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Intense, Evil and Morbid! - 80%

mouthfulofhate, March 26th, 2018
Written based on this version: 1997, CD, Roadrunner Records (Remastered, Reissue)

People have dismissed this classic album for it's sloppy performance and poor production, but I believe that's what gives it so much character. It sounds like a few angry, repressed youth playing extreme metal, pretty impressive for their age.

Igor's drumming on here isn't nearly as tight as it would become on later releases such as "Beneath The Remains". It is particularly sloppy and almost dragging the faster songs like "Mayhem". The guitar solos are pretty decent and add to the wickedly intense and evil vibe that oozes from this album. But Jairo is no Andreas Kisser for sure. Max's vocals here are unlike anything you've ever heard from him on the post-Schizophrenia releases. He does demonic growls that make him sound possessed, as his nickname for this album suggests. Paulo on the other hand has never usually done anything notable in his bass playing for Sepultura and this album is no exception. The bass is not even all that audible or present in the mix.

As for production, I think it can be excused. If people can dig "Under A Funeral Moon" and "Filosofem", then what's wrong with the sound here? Isn't black metal supposed to sound bad? This is also one of the earliest blackened death metal albums ever made, from Brazil no less, and at the time no one really knew how to produce such an insane, busy sound. So give it a break, the songwriting should count more than the production.

The songwriting here is pretty solid for the most part. Some tracks are really good. The opening title track has sick and twisted riffs that give you a taste of what this album has to offer. "Troops of Doom" became a live staple in Sepultura's setlist for years. "War", "Show Me The Wrath" and "Funeral Rites" are other noteworthy tracks that get regular play from me.

The lyrics have also received some ridicule, and some of the lyrics here are admittedly cheesy and amateur. But English was not their first language and they learned English from Black Sabbath lyrics, and that is pretty badass! So I'd give those a pass too, plus it's death metal, how seriously are you really going to take the lyrics?

I would not say that it's anywhere close to being Sepultura's finest, but I think a lot of people are being harsh on this one. It was very influential and ahead of its time. It deserves some respect, even if you don't really like it.