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The discount bin is loaded with tales of disposable cash grabs under the guise of best of compilations that have become obsolete in the wake of their owners realizing that heavy metal is the law, and thus seek out the studio offerings of their past. Never has there been a clearer example of a compilation album that could quickly become obsolete than this smattering of old and new Sepultura plainly titled “The Best Of”. It’s set up in traditional chronological form, though solidifying its status as a safer, commercially friendly version of the band as it avoids their more primitive death metal roots manifested in “Morbid Visions” and “Schizophrenia”. Sure the band may be much better known as an elite thrash metal power house that later went the way of the decrepit groove, but a truly good compilation educates the newcomer of all the buyer’s potential purchasing options, and this does no such thing.
Naturally the first half of this is far superior to the second in every possible way, owing it being in a far superior style that typified the greatness of the late 80s version of extreme metal. “Troops Of Doom” is something of a thrashing holdover from the band’s proto-death metal days in the mid 80s, mostly listening like thrash metal, but is heavily influenced by the Slayer approach to tremolo riffing and chromatic scale usage that was more indicative of bands that came a little later and defined the death sound, such as Morbid Angel and Cannibal Corpse. This song would be a lone reason to get this album if it wasn’t also on the re-released version of “Schizophrenia”, which is probably the album it fits in the most with rather than accompanying the more restrained, slower thrash metal of “Arise”, which had two singles with the song as a b-side.
“Beneath The Remains” and “Inner Self” are both classic thrash staples, born from that late 80s age of massive riff sets that displayed the style at its most technically oriented. The vocal delivery is a little less guttural than the one heard on the band’s first two albums, but is still quite gravely and avoids anything resembling melodic singing as typified by Blitz Ellsworth and Joey Belladonna. The material from “Arise” varies a bit more and comes off as more of a mature and restrained version of their late 80s speed crazed thrash magnum opus. The riffs are still very animated, and in the case of the title track, the speed is definitely still there, but what results bears more similarity to albums such as “Oppressing The Masses” and “Souls Of Black” than technical blazers such as “Eternal Nightmare” or “Time Does Not Heal”.
Sadly this compilation elects to take the obligatory route to its logical conclusion and includes the two commercial abortions that followed “Arise”, electing to sully the good name of a band that has been legally dead for 13 years one more time to remind all who listen that the original four that made up this band were capable of fucking up a cup of coffee if they thought there’d be more popularity in it for them. The songs from “Chaos A.D.” are less terrible as they are comical, riding off of 2 note groove douching while trying to pretend that they are still playing thrash, just like a dunce who goes around telling everyone that he knows everything and then proceeds to fail at everything he does. The material on here from “Roots”, on the other hand, is where things stop being funny and start getting painful, Much like transitioning from some of the more childishly funny moments from a George Carlin standup talking about never seeing anyone while running at full speed, to some retard from the CKY movies actually doing it on camera in a piss poor attempt at being funny. Whether it’s the gimpy girlie shout fest “Roots, Bloody Roots”, the muddy Korn tribute “Attitude”, or the tribal gibberish Dadaism of “Ratamahatta”, it all offends the ears in a way that no human being should ever be forced to experience.
Although I do have to say that I did get my $3 worth as I enjoyed all of the earlier stuff on here and have yet to pick up my own permanent copy of “Beneath The Remains” (something that I will remedy in the near future to complete my collection of their early works), I can not condone this sort of thing being bought with actual money. If you really like thrash and death metal, you would at least have the decency to own one or two of the first four albums in their entirety. I guess I can’t be too hard on myself since I paid so little for it, but I pity the poor sucker who bought this at full price and then likely sold it off for half of what he paid for it.