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Watch out for the beasts of son of EVIL! - 88%

colin040, May 26th, 2019

In a way the pre-Andreas Kisser era of Sepultura reminds me of what Hellhammer was compared to Celtic Frost – meaning we’re dealing with a band that tried to sound as dark and heavy as possible and ended up influencing plenty of extreme metal bands to come.

Bestial Devastation has what I like to call that blasphemous Brazilian thing going on - if ‘’Antichrist’’ doesn’t sound like the inspiration source for all those blasphemous goat worshipping black/death metal bands that appeared years later, then I don’t know what does. With those grinding riffs and blastbeats banging against each other it’s certainly ahead of its time. What’s interesting is how certain mid paced moments on this EP seem quite Celtic Frost inspired which you couldn’t say about Sepultura’s later works. ‘’Necromancer’’ is easily the most groove-y track the band had written in the 80’s and relies on a huge behemoth of a main riff before the track speeds the hell up. ‘’Warriors of Death’’ falls somewhere between Possessed and Celtic Frost where Max has no chorus to fall back on while the title track demonstrates a young Max barking at his frenzied that even the slower sections end up sounding like total mayhem.

What strikes me as odd is how Bestial Devastation sounds somewhat superior to its successor. Morbid Visions had a buzzsaw guitar tone not unlike Hellhammer, but here the guitars sound downright heavy and dare I say death metal-like. I know the guitars aren’t exactly in tune here, but to me that’s more of an unintended strength than anything else. By the time you hear that melodic solo in ‘’Warriors of Death’’, it’s clear even the prettiest sounds on Bestial Devastation come off more morbid and messed up than what one expect. The vocals too, are quite something. This is before Max developed that one dimensional shout or sounded like a pissed off bushman like he did on Schizophrenia. Here he roars like a demonic being with great effect; the amount of reverb on his voice really helps and unlike Morbid Visions he doesn’t sound rushed but more grounded instead.

So yes, Bestial Devastation is a great EP. That goofy growled introduction is quite something and the cover artwork reminds me of that final battle of Yoshi's Island (the SNES game if anyone wonders), but otherwise this is some serious great evil stuff of a once great band.

Proto-death metal is often rawer than death metal! - 97%

Hellish_Torture, July 9th, 2014

Sepultura: I think they don’t need to be introduced. The only thing that can be said about them is that they are the greatest Brazilian band EVER. Since 1985 until 1996, their contributions to metal music has been incalculable, in many different sub-genres. Well, we all know the incredible impact of “Beneath the Remains” and “Arise” on the thrash metal scene and the historical importance of “Chaos A.D.” and “Roots” for modern metal; but hey, I said “since 1985”, not “since 1989”, so it’s not just about that. There are plenty of average metalheads who praise Sepultura shouting the “Roots Bloody Roots” refrain to death (don’t get me wrong; I’m also a HUGE fan of “Roots” and even of most Max Cavalera’s post-Sepultura stuff); well, I’d be curious to know what they think about the band’s debut, if they actually ever listened to it.

“Bestial Devastation” was originally just part of an anonymous split made by two unknown Brazilian metal bands (Sepultura and Overdose). I must admit that, at that time, metal from Brazil wasn’t a very ordinary thing, but we’re still talking about two absolutely underground bands. Who could think that the songs made by Sepultura in this split would have become a seminal influence on extreme metal? Yes, it happened. Taking some influence from the fastest and rawest bands of that time (the usual list: Venom, Motorhead, Hellhammer, Celtic Frost and so on) and combining it with the theorem of pissed off teenagers born in a pretty poor country (valid also for Germany, just look at bands like Sodom or Kreator), this bunch of Brazilian boys with stereotypical pseudo-satanic pseudonyms created one of the most extreme releases of those times. For 1985, the names with which they could compete were very few, and we all know them, but all in all, Sodom is the only one that could really be considered heavier, in my opinion.

Those were the years when thrash metal began to be recognized as a proper genre, apart from classic heavy and speed metal, and in the meantime, some thrash bands were beginning to forge the “death metal sound” (which would have been standardized few years later by early death metal bands like Death, Morbid Angel, Necrophagia, Deicide, Obituary, Master, Autopsy, Entombed). “Bestial Devastation” is one of the most extreme examples of what “proto-death metal” is. Comparing it to other contemporaneous proto-death metal releases like “Seven Churches” or “Hell Awaits”, the first Sepultura work sounds way rawer and closer to the actual death metal standards of some years later. Listening to it, you immediately feel an incredible ingenuity, both in composition and execution, especially if compared with Possessed and Slayer’s releases (which sound more “mature” and “defined” under many points of view). But, you know what? In my opinion, “Bestial Devastation”, in its “immaturity” about every fucking thing, shines not just above most proto-death metal albums (including “Hell Awaits” and “Seven Churches”), but even above EVERY death metal record, including classic masterpieces of the genre like “Altars of Madness”, “Scream Bloody Gore”, “Cause of Death” and so on. Yes, maybe I exaggerated a bit, but, even if I love all the death metal albums I mentioned before, none of them freaks me as much as this little lovely EP.

