One of the primary inventors of death metal, Sepultura built a new language out of twisted structure at racing speed.

Morbid Visions/Bestial Devastation

Production: Varying demo- and garage-level soundforms which capture the music quite adequately.

Review: Raw motion music in the postapocalyptic style of Slayer and Possessed using the syncretism of atmospheric riff patternings in a style reminiscent of Massacra, these two EPs of seminal material from Sepultura establish the distinctive sound which was to dominate the South American scene for two generations, building empires of structure from the simple differences and thunder of textural dynamic disparity in the directional information coded through whipping power chord music. At explosive speeds this music recombines at the command of gutteral, primitive vocals and bludgeon-simple percussion which maintains a fury of emphasis forward while checking structure as necessary and maintaining a simple, sensual presence.


1. Morbid Visions (3:23)
2. Mayhem (3:15)
3. Troops of Doom (3:21)
4. War (5:32)
5. Crucifixion (5:02)
6. Show Me The Wrath (3:52)
7. Funeral Rites (4:23)
8. Empire Of the Damned (4:24)
9. The Curse (0:39)
10. Bestial Devastation (3:06)
11. Antichrist (3:46)
12. Necromancer (3:52)
13. Warriors Of Death (4:07)
Length: 49:09

sepultura morbid visions and bestial devastation foundational death metal albums from 1984 and 1985
Copyright © 1985 Cogumelo

Belligerent in conception songs are simple in execution following the Slayer style of staggered introduction of theme through opposite halves layered across strings and percussion in a delivery that proceeds each major thematic change with introductory motion, then breaks into a component of theme and its fragmentary complements before reconstructing a primary idea from the tone-centric progression as phrases develop to articulation. Dynamic varies despite constant tremelo strumming of notes and chords at paces synchronized with approach to the internal harmonies Doppleresquely arranged at prime rhythms throughout each piece; progression in dynamics is sculpted wholly from the type of motion (texture + velocity toward/away from root note) crafted in ripping waves of guitar sound and apocalyptic collisions of vocal and stringblast noise.

Satanic and morbid occultist imagery pervade the lyrics and composition of this release, which in the style which bands from Havohej to Beherit and Darkthrone employ, subjugates the ridiculous to serve the abstracted lifestyle determinations the visions of mythos and living mysticism evoke. Muscular in its recombinant structure in both sum of phrases and the construction of phrases as minimalist motion of structure around central tones, these dark hymns inspired generations of metalheads and after some delayed propagation following their respective releases in 1984-85 are recognized as foundational to the embryonic death metal genre.


Production: Rough shroud of tight sound.

Review: In an ambitious offering of a technically-upgraded look at their groundbreaking sound, Sepultura take a step into the past and merge elements of the more technique-oriented speed metal bands such as Kreator, Destruction or Slayer into the trademark death metal sound of these Brazilians. Theme development occurs with more relevance to song expansion, and skidding muffled strum riffs transfer motion like fleet-limbed martial artists, making clear and simple songs into complex but more cohesive sounds.

Lead guitarist Andres Kisser adds melodic structure to leads and a proficient sense of hook to each song in a replacement for anthemic chanting and corresponding change in phrase. Guitar textures have improved in some ways and regressed in others, with more emphasis on percussive sounds and less on the roar of unfettered tremolo ripping as found on the first two EPs. The rhythm section is steadier and undergoes more sleight of emphasis tempo changes and gentle backhand foreshadowing within a rage of percussion. Vocals are a hard-edged shout dressed in the distorted voice of death metal, enacting change within the aesthetic of each portion of song by rupturing its surface in different ways. With a playful sense of the possibilities of continuity in rhythmic phrase, this band gestures at a range of tempos from the linear development of pace.


1: From the Past Comes the Storms
2: To the Wall
3: Escape to the Void
4: Inquisition Symphony
5: Screams Behind the Shadows
6: Septic Schizo
7: The Abyss
8: R.I.P (Rest In Pain)

sepultura 'schizophrenia' copyright roadrunner records 1988
Copyright © 1988 Roadrunner

At an ultimate success test, this album would initially look favorable but fail in final consideration under analysis of fractures in its songwriting process where focus was lost or randomness/cliche crept in. There has been too much of a reversal from the first to depend on its techniques, but the new technique is just outside of the reach of this band at this time. On the next album, the synthesis is made, but in the meantime "Schizophrenia" is a ripping testament to one era of Sepultura history.

Beneath the Remains

Production: Although the guitar tone is deemphasized in favor of overall production tone this particular incarnation of that idea works to the advantage of the band, capturing every instrument clearly and succinctly melding vocals into the mix.

