Bestial Devastation/Morbid Visions EP

Back in the 80’s a little known Brazilian act called Sepultura, set out to conquer the metal world, but their early recordings were a tough listen for many.  Their 1985 ep Bestial Devastation and debut album a year later Morbid Visions, caused underground waves throughout the death metal scene.  Chuck Schuldiner, from Death, wearing Sepultura shirts early on was an encouragement for fans to check out this underground act.  Drummer Igor Cavalera would go on to say years later getting signed to Cogumelo Records was fantastic, however, the limited recoding budgets left a lot to be desired.

The band recorded with producers who had no clue what metal was and when the band walked into the studio, Igor had to play the in-studio drums that were provided.  So on both these releases the double bass has a flip-floppity sound, but he will admit to being new to playing drums as well.  Brother, Max, guitarist and vocalist, has similar recollections about the mics and guitars.  Rather than go through the entire lesson of both brothers existing Sepultura at different times, both reunited years ago under the Cavalera Conspiracy name and released several albums and toured.  Everyone wants that true Sepultura reunion to happen and likely it never will, so a few years ago Max and Igor dropped the Conspiracy, now going under Cavalera and having the band logo in the old school Sepultura font.

The band played at MDF in 2022 and played a collection of songs off the Sepultura classic albums Beneath the Remains and Arise.  I saw the band back in the day, their first US tour with Sadus and Obituary and Cavalera brought that energy at MDF.  The pits at MDF were non-stop, during the fast parts too and I realized this new Cavalera incarnation was a big F You to current Sepultura members.  The brothers knowing full well a reunion will not happen wanted to give all us fans the next greatest thing.  So they went on a tour after MDF and played to packed crowds nightly.

They get signed to Nuclear Blast Records and it’s announced not only are they going on a Fall 2023 tour called Morbid Devastation with Exhumed and Incite but they have re-recorded the Sepultura releases Bestial Devastation and Morbid Visions and the tour will feature these songs played.  I’m a tremendous old school Sepultura fan, and believe it or not I do like some of the earlier Sepultura albums without Max – Roorback, is their best.  People know I am not a fan of re-recordings, however…stop the clock, what Cavalera has done is insanely amazing.  The Cavalera brothers mission was to recapture the old school energy of those earlier songs and keep them pure.  They have done that.  Now is the production better than 1985 and have both guys improved exponentially on their instruments since then? – absolutely.  However the recording is still raw, to an extent, and they in fact capture that 80’s intensity and these re-recordings are quite honestly fucking killer!  To go along with the re-recordings, the band reimagined the original cover art for each release and yes they even capture the original, but made them more modern without forgetting the original artwork, such as keeping the original title font, present on each release.

A few songs noteworthy – “Antichrist” from Bestial Devastation always had a very early primitive blast beat, from Igor.  Well over 30 years later the man has remained one of the top extreme metal drummers…so he keeps the primate nature of that blast, but adds even more speed and it’s super tight, stop on a dime type of shit.  Some added nuances to “Warriors of Death”, like Max chanting in the background, are super cool and when that massive groove riff hits towards the end of the song, it is heavy AF.  Oh….Max, we cannot forget you, ya bastid.  Max recaptures his early death metal voice and while he enunciates better now and is a better all-around vocalist after all these years, he harnesses his death metal inner self and sounds vicious.   The new recorded song “Sexta Feira 13” is written as if it was 1985, and is an intense new song, which I hope they play live on the tour.

Morbid Visions skips the long intro from the original album and slams right into the title track and Max’ growl in the beginning and then the deliberate proficiency this song is played will knock you and your Chipotle strewn ass 10 miles from here to eternity.  I was hesitant at first of hearing these re-recorded songs because I loved the original recordings, ever since I got them in the 80’s and to hear the band not fuck with the nuts and bolts of the songs is excellent to hear.  Take for instance “Troops of Doom”.  When the Cavalera’s were in Sepultura they re-recorded this classic song in the early 90’s and the new version sped up the original and added a jumpiness to it.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved it, but to hear Cavalera re-record “Troops of Doom” and keeping the original song in its purest form is bliss.  The opening slow doom parts is not sped up, but kept just like it was recorded in 1986 and I cannot wait to hear them play this live.  Honestly the opening of the part, I am not standing anywhere near the fucking pit.  Ooohhhh Not for my safety…for the safety of my fellow friends.  I may just pick up that entire pit and drop an atomic elbow on it and I really don’t want to hurt anyone at the show, so I will stay free and clear.  You can all thank me later.  The rest of the songs are played with ferocity and the new song “Burn the Dead”, sounds as if the 1986 Sepultura line-up was still around and recording.  Igor’s blast beats on this track are omfg, will blast your head right off your pathetic shoulders and Max sounds so maddening awesome.

I cannot stop listening to these re-recordings.  Are they better than the originals?  No, back then these 2 releases were about as evil as you could get back then in terms of death metal, but in terms of re-recordings.  These 2 releases smoke any re-recordings I have ever heard and I think it’s in part due to Max and Igor capturing the energy of those releases and keeping to the raw and primitive musicianship from that time period.  If you are an old school Sepultura fan, then trust and believe from this guy who has been a music collector for 4 decades, that the metal royalty duo known as the Cavalera Brothers have recaptured the true ferocious nature of what Sepultura was first known for!  Hail Satan!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
July 24th, 2023


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