Beginning to listen to “Bestial Devastation”, you will notice immediately the weird intro, titled “The Curse”:

“The curse is launched, beware.
The Lord of Death declared the war,
Satanas is invoked to destroy
and to command the BESTIAL DEVASTATION!”

These verses are spoken with a pretty laughable guttural tone. Many people find it just ridiculous, but I think it’s awesome as fuck: the fact is that they did it without any effect applied to the vocals! It’s incredible, if you think about it: a bunch of crazy Brazilian metalhead teens who just want to have fun playing extreme music in the vein of Venom and Hellhammer, in order to make the ordinary “satanic tongue-in-cheek” effect, come up with a monstrous intro using GUTTURAL GROWLS before everyone else... they were totally ahead of their time, and they didn’t even know it!

However, after this, the title-track comes in and the mayhem begins. The first thing that you notice is the weak production, which actually increases the incredible rawness. The most ironic thing is that the recording quality on this EP is far better than on most Cogumelo releases (including the first Sepultura full-length “Morbid Visions”). And then, we have the music. This is basically thrash, but the approach is far more extreme than usual, so it’s evident that something new is going on here. The riffs are faster than usual, and the unbelievably “evil” atmosphere generated by the chord progressions is a real standout in the thrash environment, second only to the first Sodom EP (released just the year before). Even Slayer’s “Haunting the Chapel” hardly resembles the same vibe, though being “dark and evil” in its own (more than laudable) way.

The main riff of “Warriors of Death” is something legendary: nothing at that time sounded closer to death metal than this. Not even Possessed. Some other riffs here are really simplistic, and the average metal listener of nowadays would consider them “banal”, but actually they’re not. Think about “Antichrist”: its riffs are very basic and, if a guitarist wants to learn to play extreme metal, this would be a good song to start with as first step (along with Sodom’s “Blasphemer”). It’s clear that a riff like this would be extremely formulaic nowadays, but at that time it was totally bone-crushing in its immediacy, and despite all the clone acts that followed it, the magic of this song hasn’t disappeared. Surely, in 1985 there were already a lot of bands that sounded more complex, but remember that “complexity” doesn’t always mean “better music”. I’d also suggest not to underrate the slowest parts of the EP (some parts of the title-track, “Warriors of Death” and overall the “Necromancer” intro), where some very fascinating doom riffage comes out and creates an incredibly gloomy atmosphere, and guess what... it would’ve become a standard in death metal too.

About drumming, what you immediately notice is that Mr. Igor “Skullcrusher” Cavalera was still far from achieving his level of ability that would have brought him to be one of the greatest thrash metal drummers. Right from the title-track, you take his primitive and sloppy blast-beat in your face. His snare drum sound exactly like a bin of detersive (far from being a “St. Anger”-style snare drum), but all of this does nothing but increase the rawness and the beauty of this necro-masterpiece. “Antichrist”, again, represents the peak of sloppiness: Igor Cavalera didn’t use his feet at all and there’s no trace of double bass here: just a blind, furious single blast-beat. At least Igor doesn’t lack speed and he keeps the pace pretty well, and this is what really matters. By the way, the “Antichrist” blast-beat would’ve become a standard for other bands like their countrymen Sarcofago, and it’s no coincidence that Wagner Antichrist contributed to make this song during the short period he spent in Sepultura.

Regarding the vocals, Max Cavalera’s vocals are totally different from his well-known vocal style developed since “Beneath the Remains." This is just a primitive and hellish growl that seems made by Satan himself and coming from the infernal depths. I know it’s a silly and overused description, but I really couldn’t think about something better to make my point. This is exactly what Max’s vocals remind me of, certainly moreso than most other “satanic metal” acts.