Review: Combining the bolt-ahead and blast tendency of technical death metal with the stylings of speed metal bands who hammered their riffs home to a concluding micro-phrase, Sepultura have rendered from chaos a masterpiece of controlled energy defining its outlets before unleashing the pulse of destructive energy which converts them humanity's self-destructive inner anger into a directive of vivid existence. This album takes class from Slayer on song structures, with most choruses and every other verse having an introductory changeover of instrumental significance to transfer the abundant energy of its vibrant resiliency back into the churning main riff rhythm and structural silhouette (a technique borrowed from thrash: to use the riff to define the song, taken to abstract levels by death metal bands who invented the riff-concept behind the riff and used it in the style of classical music to fuse songs from scrapyards of fragmentary structure). It is neck-breaking excitement that also stirs the soul with its excitement to live.

Sepultura combine textures as part of the fundamental philosophy of the band, pairing the note-hopping melodic ascent of a heavy metal phrase with a cluster of fast thrashed chords charged by a dissonant note harmonic loop providing both context and concrete coherence to the otherwise panoramic expansion of riffs from one or two power chord microstructures which define a direction and its essential return in a recursive yet open structure. In a meta-mimicry of the textural shifts within riffs, songs as a whole reveal their layers in the differing structures which define their parts and the similarities between them through the detail-oriented world of embedded melody, where the winging electric strum of the rhythm guitar aligns the current pattern into the overall composition by means of the metaphor in related archetypal granularity. Each part defines the whole, which in turn defines the relevance of each part: a metaphor for existence in a chaotic but ordered world.


1. Beneath The Remains
2. Inner Self
3. Stronger Than Hate
4. Mass Hypnosis
5. Sarcastic Existence
6. Slaves Of Pain
7. Lobotomy
8. Hungry
9. Primitive Future
Length: 54:05

sepultura beneath the remains a speed metal and death metal hybrid from 1989 that raised the bar on slayer
Copyright © 1989 Roadrunner

Excellent percussion, throwing progressive beats within the alternately driving and extended-expectancy phrase-filling patterns, provides only one of the motifs which make these songs as distinctive as they are powerful. Structural riff-centric composition and unique structural vocabulary make each song stand out as demonstratively from an introductory beginning to the staggered levels of revelatory breakdown that lead each tune to peak intensity and culmination; vocal patterns, in the cadenced industrial-tribal shout which is half hoarse-vocal and half thrash rant, mold engagingly to the more complex holdback rhythms the drums have to offer, installing another measure of both singularity and energetic potency in each song. An accent of quirky and humorous but analytical lead guitar weaves through both the hauntingly unresolved dissonance that trademarks the epic aspect of this album and the solidly resounding harmonic centering with alacritous discharge of its own expectation and furious inventive anarchism.

Built from an abundance of creative riffing and expert song formation, "Beneath the Remains" is a classic that integrates two genres at the time when their ideologies fused to contribute the next step in metal's evolution to the genre. For this intensity and individualism this album rewarded its creators and listeners alike with a testament to the metallic spirit that does not age with time but holds forth its celebrative fusion of angst and joy of life for all ages to learn from.


Production: Roomiest of any Sepultura album, this production captures a refined guitar tone and excellent vocals while managing to make the drums almost too crisp to merge cleanly into the roar of charging extreme music.

Review: Sepultura was a relatively unknown quantity until the 1989 release of the groundbreaking "Beneath the Remains," which brought almost instant worldwide recognition to the Brazilian quartet. The band favors a heavy sound much like that of Slayer and is often referred to as a successor to the rulers of American industrial rock. However, Sepultura mixes a tribal rhythms and intriguing guitar work with a solid metal core, and it is this that differentiates them from their colleagues who apply different paint to the same entity and declare themselves "open-minded." The energy of previous albums is still here, on a more populist effort that brings into its core the worldwide appeal of simple motion rhythm alongside pounding speed metal/death metal hybrid riffs.


1. Arise
2. Dead embryonic cells
3. Desperate cry
4. Murder
5. Subtraction
6. Altered state
7. Under siege (Regnum irae)
8. Meaningless moments
9. Infected voice
Length: 43:27

sepultura arise a mainstreamish death metal band from 1991
Copyright © 1991 Roadrunner

"Arise" is a crucial album for the band. A first listen to this CD proves that the same drive to music with weight behind the order of its impact that, mixed with innovation that characterized Sepultura's earlier work, dominates this disk in a similar way to to its foundational genesis of other albums. Cross-cut power chord riffs pulse between varied textures of lyrical structure laid out to simple almost pop tempos with an inner life of percussive complexity. As always lead guitar is both strikingly outside and gratifyingly direct in its assonance to the music.

Lyrically this albums stands defiant, viciously dissecting society and the human condition and setting it to a stirring selection of speed metal with an overemphasis on politics but an enduring honesty of anger. The musical style is more akin to classical than to classic metal; Sepultura handily avoids the trap of trying to "sound like a metal band" at the expense of originality, creating instead an musical smorgasbord of industrial-tribal art.

This CD stands impressively despite increased populist touches. Sepultura have again produced a potent punch of ideas in an industrial thunder music sound that innovates again and stands out in a metal lineup. Although some may find the aesthetics excessive or the vocals incomprehensible, the bare sound and structure of this release is worth exploring at least. In this instance, creative metal with a perceptive edge triumphs over the indistinguishable morass of undirected anger.

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