility you’re wearing a neck-brace. One of the most appealing things about Sepultura for me was the feeling of “completeness” I got from their songs. Unlike many other thrash bands at the time, they never abandoned a riff after three seconds to move onto the next riff, just to dump it for the next one. They let the listener fully enjoy the juiciness of the riff in all its glory, never losing any of the power and speed. Many a time, just as you’d think the song has nowhere to go anymore and your neck is about to break if he keeps it up, the band changes tempo completely and Andreas bursts into a beautiful yet crushing solo, or builds momentum until the next sonic attack.
The lyrics are nothing to write home about, though – which can be forgiven, since the band didn’t really know English that well, and so wrote some pretty standard cliché apocalyptic anthems. It would change pretty soon, though, as Sepultura would later delve into the world of social injustices and inner struggle. In that sense, “Inner Self” is a sign of things to come.
Highlights: Well, all of them! But if I was forced to choose, I’d say “Inner Self” – which is my 2nd favorite Sepultura track ever, and “Mass Hypnosis”, thanks to the godly guitar solo from Andreas.
Final verdict: If you like thrash, this album should already be in your collection. If you’re curious, THIS is the place to start. If you don’t care about thrash at all, you should still buy it, because it’s that damn good!