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Sepultura kicks it into high fucking gear here, issuing their edict that THIS is how to play heavy fucking metal, and ya know what, I'm game, I'll listen. This is 1986, where pretty much thrash comes to a boil, and both the good and the bad aspects of it are polarised and appear in mass quantities... I won't dwell on the bad (let's just say that it is anally expelled by Danish trolls), but note the good. Pleasure to Kill. Reign in Blood. Darkness FUCKING Descends. The unholy trinity...
And then, just on their heels as far as influence, and completely as good, is this album... similar to the second Possessed, in that it's not nearly as out-there as the album (or EP) that preceded it, but still competely extreme and still completely fucking metal. This is pretty much straight-up thrash metal, a la Schizophrenia, but with the death-metal necro vestiges of Bestial Devastation sometimes quite prevalent, mainly in the production values and also the occasional off-kilter drumwork (those toms are mixed rather loud). The production kinda blows ass, being neither here (necrotic chainsaw-gougings in the vaginal region, a la Bestial Devastation) or there (precise bludgeoning trauma wounds to the neck and face, a la Schizophrenia), but the riffage is top notch.
Songwriting follows a basic style... similar to the EP in that just about every song is fast, then slow, then fast again - the thrash breaks are very crisp and very clean and very overt, and Nuclear Assault is the only other band I can think of that drops to 50-75% speed this consistently and this effectively. Throw in Max's narration - he says "thrash!!!" in at least three songs, and we've squarely identified the genre.
Highlights... War is basically a sloppier version of Escape to the Void (especially in the pattern of the vocal delivery), and Mayhem has that nifty middle break, which is probably the best of all of them out here... Morbid Visions has a damn catchy four-note riff that comes in just enough times to leave you wanting more...
Some of the songs sound really damn similar - check out the intros of Troops of Doom and Funeral Rites for example. Troops of Doom, incidentally, is not all that different from the Schizo version, other than the production values. Both are raging thrash beastfucks of the highest order.
And yes, Crucifixion does have a random silly Latin passage... and that final outro to Empire of the Damned is just plain hilarious - but hey, they were 17, they can't be blamed for not having any idea of what is correct... this album doesn't sound very much like anything else out there, and for that they must be commended. Staple thrash metal. Along with the next two LPs by this band, and maybe even the one after that, this one is recommended.