Review Summary: A musical shipwreck with a sadly fitting album title.
When Metallica released St. Anger, many people felt that no influential metal band could get that far and fall that low from its great past. By the tune of its tin can drumming, lack of solos and overlong tracks, any criticism after a week of that album’s release already felt like beating a dead, decaying horse. But no: St. Anger still had a soul anyways and got (at least) some actual moments here and there. And also, it took more than a decade for Metallica to get from their glorious days to what many perceived as their lowest level ever.
However, Sarcófago accomplished an even more “epic” feat: it went from being an extreme metal beast to become an annoying and sad act in less than seven years. In an effort to push the envelope in speed, Lamounier fired the band’s human drummer and at the same time fired a bullet to Sarcofago’s own feet when he and his fella Geraldo Minelli teamed with a drum machine and released Hate - a name that probably conveyed the feeling of more than one of their old school fans with the band’s new direction.
In that record, though, they still showed a tiny, scrawny bit of healthy muscle left within their guitar work and managed to record at least one decent song, The God’s Faeces. The album production didn’t deafen you with the album’s mess of drum blasts in that track and you can enjoy yourself headbanging to its riffs without guilt. However, for their final “effort”, all that muscle left was already rotten worm food. At that time, Jesus wasn’t rotting: they were.
Metal is a very ample genre, meant to communicate a lot of different things. But, in a broad sense, metal music as a whole aims to express emotionally heavy experiences and/or statements while working as a powerful means of aggression release. In Vulgar Display of Power, you can hear in your mind Phil Anselmo yelling at you in “Mouth for War” something like this: “Instead of punching a guy in the face, why don’t you release your anger breaking stuff or discharging your energy in a moshpit?” So, the point is that metal is meant to be antithetical to soulless, robotic music… like The Worst. The album as a whole feels like it was written, played and composed by low level robots, programmed by people who didn't like the genre and wanted to taint it with a (so to speak) disrespectful and bad joke to the gods of Metal.
And that’s pretty sad, because The Worst sometimes showed some kind of potential - Army of the Damned and Plunged in Blood, for example, could’ve been decent tracks if they calmed down their artificial drumming and changed their overly repetitive guitar tone. But that’s it: they were mere wasted potential and nothing else.
In this record, unfortunately, not even the keyboard parts (that added some chilling atmosphere in The Laws of Scourge) worked well. So, what could we say about the lowest points of the record? Well… In the mix for their 1995 compilation Decade of Decay, the drum volumes on Hate’s songs got pumped up and ruined the production that made The God’s Faeces enjoyable in the middle of its double-bassed mess. But when compared to The Worst, that already loud blasting sounds are even moderate. Words can hardly describe the ear-piercing percussive aberrations in Purification Process, Shave your Head, Day of the Dead, FOMBM, Crust and Satanic Lust. Yes, that’s right: as the cherry on top of the cake, they took a song from their iconic debut and put an epileptic cat to program the drum machine (and sorry for the example, cat lovers: feline seizures are very sad and disturbing, but the point was precisely to put a very, very sad analogy).
So, if at that point their tendency was to continuously push the envelope of drumming speed to "compensate" Lamounier’s lack of better ideas, then it wasn’t tragic that Sarcofago disbanded in the year 2000 and he went on to get a Ph.D. and become an economics scholar at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, in Brazil (a curious fact for any of you that didn’t know). At that point, the empty envelope that once had a Willy Wonka golden ticket inside was already torn in tiny little pieces.
After The Worst, “The Best” for their legacy was to put a full stop to their discography (pun intended).