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Sepultura - Morbid Visions/Bestial Devastation

It is hard to get better than this album. It's pure guts and spirit.

I had a copy of Morbid Visions on the infamous Shark records release, complete with the "Carmina Burana" intro, but I'd had trouble hunting down a clean copy of Bestial Devastation. I found out that Roadrunner had re-released these, at the apex of Sepultura's popularity after Beneath the Remains, on a rainy night in Southern California. I'd walked a few miles down the highway and wandered into the record store I almost never went to, a mainstream one, by the shopping center. As it turned out, this was a good move, since they never got death metal customers and so would sell it for pennies. For $7.95 I walked away with a used copy of this album, took it home and put it on the stereo. I never stopped listening to it, although I've taken breaks to hear other albums, get some degrees, have a few jobs and a family.

This album is death metal perfection. It takes what made Slayer great, which is love of the expressive riff. Not just the cool riff, or the groovy riff, but a riff that sounds like the song topic. These songs are basically a chord progression with chromatic riffs built around each of its points, like an insane Qabbalah of occult tones. The riffs sound like the things they describe. Knitted together, each riff only makes sense after you've heard the next one and seen where the story goes. The result is an exuberant chaos yet the tightest loops you can imagine, everything fitting together without an ounce of fat. Underneath this, racing battledrums are coordinated like a small army of horsemen; above it, a gruff voice howls out a monotonic rhythm that makes each song catchy and frees up the guitars to raise hell. Together, the two albums form a continuous entity, although it has two voices. The first sounds more like guitarist/vocalist Wagner Antichrist's previous band, Sarcofago. The second sounds more like early Slayer, Possessed and Bathory, but with greater density of riff complexity. The result is pure metal beauty.

Like many great things, "this album is not for everyone." Musical purists will complain about the lack of scales or the haphazard use of dissonance in jumbled almost pure-noise solos. People from the newer metal genres will be unable to tap into the pure animal spirit and feral misanthropy of this album. For most people, it will simply be too abrasive without a sense of groove or drop like nu-metal has. People don't realize they're scared of this; they just back away. They retreat because it has a purity of spirit and strength of conviction, an intensity of imagination and a mythopoetic view of the world, that is simply not from this self-doubting materialistic and soulless modern time. As the rubble falls, this album rises above, and that's why I listen to it daily, or more frequently if I can.

"War!"

- found the link

Early Sepultura is phenomenal, but I wouldn't put it at the level of death metal perfection. I think Seven Churches, Rigor Mortis and Freaks, Horrified, and Altars of Madness all achieve something equal to or greater in a similar category of sound. I would even go so far as to say that this style, while clearly powerful and engaging, is not the pinnacle of what death metal can accomplish. An album like Onward to Golgotha has greater range, consistency of quality, and vision.

Regardless, this material is clearly up there with Hellhammer and other early pioneering bands having etched itself into the very fabric of metal history.

I don't know if I want to compare this to other releases. I think it stands on its own.

For whatever reason, Possessed and Death seem to me as the most "speed metal" of the early death metal bands. I like the riff labyrinth approach better.

I'm assuming your keyboard broke before you could type the magic word M-A-S-S-A-C-R-A as well.

I can't see Repulsion as anything but grind. Great fucking grind, up there with Carbonized, Terrorizer, and Carcass. I'm a fag and I like later Napalm Death. The 14-second songs are cute but useless as listening.

Wagner Antichrist's previous band, Sarcofago

Wagner joined Sarcofago after he left Sepultura.

I think this album is due for a vinyl reissue... and not some ridiculous triple, colored Lp bullshit like they did for Cianide's - A descent into hell, what a waste.

Another deceiving album that sounds awfully simple at first, but is built to last.  This and Massacra - Final Holocaust compliment each other well.  Btw, "phrasal" death metal - Massacra, Sepultura, Vader....who else?  Mortem?  Beneath the Remains as well?

The deceptiveness of an album like this is that it almost sounds like the same 2 or 3 songs played over and over if you're not paying close attention.

Hey my wishes came true!, this has been released once again on vinyl.  It is a bootleg but an exact replica of the first issue on Cogumelo Records.  It had been a little while since I last heard this, I can't wait to give it a spin!  I'll let you all know how to boot sounds.

This is one of those albums meant to be committed to [edit: permanent] memory, to the point where the mere mention of it has your mind's ear recalling it in intricate detail.

Morbid Visions is the only older Sepultura recording I haven't heard yet. Looks like I know what's next on my "must-listen-to" list.

The deceptiveness of an album like this is that it almost sounds like the same 2 or 3 songs played over and over if you're not paying close attention.


That would mean like 98% of death metal albums are deceptive.

The deceptiveness of an album like this is that it almost sounds like the same 2 or 3 songs played over and over if you're not paying close attention.


That would mean like 98% of death metal albums are deceptive.
Sure, but not to the degree of Morbid Visions (in fact I do consider metal to be deceptive in general).  After the 2nd track it sounds like one big song.  Also think about these albums:
Blessed are the Sick
Beyond Sanctorum
North From Here
I would put these in direct contrast to Morbid Vision to see what I'm talking about. 

On the other hand, something like The Karelian Isthums would be a pretty good comparison to MV/BD in this sense, but the songs still differentiate themselves more then Morbid Visions/Bestial Devastation.

I think Blasphemy is like the Black Metal version of this.

The deceptiveness of an album like this is that it almost sounds like the same 2 or 3 songs played over and over if you're not paying close attention.


That would mean like 98% of death metal albums are deceptive.
Sure, but not to the degree of Morbid Visions (in fact I do consider metal to be deceptive in general).  After the 2nd track it sounds like one big song.  Also think about these albums:
Blessed are the Sick
Beyond Sanctorum
North From Here
I would put these in direct contrast to Morbid Vision to see what I'm talking about. 

On the other hand, something like The Karelian Isthums would be a pretty good comparison to MV/BD in this sense, but the songs still differentiate themselves more then Morbid Visions/Bestial Devastation.

Yes. This approach would emphasize structural development through internal dynamics. Where does Onwards to Golgotha fit in?

I think Blasphemy is like the Black Metal version of this.
I think that's a good call.  I was gonna say Graveland - Thousand Swords...but that would come closer to paralleling a Karellian Isthmus if we were to continue the comparison.