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Morbid Sound - 85%

DesecratorJ, June 28th, 2019

Pursuing my little trip in Brazilian extreme metal reviews, anyone who got into thrash metal discovered Sepultura as one of their first bands outside Metallica, Megadeth or Slayer. Mostly known for having one of the worst musical evolution in their history, the band went down to shit pretty quickly in the mid 90s and every original members leaving the group did not help either. Anyway, most people know the band mainly because of albums such as "Arise" or "Beneath the Remains". I do like those albums too, but if we go back in the very beginning of Sepultura's existence, we have primitive death/thrash metal that sound way more brutal than those latter albums. They have released their first EP called "Bestial Devastation" back in 1985 on the Brazilian extreme metal label Cogumelo Records. With much surprise, that record had a decent sound quality and was aggressive as hell, they of course took inspiration from the German thrash metal scene at the time and Hellhammer/Celtic Frost. That release pushed these guys to go with the extreme attitude even further on their first full-length album, which is the album reviewed here.

Released in late 1986, the first Sepultura album called "Morbid Visions" has never been a much popular album to their audience over the years. Like it did for Sodom's "Obsessed By Cruelty", I heard a lot of people claiming that the sound was too dirty or not listenable. At some point when I was younger, I thought the same thing actually, but after getting your ears used to the black metal sound, that record sounds beautiful. The primitive feel is what is making the charm of this album, every instruments (except the bass of course) sounds like they are fighting each others to see who does the loudest noise. The guitars tone is the classic, but great buzz saw that you can hear in many other underground extreme metal albums. The drums of Igor Cavalera are devastating and includes nice fills and techniques, even if these guys were still young, the tempo is followed decently. The vocals of Max Cavalera here is what should be considered as the typical death/thrash vocal tone, unlike the thrashier approach took in the subsequent albums. Although "Morbid Visions" has not even 35 minutes of play time, the speed at which they play is quite notable for 1986.

Originally kicking off with an introduction that got removed, the self-titled song "Morbid Visions" is pretty much what you should expect the entire album to sound like. It's straightforward, and it doesn't really allow us to breathe much, despite the presence of some cool rhythm changing riffs. At this point, the guys of Sepultura were not musical genius, thus the album containing mostly simple guitar riffs. However, they knew how to create a dark and sinister atmosphere with introduction riffs like in "Funeral Rites" or the classic "Troops of Doom", which the original version is on that album. While the track "Mayhem" fits perfectly its name with how fast and brutal it is, the more structure varied "War" has the most interesting parts technically speaking. Through the 80s, the band never ceased to progress on that side, which can obviously be noticed on each albums. For the vocals though, we can see how furious and evil that it sounds on tracks like "Empire of the Damned" and "Crucifixion". Max Cavalera unleash those intense hellish screams that fits the mood of the music flawlessly.

You might notice that there are few guitar solos on this album as well, and those solos like heard in "Show Me the Wrath" for instance, are kind of messy, but at least fits within the music. On the lyrical content, "Morbid Visions" is basically the same Satan related topics as many other bands did at the time. Nothing really special there, except the funny aspect that the lyrics are translated from Portuguese to English, thus the presence of mistakes. Overall, to be quite honest, this album is really good, but can get tiresome to listen to if played too many times as the material is not that memorable, even if it's still great. Of course, if you like primitive old school extreme metal, you will dig this album as much as I did, and it also allow to discover the evil past of Sepultura. It's definitely a record that I recommend giving some play through, as it may take some times to grow on you. That is what happened in my case, and I do not regret it as I even prefer this stuff over the other classics of their discography.

Favorite tracks:

Empire of the Damned
Morbid Visions
Troops of Doom