Review Summary: The band on top of their game6 of 6 thought this review was well written
Some albums, no matter how many flaws they have, remain classics completely unaffected by time. Records such as And Justice For All, Raining Blood, Tomb Of The Mutilated, Korn's debut-all of which are flawed, but each and every flaw can be overlooked due to either the relevance of said album or just because they are that flat out awesome. Sepultura have released three such albums.
Beneath The Remains suffered from repetition, both in sound and just overall structures, other than two or three key exceptions. Chaos AD was just too much of a departure from the Sepultura that were loved, and was therefore just a little offputting. Schizophrenia was the third of these releases, which suffered from an extremely sterile production. Other than this, the album is virtually flawless. All three of these albums are undoubtably gems.
Schizophrenia was the bands sophomore release, following their Death/Thrash debut Morbid Visions. This is their first foray into the pure thrash sound that would define their earliest material. This was the Sepultura to listen to, not the Sepultura that released lame groove releases, and flirted with their Brazilian musical roots. This is aggression at its absolute purest, but still manages to be considered only ONE of their finest, behind Arise and Beneath The Remains.
The production on Schizophrenia is extremely stale, with the instruments blending together to create a wall of sound. The guitars have the flat feel to them that is most often associated with Metallica's And Justice For All, and the drums have too much of a reverb on them. The vocal work is far too low in the mix, and everything sounds a little underwhelming at first listen, and that is what tends to put some people off.
Once accustomed to this, however, the talent at work on this album really comes to the listeners attention. Each riff is placed with surgical precision for maximum effect, crafted perfectly, and really could not be made any tighter. As soon as the first riff to From The Past Comes The Storms catches you, you are taken on a ride through the madness the title to the album would suggest, containing many twists and turns, and each guitar line hitting like a freight train.
The drumming is Iggor Cavalera on top of his game. The drums are fast, powerful, and struck with real venom. This may well be Iggor's finest performance, tied with Arise. Every fill, drum roll, and beat is directly on the ball, and is completely breathtaking to listen to. The production on the drums is poor, but that should not be allowed to distract from the genius on display here.
The vocals from Max Cavalera are slightly less aggressive than their debut, Morbid Visions, but still pack a punch to them that not many vocalists can match. I honestly consider Max to be overrated, but on their first three albums he showcases some real hate in his voice, which make each of the songs feel complete, and transforms them from frantic lessons in aggression to complete anthems of hate.
There is no point really singling out individual tracks on this album, as they are all utterly fantastic, and flat out classics in their own individual way. The first instrumental track, Inquisition Symphony, is one of the most ingenious songs the band has ever put out, containing solo after solo that all take the listeners face off. From The Past Comes The Storm and Troops of Doom are just raw thrashers that have all the heaviness that could be asked of the band.
The Abyss is the second instrumental, and is every bit as tight as the first, but without quite the menace that song carried. Rest In Pain, Septic Schizo and Screams Behind The Shadows are standard Sepultura songs, carrying real weight in their music, and Escape To The Void and To The Wall remain some of the best material the band has put out to this day. That is all that needs to be said, as each track would require an essay to highlight why they are so good on their own.
Overall, this album is completely incredible. Every single note is played precisely, taking away the breath of the listener with each and every spin in their CD deck. It is 10 tracks of utter hatred, and remains a thrash classic to this day. Many people would take Beneath The Remains or Arise, or possibly Chaos AD over this as their favourite Sepultura release, but this is where Sepultura were on top of their game, in my opinion. The band are all as tight as can be, and created a masterpiece so good that its flaws can be completely forgotten. 5/5