I really can’t choose a highlight in this. Maybe “Antichrist” is my favourite song, but every track here is a little masterpiece. All I can say is that “Bestial Devastation” is one of the highest peaks ever achieved by extreme metal in general and demonstrates again that you don’t need to be an awesome musician and take yourself too seriously to make awesome music. Sometimes you just need a bunch of pissed off teenagers with a little knowledge of their own instruments and a strong passion for metal. This passion, if VERY deep-rooted into them, can be enough to make a monumental work of necro-music. The fact that death metal standards were not well defined increases the spontaneity of this EP, which doesn’t stand on its own defined genre, but discovers unexplored territories without even knowing it (they just wanted to play heavy and fast as possible, nothing more). As I said in the title, proto-death metal is often rawer than death metal, and you can feel it!

How come this has better production? - 72%

Wra1th1s, April 1st, 2008

According to the liner notes, Bestial Devastation was recorded in two days in another shitty Belo Horizonte studio. So how did this sound better than the LP? In all seriousness, this album is about the same as Morbid Visions except with better production, of course.

The production really made the drums sound vicious as hell, the guitar tone is particularly sweet, after all this is Brazil 1986. Back then nobody in Brazil knew how to produce metal (as evidenced by the LP). The vocals are very echo-y which makes it really weird. The bass...well I think it's there, I'm pretty sure I heard some bass runs now and then. As with my Morbid Visions review, Paulo's bass playing isn't that interesting but eh.

The songs are also the proto-Schizophrenia/Beneath the Remains-styled-songs the LP would show and a lot of the riffs are used again in the LP. The drums are really awkward in "Antichrist", Igor said he didn't use the bass drums (to be precise, he said he didn't use kicks) so it's strange. The demo version of "Necromancer" is also included and, again, has better production than Morbid Visions. What is wrong with the studio/engineers when they recorded Morbid Visions (according to the liner notes, they used different studios for the demo, the EP and the LP)? "Anticop" is hilarious, Max really brings it home every time he says "Stick the gun/Up your ASS!!" and "FUCK THA POLICE!!" but the drumming is way better than "Antichrist". I could really do without the "scary-crap-from-hell" intro, although the burp-growl is hilarious, especially when he says "...Sathanas invoke to destroys!! Bestial Devastation!!!"

Conclusion: Buy the re-release. It's worth it. This here is classic death/thrash all the way from Belo Horizonte. (In the liner pictures, the band wore makeup at one point that can be considered proto-corpsepaint. Probably Wagner's doing.)

Want Some Necro Stuff For Breakfast? - 92%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, March 27th, 2008

What an EP! When I listened to it few years ago I was amazed, astonished and completely shocked. I bought it in Ireland with Morbid Visions together and if the full length already destroyed my ears, I had to face these five tracks five of pure necro death/thrash. In 1985 no one and I mean NO ONE could match such violence and putridity in the sound. Neither Kreator, nor Sodom or Hellhammer and Possessed. This is pure decomposition.

The Death’s debut was quite far and Chuck picked up something from these songs, for sure. It has been said by Max that once they walked into the studio they were more or less 16 years old and in Brazil there were no good studios to record a metal album, and for sure no good ones to record death metal! Igor’s drum kit was very essential and the amplifiers were too small but the sound they created is still a cult and, for sincerity and purity, it goes beyond any well produced album at the time in this genre (were there any??).

“The Curse” intro was made by a friend who was in the studio while they were recording and this is something hilarious in its obscurity and blasphemy. “Bestial Devastation” shows simple riffage with a strange, dark distortion and various stop and go. The mid-paced parts are made by single notes and so, very simple and doom. The up tempo parts are more speed/thrash oriented but nasty and truly evil. Max's vocals are not completely thrash but more focused on death metal tonalities with a raw-Cronos touch.

The drums sound is very raw, especially the bass drum. With “Antichrist” I can easily scream for the pure pleasure. This is total rawness with no compromise semi blast beats! Unbelievable. The refrain has been made to be shouted to death. The vocals have something black metal too inside and the atmosphere is even more necro than in the previous songs, like also in the superb, simple but awesome “Necromancer”! The solos are a total mess…in a mixture of shreds, whistles with hyper under produced sound…simply great!

The beginning of “Evil Warriors”, with the rolls on the drums and the up tempo, already shows the stand out member in the line up: Igor. He would become really great in the future and for his age he’s quite good here too. The song is more canonical thrash with the unfailing, rotten down tempo and even a better solo made of tapping parts! To finish, check out the great “Anticop” as bonus track. They changed the “Antichrist” lyrics to put some insults to the cops and the outcome is simply amazing: the drums are hyper triggered and the guitars are far more audible.

Overall, this is a piece of primordial death metal history and a must for any old school metalhead. I like necro stuff!!

