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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!