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Moving on with the times. - 87%

hells_unicorn, July 28th, 2013

For all of the highly individual elements that Sarcofago has exhibited since Antichrist left Sepultura and started this twisted marriage of black, death and thrash metal, this band has actually proven itself to be very cognizant of the changing musical horizons of the day. Their sound was unto itself unprecedented when compared to most, but it was still possessed of a foundation that was built off the precedents set by Wagner's first band, along with the earliest purveyors of extreme metal in Bathory, Celtic Frost, Possessed, Sodom and company. But with the onset of the 90s a lot of these bands had either folded their tents or branched into other sounds, and Sarcofago found themselves changing with the flock, albeit to a lesser extent, and thus "The Laws Of Scourge" stands as one of their finest, but also one of their more commonplace offerings.

The overall vibe of this album is pretty well in conjunction with the slightly more Bay Area informed mode of death/thrash that Kreator and Sepultura had dabbled with on "Coma Of Souls" and "Arise" respectively, informed a little bit by some similar sounding acts out of the Florida death scene as well. With this has come a lot less of a black metal aesthetic to the overall atmosphere, largely culminating in a handful of isolated keyboard sections that actually sound a bit closer to the dabbling of a few early 90s death metal acts than the overt mysticism of the later melodic black metal scene which used them to a far greater extent. This is largely an album that relies on force of impact, crushing the listener's will with pummeling riff sections and wild lead guitar gymnastics, essentially translating the insanity of late 80s Vio-Lence and Forbidden into a death/thrash context.

In a similar manner to a number of extremely advanced and technical thrash albums coming out of Northern California, things have a tendency to go long and are deeply involved. Even a slower, plodding growl fest like "Midnight Queen" is more indicative of a rapid changing Bay Area song with a slower tempo and a slight death/doom tendency to the overall feel of things. But for the most part, this thing drives along with the speed and intensity of a pure thrash slaughter, including such riveting festivals of horror and mayhem as "Piercings" and "Screeches From The Silence" which set most of the agenda for this album. There are also some shorter and more straight up high tempo cruisers like "The Black Vomit" (a hold over from the band's mid 80s demo days) and the title song definitely make an impressive run of things and offer a reminder of the simpler origins of this outfit, but even they are presented in a more overtly early 90s character and the latter occasionally wanders into Morbid Angel territory at a few key points.

It's a bit curious that while most bands tend to evolve by incorporating newer influences, this band ended up doing so by cutting away some of their formative ones while augmenting others, almost as if pruning a tree. Apart from the busier lead guitar sections, which are definitely indicative of an early 90s thrash influence and the slightly greater frequency of blast beat sections, this doesn't really venture too far out of the context that this band has always existed in. The overall production quality is a bit sleeker, resulting in a more powerful guitar crunch that definitely ups the ante in terms of aggression and heaviness, but it's not difficult to isolate the mid 80s death/thrash influences that continue to linger on here, much as they did for Sepultura on their two more purely thrash oriented albums "Beneath The Remains" and "Arise". It's tough to go wrong with this band, but this definitely stands as one of their most impressive albums, and definitely a good pickup for anyone who likes death/thrash that leaned a bit more towards the latter half of the hybrid.

A Milestone of Brutality - 99%

fetalfeast, December 6th, 2009

I know that I can be pretty critical- Entombed just doesn't tickle my fancy, Obituary is average at best to me, and I still can't stand Beherit. That being said, you can kind of see that when I say an album is my favorite, I mean it. This is that album.

I first heard the song Crush, Kill, Destroy on an unofficial Myspace, and I found it an enjoyable listen. One day, curiosity took hold and I just HAD to purchase this album. I'm glad I did. From the start of the title track, right up to the very end, I was captivated.

From the very beginning, I was exposed to a guitar tone that I can only describe as orgasmic- it combines the trademark "buzzsaw" tone of the Swedeath of that time, and the Suffocation-style crunchy bass-rich sound. It fits the production quality perfectly, and it really sets the mood for the album. The drum lines are simple, but effective: blasts are performed with remarkable accuracy, and fills seem marvelously loose, like they were improvised on the spot. Normally this would be a bad thing, but the skill of the drummer, combined with the rawness of the music, just adds to the good.

I'm also a sucker for bass guitar, especially when I can hear it. Here, it shines-I can hear it perfectly, and it meshes beautifully with the guitar. It is definately one of the better examples of bass guitar in all of extreme metal. The vocals are also effective- they are very appropriate to the mix and add to the overall feeling of the album.