Freakin Awesome Death Thrash - 85%

Burning_Season, April 5th, 2006

This is a piece of history. Released in 1985, there was nothing around this fast, or with riffs this brutal. Not Endless Pain by Kreator, not Hell Awaits by Slayer, not Bonded by Blood by Exodus. Seven Churches by Possessed comes sortve close, but only because it had growling vocals. Bathory was probably the only band around this time that was as brutal, but they were in Sweden.

The riffs on this EP are comparable to Reign In Blood, which is pretty impressive considering that Reign In Blood was not released till the next year. The riffs are somewhat simpler occasionally. There are also a few crunching mid paced breaks and intros definitley influenced by Celtic Frost. The solos are pretty typical noise solos for Death Thrash bands around the time, and quite good for a band that had just started.
This EP is also probably the first recorded example of the blast beat in metal, on the song "Antichrist". D.R.I. had had a blast beat in thier song "No Sense" on thier debut (Dirty Rotten LP) in 1982, but that was more of a hardcore punk album. S.O.D. had also done a blast beat at the same time this was recorded on thier Speak English Or Die album, however this was done with two hands and without the bass drum playing at the same speed. So the first metal blast beat was on "Antichrist".

So on to the album sound. Production qualities are quite raw. In a listenable way, but still raw. Very good production. The bass is once more lost in the mix but whatever, same in almost every other metal band. Guitars are dark, evil, and brutal! Fast, low register tremolo picked riffs similar to Slayer, but with a much more vicious guitar tone. It is almost chainsaw like, not quite Entombed quality, but close. Guitars are excellent. The drums are simple, but fast, and done quite well, and as mentioned before, a blast beat does appear in the song "Antichrist". Not much double bass drum use, but overall the simple drumming does an excellent job at maintaining the brutality. The vocals are a raspy shout that is almost a growl, but not quite. Still probably the fourth harshest vocals for 1985 (1.Possessed,2.Bathory,3.Kreator). Done very well. The only thing i dont like about this EP is the intro, "The Curse". It sounds like somebody crapily trying to growl some evil nonsense. Quite stupid, but it has a humour value to it. Kindve sounds like the Cookie Monster...heh.

The songs are mostly all fast, with occasional mid paced breaks and intros. The best song is probably "Necromancer" for having the best riffs and some nice mid paced sections. However every single one of these songs is good. Really freaking awesome Death Thrash. Check it out especially if you like Reign In Blood era Slayer.

Get your necro on - 77%

drummerboy, October 22nd, 2005

You know the band, so let's get straight to the songs. Please welcome, The Sepulturas!

The Curse - Spoken word intro with some bells chiming in the background. Add +1 to the necrosity and "showing its age" factors.

Bestial Devastation - Starts off with a frenetic thrash riff, then the chugging bit in the middle. It's simple, but well placed and quite bang-worthy as well. Then more frenetic thrashing. The constant drum rolls really accent the out of control nature of the song. Recommended as a means to whip dogs into a frothing killing frenzy. I like it!

Antichrist - Sloppy, fast, killer, it's the simplest song here. The eerie second verse riff sounds like something off "Seven Churches." The thrash break riff at 1:45 is what music critics would call "driving" or "stomping," it kicks your ass before you are torn to shreds by a hyper blast beat and left for dead for maggots to infest your head. Enjoyable stuff.

Necromancer - Holy shit. This opens with a massive crushing sludgy riff, perfectly complimented with a tom roll driven backbeat. Then it's into full on thrashing mode, with a great solo, the squeeling lead starting at 1:42 with the sparse riff underearth just plain kills everything. Then that lovely sludge riff comes back, and when the tom rolls come in at 2:24 with Max screaming "Necromancerrr! Dead's invokerrr!", look out your window. The sky has turned to red, it's raining toads, and armies of the undead are pouring out of fissures in the earth. Yes, this song owns THAT much.

Warriors of Death - The best riffage of the EP is found here, this song really stands out compared to the others on the basis of the riffs being more developed and mature sounding (structurally however, this is pretty much the same thing as the rest of the album). We've got three distinct slowed down parts here, interspersed with thrashing. The third one sounds absolutely positively fucking EVIL with a nice tapping solo overtop of some doomy riffs.

Conclusion: Raw, and necro as fuck. It's also pretty damn fun! Memorable thrash breaks and good riffing all around. You can buy it on CD with something called "Morbid Visions," which I gather is some sort of polka album.

