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Whirlwinds of the Mighty Riff! - 95%

JamesIII, February 1st, 2010

Growing up there were few bands I worshipped more than Sepultura. Naturally that sentiment revolves completely around their first four albums, which I had discovered backwards from my introduction to the band, the bland "Chaos A.D." After adding "Beneath the Remains" to my collection, I seriously thought things couldn't get any better. Then I discovered "Schizophrenia," the band's second proper release and a highly noticable upgrade over the visceral yet immature "Morbid Visions."

I don't usually get ahead of myself when reviewing certain albums or bands, but Sepultura is one of those exceptions. I realize there are some bands who might have done things better than Sepultura (like another Brazilian band I keep hearing about called Torture Squad) but I have yet to hear them. In my opinion, which is sometimes considering blasphemy by metal's inner circles, but this album beats out "Reign In Blood" in terms of memorability and sheer aggression.

Some of the key ingredients to this new and improved band would be the upgraded performances of all of the musicians and songwriting process. The sound quality still isn't perfect, it persists with a raw flavor that keeps some of the more polished fans away from this kind of thrash metal. Yet as Igor Cavalera shakes your house off its foundation, Andreas Kisser and Max Cavalera conjure up a whirlwind of riffs that bitch slaps you merciessly into oblivion. Yes, this is exactly what you want out of a thrash metal album, and some of these songs are also memorable and pretty easy to recall, which only works to the band's advantage. As an added bonus, Cavalera's
proto-death vocals on this album are powerful, even more so than the slightly toned down version of it that we would hear on "Beneath the Remains."

One example of a destructive forces conjured up by thrash is "From the Past Comes the Storm." This song forced the American thrashers of the 80's to pay attention to this band, and destroys almost anything that came out around this time period with its buzzsaw riffs. It remains one of my favorite Sepultura songs, and for good reason. Not all are equally powerful, though none of these are anything close to bad. Some stand-outs would also include the grooving "To the Wall," the aggressive "Escape to the Void" and the remake of the Sepultura classic, "Troops of Doom." You are even treated to a long yet sufficient instrumental in "Inquisition Symphony," which has been covered by some but never will they emulate the greatness of the original. You also get a short acoustic interlude in "The Abyss," which is basically the calm before the storm in the closer "Rest In Pain."

Bottom line, you need this album. It is actually better in some ways than "Beneath the Remains," with the exception of sound quality. I personally like Cavalera's vocal performance here the best of all he's done, perfectly blending thrash and death vocal styles into one. The lyrics aren't all that great, given that the band was still learning to speak English and not incredible lyric writers at the time. Regardless, this is an essential album for thrash fans and one of the very best Sepultura have ever put out. Every time you're forced to endure more of the drivel the modern incarnation of this band puts out, reach for "Schizophrenia" and send that hardcore crap back to the dump.