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Far more multi-dimensional than its cover. - 84%

Gutterscream, July 28th, 2007
Written based on this version: 1986, 12" vinyl, Point Rock

“…todos alegam, serem inocentes afinal de quem e a culpa?”

1986 was a tough year for new bands. Hell, it was a tough year for older, semi-veteran bands already proven with one or two soaked-in-fan-sweat slabs on the rack. Basically, the competition - everyone’s competition - floored it, and bars were raised, notches got turned up, fires and flames were lit and got fanned, cowboys were, um, upped - however colorfully you wanna put it, the underground found itself rumbling with a mid-decade enormity, mostly galvanized by bands that were already secure in their steely stance and had been heating things up like an atomic-powered boiler, gauges pinned damned nicely in the red.

Jam-packed were pole positions (yep, one more expression to risk description suicide) and Taurus, a foursome fresh from an unsung co-capital of thrash, bolted on some thick slicks and a wheelie bar and rolled up into the pack. Now, it’s nice to think you’re gonna run with the big dogs right outta the box, but those weren't the caliber acts that constituted their chief competition, or at least shouldn’t have. Real rivalry rested in the vapors of more familiar vehicles (to the band itself) - the early debuts from countrymen Sepultura, Dorsal Atlantica, studio Vulcano and the bands laying down rubber on Cogumelo’s seminal Warfare Noise I compilation, sorta like kids from the neighborhood wedged in line, gagging on fumes and burnt rubber, each just as anonymous as the other. Equals by all means, and nice and fair for the most part.

Laps circle by but most metal fans have better things to do than keep track of them. The favorites stretch leads to miles. Competition among the second stringers heats up, becoming more appealing as Reign in Blood and Master of Puppets push ahead through gusting cheers. Morbid Visions downshifts noisily into the thick of the pack. The Cogumelo compilation rattles the tachometer with all kinds of talent while Antes do Fim finds contorting through the thick parade of releases an uneasy task. Signo de Taurus doesn’t have Cogumelo airbrushed on its quarter panel, but is instead endorsed by unidentified Point Rock Records with easily one of the more impressive sonic paint jobs originating from the region. Okay, it looks nice, but does it go? Well, it can’t outpace Morbid Visions, or Dorsal’s baby for that matter, but it has enough melodic slipperiness produced by creative juices to sneak by the latter in an outside lane. The Cogumelo stuff is, well, the celebrated Cogumelo stuff, but with each band only firing two cylinders it’s hard to foretell an outcome.

On a closed course, Signo de Taurus is among the more professional and ‘together’ of the Portuguese-fueled contestants, and this concerns not only concrete aspects like production and songwriting, but abstractions like personal aura and regional awareness. Apparently, these guys somehow soaked in more metal culture than many of their compatriots, and it shows as if waxed last week. Anything but one dimensional, it gleans much from facilities that have already been invented, importing dependable Bay Area nuance along with some of Destruction’s liner notes which includes Claudio Bezz’s competent-bordering-on-noteworthy solos and some of Otavio Augusto’s clean Schmier-like screams. Bass enthusiasts rejoice, ‘cause Sergio Bezz (yep, Claudio’s bro) likes to be heard, especially when things slow down and get crafty.

The lp hardly ever demands land-speed records of itself, preferring something more practical that allows it to rhythmically powershift through gears and weave around obstacles with diligent, controlled handling while the required sturdy steel frame holds it all together - envision Pleasure to Kill with three-quarters of its vehement acceleration and with more melodiously engaging interludes. Aside from octane opener (jumping over the self-titled, unfortunately [and surprisingly] melody-garbled intro) “Mundo Em Merta”, just about every track has curves that are handily downshifted through. “Imperio Humano” and “Falsos Comandos” are two good ones, a pair of 6+ minute tracks that get the most of their multi-speed transmissions without missing or grinding gears.

Unfortunately, 1986 treated Signo de Taurus like it dropped its oil pan somewhere on the track and sputtered into the center grass, and after twenty one years the pit crew still hasn’t rescued it. More well-rounded/adjusted than Morbid Visions, but ’86 would end up being more a slave to speed and aggression - Reign in Blood, Pleasure to Kill, Darkness Descends, Obsessed by Cruelty, Eternal Devastation – than musical divergence, save Master of Puppets and maybe one or two others. Taurus know life isn't fair.

Alright, I am officially tired of my own analogies.