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So, this is where Sepultura started (actually, it was the Bestial Devastation EP, but that would be another review). Before they got into the thrash assault of later albums, the teenagers Max, Igor, Paulo and Jairo wrote fast and evil sounding compositions that took all the good stuff that was in Hell Awaits (i.e. all of it) and made it more insane and uncontrolled. Despite the quality on future releases, they could never match this except for Beneath the Remains which is different in style but still very fucking good.
The main thing that differs from all the later Sep albums is the evil as fuck vibe that makes you feel that you're wandering alone in a cemetery on a misty night with church bells tolling on the background. Some may say that the production here sucks, but again their mothers could have been on coke while pregnant which ocasionated their offspring to start talking at the age of 12 and later become Skylark fans. So that you know, the production values here are PERFECT (think Seven Churches with Darkthrone tweaking the knobs) and keep the rawness and the atmosphere of the songs the way it should be.
All the songs here range from good to fucking excellent, but my personal choices would be the title track, "War", "Crucifixion" (I never thought that the latin spoken part on the middle had very much sense, but that's a minor complain) and "Funeral Rites", which is similar to the more known "Troops of Doom" only way much better. Sepultura later re-recorded "Troops" and made it thrashier and more technical but lacking the evil feel and the vibe that is the single most important thing about this album.
If you consider something worthy of being titled "metalhead", or like anything that has to do with the word "rule", then get this NOW!