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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!!!"