Morbid Visions / Bestial Devastation


Roadracer, 1991

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


As much as I like heavy metal, one band I never got into was Sepultura. It wasn’t that I didn’t like them; I just never chose to listen to them when they were first coming up in the scene and didn’t try to begin to catch up to their discography as I’ve moved along in life.

So, what better place for a neophyte to the world of Sepultura to begin than Morbid Visions / Bestial Devastation, a reissue of their first full-length disc from 1986 (initially released on Cogumelo Records) paired with their half of a split-disc the previous year with Overdose?my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The initial thought about the band—at the time, comprised of brothers Max and Igor Cavalera and Jairo Tormentor—is that, for 1985/1986, they were simply a poor man’s Slayer. They had the speed and dark lyrics down pat. What they didn’t quite have yet was the tightness a band should have. A slight breakdown of tempo on “Morbid Visions,” where Igor Cavalera’s drums seem to be out of sync with the guitar work, suggests the band hadn’t properly gelled as a unit yet.

The musicianship is one strike against Sepultura; while I understand every band has to get their start somewhere and be given room to cut their musical teeth, by the time they go into the studio, they should have that aspect of the band refined. However, the overall production is typical of speed/death metal circa the mid-’80s; while not terrible, it leaves a lot to be desired, and doesn’t highlight the performances as well as it could have. Finally, the band’s songwriting skills aren’t quite up to par yet. Again, songs like “Crucifixion” and “Empire Of The Damned” (from Morbid Visions) and “Necromancer” (from Bestial Devastation) reflect the status of speed/death metal at the time, but they suggest that Sepultura was capable of so much more and being so much better. (Why a demo version of “Necromancer” had to be added on to the 1991 reissue, I don’t quite understand.)

All of that said, Morbid Visions / Bestial Devastation isn’t a terrible disc. It’s the kind of music you want playing on days when your mood ring is so dark it’s capable of exploding; think of it as a kind of musical electrotherapy. But I can’t rightfully say that it’s the kind of disc I’d find myself going back to again and again.

Fans of Sepultura will probably want this disc in their collections, if only to hear the roots, bloody roots of the group. For the casual fan, it might be worth a passing listen, but is not essential.

Rating: C

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