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I admit it was Beneath the remains and Arise, that got me into this band. I have been a very keen fan ever since, and even though they took a much different direction in the 90's, their debut seemed so alien in sound that, surprisingly it made me wonder if this was a different band by the same name. Don't get me wrong it's still thrash, it's still got a lot of "Sepultura" signiature to it, but it's much less inspiring and much more immature. Yes Sepultura were young, you could say they were in their embryonic stages, but this album wreaks of inexperience and haste.
Despite it's many shortfalls this album has some good qualities. For example it has that primitive black metal feel to it, speed infused with something much darker on offer in the thrash scene. Hey I guess you could say they were quite ahead of the curb, but ultimately Sodom would master this speed/black sound. Max Calvara's vocals serve the album well, every word spat with searing venom. I think Sepultura were much more influenced by bands like Celtic Frost or Hell Hammer at this point. Yeah they put on the bullet belts and looked the part, but one simply can't slap the "thrash" sticker on this record, because it has a lot of sounds thrown in a blender.
But there are way, way too many downsides. Like the guitars. They simply haven't been tuned properly, I kid you not. These guys went into a studio, whisked through the songs, put it all to tape, and they forgot to tune the guitars properly? I ask myself how? Even a young band shouldn't make that mistake. I'm sure Max and co have a good old laugh about it now, but my god does it make the album irritating to listen to. Yes there are good riffs here and there of course, but the sound is just terrible. Guitars aside, the whole album sounds terrible. It just sounds like it's been recorded on a tape in some bathroom in Brazil, then buried in the jungle for 50 years. Not good.
Morbid visions is one of the catchiest songs, maybe alongside troops of doom. The others just sound as though they tried too hard. I mean it's like they have tried their hardest to be extreme and against the grain, but it's just cliched. The lyrics, the songs...EVERYTHING. I mean look at song titles like: Crucifixion, Antichrist, Necromancer, Warriors of death. It's almost they have rushed into the whole process and said: "Yeah! Let's write songs about satan and death!" Maybe they really didn't give a toss. If it sounded too familair or too cliched, then it was tough. But if somebody who didn't listen to thrash, picked up this album, all their stereotypical fears about thrash would be realized.
First time I heard this I could barely keep awake, although I have to admit there are moments of real clarity. I can understand why it may have caught people's attention at the time of its release as well. Hey, all of a sudden Brazil were pumping out more extreme thrash than Germany and San Francisco, so who wouldn't notice? In one sense it serves a certain purpose. A band of young metal heads, reaching out, trying to satisfy the extreme needs of other younger metal heads. No matter how old you get, how mature you become in adult life, you can't help but admire that. When all is said and done, that what it is about, the more impressionable the band, the more of a different route the metal scene takes. But despite the sentiment, the album is just short of innovating, even for 1986. But it isn't about being the most original band that ever surfaced. It just sounds boring and awful, with something cool or interesting here and there.