Blasting metal... - 84%

Snxke, June 16th, 2004

Sepultura joined in on this split was the vastly unknown "other" band and put together a brutal display of violence that put them on the map of what was considered "extreme metal" at the time. The swirling guitars, howling barks that pass for vocals and the heavy-handed drumming all spin together to create a massive vortex of violence previously unseen by any band from their geographic area.

For me, this is some of the bands best material, they hammered in a black metal styled bashing in the vein of early Sodom and Slayer with only half the production and melody. Even so, it works well to bring forth the entire concept of chaos that was to be Sepultura.

It's too bad that within the next ten years the band would be an entirely different animal that would nearly forget the work that was created on the early releases.

Okay call me crazy - 79%

UltraBoris, May 29th, 2004

but I like Anticop. I'm not sure why; maybe it's because the drums aren't quite so random-sounding as in Antichrist.

Yep, Antichrist is fucking necro as Hell, and is probably the most egregious example of sloppiness on this entire album... the insane, yet somewhat gratuitous, middle section that slows down a la Artillery or Overkill... then the really fucking fast necroblast section, which is pretty damn innovative for 1985, and of course the cheesy lyrics, both here and there. "Stick that gun up your ass" versus "slaughter the Christian's born". Neither can be mistaken for "Do Dark Horses Dream of Nightmares"... so we're gonna call it a draw.

How's the rest of the album? Because Antichrist is still a pretty cool song... the production is actually better than Morbid Visions (the Sepultura full-length that would follow this EP)... the intro is cheesy as fuck, and borderline hilarous... Satanas is invocative to destroy!!

Then we get the riffage. Oh fuck yes, Bestial Devastation is a great song. Check out that headbangage riff in the middle... Sepultura would turn this into an art form later, with songs like From the Past Comes the Storms and Slaves of Pain, and here it first rears its ugly head. Necromancer (dirty fucker!) is more of the same, as is Warriors of Death. Pretty much all the songs here follow the same formula. Fast section. Slow section. Fast section. Antichrist is the most overt about it, though Warriors of Death is the slowest of the slow, and even throws in a (what's this!) melodic solo... sometimes the drums are more noisemaker than beatkeeper (see aforementioned Antichrist, or the random fills that come in in, for example, Bestial Devastation). But the guitar tone is nice and evil, and the riffage is pretty tight, and for 1985, this is pretty fucking revolutionary.

Recommended? Certainly. It's available as a really common re-release with Morbid Visions, a demo track, and of course "fuck the police", which makes no sense whatsoever in the context of the rest of the works, but hey, it's still a fun song.

Wow, this is Evil - 78%

Metalli_Priest, March 8th, 2004

This EP is a fine display of blackened death, that for 1985 is pretty well ahead of it’s time, and just goes to show what a comprehensive career sepulture has had. Yes, these are indeed humble beginnings. It is full of things Necr0 and Grim, and as said in my previous sentence, in it’s day material like this would have been uncommon, if not, original for.

Comparisons will have to be made to a band by the name of Hellhammer. Primitive, raw black metal, crossed with a little death, composed before either genre was really anything substantial. Riff work that is generally sloppy in the Venom/Hellhammer vein, a total buzzsaw guitar tone, lyrics that would put Venom to shame, and a generally evil ambience that bands such as Mayhem and Darkthrone aimed to and did achieve.

In addition to this, all extreme metal at the time inevitably showed signs of thrash, as this would be the building block for both death and black metals, so too does this album.

So this album is of significant historical importance in the progression of black, death and thrash. I have the re-issued version that was released with the Morbid Visions LP, it’s fairly awesome.

Not a clue who Overdose are, but this RULES!! - 90%

Estigia666, September 17th, 2003

(I'm reviewing only Bestial Devastation here)

This 4 song EP has a lot in common with Morbid Visions (see my review of it), but this sounds more primitive, simple and straightforward. My favorite songs would have to be "Necromancer", a sludgy number in the Celtic Frost vein, and "Antichrist", a total thrasher that starts fast and goes into a midpaced annihilative thrash break. Later (sucky) Sepultura redid it and played on '94 with the name "Anticop". As expected, it sucked, surprise, surprise.

This EP was in a status of obscurity until Roadrunner decided to release it along with the Morbid Visions full lenght. Now, the latest remastered version of said reissue contains two extra tracks: the aforementioned "Anticop" (sucks) and a demo version of "Necromancer" from '85 or so that, if I'm not mistaken, is the first ever Sepultura recording, and sounds not too much apart from the final version, but is worth for historical importance, I guess.

A damn good EP, overall.