Review Summary: What more can you expect from a band whose name translates to 'Grave?'
Ambiguity can make anything scary -- the pain of not knowing what is to come is strenuously feared. This idea occurs at many points in music, and, unfortunately, mostly in metal. 'Black Sabbath' set the stage for this, and ever since then, a lot of metal is supernaturally frightening. Sometimes, these attempts are successful; other times, it is more painful to have to listen to such try-hards. The album that scared me the most, however, was Sepultura's 'Bestial Devastation.'
Drawing influence from first-wave black metal bands such as Venom and Celtic Frost, this 15-minute EP's lyrics painted scenes of satanic devastation and death in my head, roared by then 16 year old Max "Possessed" Cavalera, and the pure speed of it all overwhelmed me with feelings of awesomeness; it made me want to destroy everything in my path, despite its bleakness. From Satan's voice on "The Curse" to the last track, 'Bestial Devastation' both destroys you and motivates you to mosh your way through hell.
Thrilling, this record is actually quite different from their later releases -- it takes on a more black metal approach, and its lyrics are certainly much more different than that of 'Chaos A.D.' et al. This album is not accessible overall, either. The production makes it, at times, hard to enjoy fully. Max's voice hasn't taken on its dark, deep style that it has on 'Roots' (this problem perseveres until 'Beneath the Remains'). Indeed, not all of the musicians have honed their style completely. Although fast, Igor "Skullcrusher" Cavalera has not yet acquired a mature style of drumming. This is most audible on track 3, "The Antichrist", where he makes a pitiful attempt at the blast-beat. However, this is all redeemed by the great music that lies beneath the bad (or NO) production, the not-yet-great musicians and immature vocals.
'Bestial Devastation' truly has lots of good points as well as low points. For example, the song "Warriors of Death" is the best track on the album, a great way to end a beginning. The way the meldies and speed come together here on this EP sound wonderful in all ways; if this had been released later, once they had obtained production money (most of the money they used to produce this was borrowed from their friends), fans, and perfected their musical skill, 'Bestial Devastation' would be nearly perfect.
Unfortunately, it isn't. But whether they were aiming for a polished debut is arguable; in an interview, Igor said that the producer wanted to make the whole thing perfect, but before he had done that, he (Igor) played him a Venom record -- this is how black metal is supposed to sound. Despite the production, 'Bestial Devastation' induces enjoyment in the hearts of its auditors, and is a great starting point for a band with such potential. 2.5/5