If I had to choose one song off the album to analyze closely, it would be Piercings. This is easily my favorite song on the album. There are so many things that are right about this song- the riff is memorable, the solo-ish lick at the beginning is fantastic, especially when it melts into the double-kick rhythm. The tremolo-blast part in the middle is as intense as it needs to be, and the song never lets up. A masterpiece if I do say so myself.

If you haven't already heard this album, it is a must-listen for anyone who claims to be a death or thrash metal fan. It was ahead of its time then, and it's still miles ahead of most of the "BR00T4LITY" we see today. It's classic technicality, with taste and some soul crushing added in to the mix. Go forth and listen.

Goodish...but the Black/thrash influences are gone - 77%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, August 26th, 2008

Most of the bands that played a raw form of death/black metal in the 80s somehow changed their style in the 90s. It happened for Sepultura, Kreator, Sodom and to Sarcofago too. Their I.N.R.I. is still nowadays regarded as a milestone in black/thrash metal and as one of the most extreme examples of brutal music back in the 80s. Their following Rotting already showed some more thrash metal oriented riffs and less will to destroy everything, displaying their growth in technique and songwriting. Anyway, to me I.N.R.I. is still the best album in their discography.

This third album, The Laws of Scourge, marks a further separation from the primordial black/thrash of the debut to embrace more thrash influences. Everything remains quite raw anyway, but the band had chosen a less impulsive approach to the music and the structures now are a bit more complex (they are not a technical thrash metal band anyway!) and full of more various riffs. The main problem is that when I.N.R.I. sounded refreshing in its sheer brutality, this The Laws of Scourge doesn’t manage to keep always my attention even if they grew as musicians…

It’s not a bad album, not at all and it contains good songs but some parts are a bit too weak and sound tired. Maybe it’s because of the production, that is a bit sloppy for the guitars but some parts still don’t convince me even if I’ve listened to this CD many times. Let’s start from the title track that is one of the most representative ones here. Already from here you can listen to the first thrash metal riffs while the most brutal parts come with the blast beats sections. These are just quite short and the band prefers the up tempo to accompany the music.

The same thing can be said for the following “Piercings” but this time the blast beats parts are longer. The guitars are not excellent here and too many riffs-fillers manage to transform the sound in a boring one, like the following “Midnight Queen”. The doom parts are way too long even if the refrain is very good and simple. The vocals by Wagner are less brutal and raspier in tonality but less growlish and in “Screeches from the Silence” they reach high tonalities too. To notice the use of some keyboards parts to maintain a darker sound. In I.N.R.I. they didn’t need those keyboards and with this I said everything.

“Prelude to a Suicide”, “Secrets of a Window” and “Little Julie” are basically mid-paced songs and they are quite boring. The arpeggios parts are far better but forget the old school brutality. It’s a pity because “The Black Vomit” and “Crush, Kill, Destroy” are better even if the mid-paced parts and the more technical and melodic solos are always behind the corner. Anyway, these songs are able to give me a good dose of early black/thrash violence in some parts while soon they fall into the almost pure thrash metal. Overall, I cannot see all this goodness in this release. It’s a goodish effort but nothing special to me, honestly.

The following album would have been a bit too chaotic while this one marks some heavy thrash influences. What really bothered me are the tasteless, boring mid-paced parts. They are mostly fillers while the fastest tracks are better.

A Must Have - 95%

anathematized_one, December 28th, 2006

This album is a must have for fans of thrash metal, death metal, or black metal. It seems nobody listens to any other albums by Sarcófago other than their INRI album, and all the others, especially this one, goes unoticed.

This album has a few ups on their previous releases with a much better production quality. The music is also a bit more technical. Every song on this album is different and every song is catchy. Think Obituary - Slowly We Rot style vocals with a little more grunt to them. Very good death/thrash style guitar work and some amazing drums. There is really no reason to hate this album. It isn't repetative, so it doesn't get boring and the music is good (whether it is your style or not).

The only thing bad about this album really is when Wagner Lamounier attempts to do the high pitched screams. Don't worry though, there are only two of them.

Enjoyable Thrash Metal - 75%

Scissors, February 1st, 2006

I have yet to hear Sarcofago's legendary earlier work, but I doubt this comes close to that. There is not much death or black metal influence on this album. It's basically a straight up thrash album. The vocals are yelly in nature and occasionally there's a death growl thrown in there. Some pretty good riffs over all on this album. There is some keyboard on this album, which is rare in thrash metal, but it fits well and adds some melody to the music. The production quality is very clean. There is nothing outstanding on this album, but it is enjoyable for the occasional listen. Fans of thrash will like this album. If you liked Sarcofago for their blackened deathness, forget this album.