"The only really good thing to come out of that album was Troops Of Doom
As true as Max Cavalera"s words may ring, the fact is, Troops
was probably one of the weakest
tracks to come out of Sepultura"s now-legendary debut, Morbid Visions
Released in 1986, Visions
(coupled here with 1985 demo Bestial Devastation
) was the first step in one of metal"s most respected careers. However, back in the day, Sepultura had little or nothing to do with the band we know today. They played a fast, brutal brand of extreme metal that would later become known as thrash/death metal. Following in the footsteps of bands such as Possessed, Celtic Frost or Death, Sepultura ushered in the second wave of that movement, right from their native town of Belo Horizonte, in the heart of Brazil.
Now, being Brazilian, Sepultura didn"t have access to the likes of Morrisound Studios, so they ended up recording both these works in cheapish Belo Horizonte studios, with people who barely knew what they were doing. That seems befitting, since the band barely knew what they were doing themselves.""We were all excited because that was the first time we were walking in a studio" recalls Igor Cavalera. "I wasn"t even used to playing in a real drum set " mine was totally ***ed up, really primitive. I didn"t even use my feet on the song Antichrist
As if that wasn"t enough to attest of the band"s amateurship, check out one of Max"s own recollections: "
Probably the best thing about that album is that it"s out of tune! In a lot of songs, my guitar is out of tune with Jairo"s. We simply forgot to tune the guitars every day. We just used the guitars the way they were set up in the studio. We didn"t even have a tuner!
So you get the drift - this is an underproduced, painfully amateurish romp. Yet Sepultura were never ones to deny their origins: rather than pretend that album never existed (the way Tom G.Warrior acts about Hellhammer) or dismissing it as just pure crap, Sepultura embrace it. They know just what it was " their first tentative step towards a musical career. As flawed as it may have been, it was real, and should not be forgotten."
Back then , Sepultura had a slightly different formation. Andreas Kisser had not yet entered the picture, and the band"s lead guitarist was one Jairo T, now a respected musician in Brazil. Also, the entire band used pseudonyms, fully representative of their youth and na"vet". Max Cavalera was Max Possessed, Jairo was Tormentor, bassist Paulo Jr. was Destructor and Max"s brother Igor was Igor Skull Crusher. Their song titles and topics were also quite typical and admittedly influenced by the likes of Death or Celtic Frost.""Everything about that album was a ripoff of the bands we liked" Max admits openly. "Even the song topics. Morbid Visions
was heavily inspired by Morbid Tales
, by Celtic Frost, for example. We didn"t really know any English, so the song lyrics were pretty much taken out of a dictionary I used to have", he adds, humorously."
So now you"re thinking: this album is derivative, out of tune, technically poor and has hardly any production at all. It must suck big time, right?" Wrong. Morbid Visions
is actually quite a pleasant listen, once you get past the tinny guitars and hollowed-out vocals. The songs are fast, thrashy, and serve as a sort of embryo to what the band would later present in albums such as Beneath The Remains
. Yet, they aren"t made up of noise for noise"s sake, and indeed present something increasingly rare in extreme metal: choruses."
Of course, the entire album is heavily laden with nods to other, more established bands: apart from the title track, the choruses to both Funeral Rites
bring back memories of early Death, while Troops Of Doom
stands out for its fast Helhammer drumming pattern. Max"s vocals remain garbled throughout, and most of the time he"s just spewing out random words " murder
make frequent appearances."
Yet probably the best song on Morbid Visions
is Show Me The Wrath
. Featuring a bona-fide bridge and chorus, this song sounds like a mix of Possessed and Unseen Terror, and ranks as the top moment of the album."
After the eight tracks that make up Morbid Visions
, one is introduced to Bestial Devastation
. This may seem like a queer line-up, since Bestial
introduction The Curse
actually appears as a ninth track, but once the demo"s title track starts playing, we fully understand why Roadrunner decided to line it up like this.
is, if possible, even rawer than Morbid Visions
. In fact, at times, it"s nearly inaudible. Max sounds as though he was singing into one of those hollow toy microphones, that echo your words, and the guitars still sound tinny. However, song-wise, the demo holds a couple of gems in Antichrist
(the song where Igor never used his feet!) and Necromancer
, probably the high point of the demo."
As with Morbid Visions
, there are lots of funny stories associated with Bestial Devastation
. Perhaps the funniest is the story of the "satanic" voice in The Curse
. Says Max:"
We had a friend come over and do the voice-over for the intro, because he could do that voice without effort, it was like he was burping in a way, and we thought it was funny. I don"t even remember his name anymore!
The package is rounded out with two bonus tracks. One is the pre-production version of Necromancer
, Sepultura"s unbelievably raw first recording. That"s right. Their first recording. EVER
. Completists should pee their pants right about now.
The second bonus is a live recording of [i]Antichrist] with modified lyrics, now called Anticop
. As usually happens, the track sounds like an experienced band playing a song written by an unexperienced band. Therefore, the song loses much of its na"ve appeal and is frankly quite uninteresting."
However, none of this detracts from the fact that Morbid Visions/Bestial Devastation
is a very interesting little album, and a true gem for metal historicians. Its only drawbacks are the production, that can repel modern listeners, and a couple of blander moments (Empire Of The Damned
, Warriors Of Death
). Other than that, it is fully recommended to everyone who wants to get to know a band in its earliest formative steps.
All things considered, this album really has three ratings:"If you"re an extreme metal buff, then consider this a nearly flawless 4,75/5
."If you like your records clean and well-produced, then steer well clear because this will only be a 1/5
for you."However, for the general metal population, the rating should be a solid 3,5/5
Show Me The Wrath
Necromancer [demo version]