Though arguably not as large or well known as the North American or European thrash metal movements, 80s Brazilian thrash ably bridged the gap between thrash, the then burgeoning death metal scene and, later in the decade, the first-wave of black metal.
Presented in alphabetical order as opposed to ranking….
The Mist – Phantasmagoria (1989)
With ex-Chakal members filling the ranks (Chakal‘s Abominable Anno Domini is also well worth checking out), The Mist already had pedigree but, in truth, this uber-cult band were operating on another sphere entirely to Chakal, DORSAL ATLÂNTICA and Overdose etc; ultimately embracing a schizophrenic approach to their technically audacious brand of thrashing rage.
With the likes of “A Step In The Dark’ toying with time signatures and shifting moods at will, The Mist dialled down the outright aggression of the majority of their contemporaries and took a more considered approach. The results were impressive to say the least – despite a middling production job – and The Mist‘s compositional skills alongside the overall variety found on Phantasmagoria‘s 10 tracks means it comes highly, and we mean highly, recommended.
A hidden gem from the heyday of Brazilian thrash!
Mutilator – Immortal Force (1987)
Highly influential in the Brazilian thrash / extreme metal scene, Mutilator‘s full-length debut was a death/thrash colossus and this Brazilian version of Slayer was as rough, ready and downright reprehensible as they come!
Living up to its name, Immortal Force was an unnatural assault on the senses with its lo-fi production and chaotic nature ably conveying its intimidatingly savage approach via potent energy and unhinged malice. None more so than on blistering closer, “Paranoic Command”; a song so relentlessly un-remorseful that Kerry King himself would have shit the bed upon hearing it.
In what was a crowded scene, Mutilator out-thrashed the majority of their peers and released a bone fide underground classic at the first time of asking.
Sepultura – Beneath The Remains (1989)
An all-time death/thrash classic, Beneath The Remains fully marked the emergence of one of metal’s most enduring talent’s and laid down the gauntlet to thrash metal bands the world over. According to vocalist Max Cavalera, Sepultura had “really found [their] style” on that album and you’d be a fool to argue with that particular sentiment.
The epitome of all killer – no filler, a de riguer acoustic intro gave way to Beneath The Remains’ incendiary title track and the ‘Seps’ were off and running; thrashing with more aggression and more intensity than the majority of their peers could ever hope to muster. “Inner Self” and “Stronger Than Hate” then offered the ‘hits’ before the riff-fest of “Mass Hypnosis” garnered Sepultura ultimate technical bragging rights!
A brutal indictment of growing up in the favelas of Brazil, Sepultura harnessed their experiences and produced a visceral, primitive sound, bringing world music to the thrash scene and setting themselves up as one of extreme metal’s finest ever bands.
Sepultura – Schizophrenia (1987)
Two Sepultura albums feels gluttonous but then Max Cavalera is a ‘big chap’ and Sepultura were leaders of the Brazilian thrash scene for one bloody good reason – they were the fuckin’ best around!
Schizophrenia was already more than hinting at the genius to come (we refer, of course, to Beneath The Remains and Arise) and here was a band maturing quickly and packing a hefty arsenal of songs in their back pocket to boot. The arrival of guitarist Andreas Kisser bought with him a better sense of dynamics and the band were fast finding their feet and making waves on the international scene.
Their growth when compared to the primitive clatter of Morbid Visions truly was remarkable and just one listen to riff-fests “From The Past Comes the Storm” and “Escape From The Void” (not forgetting their re-worked version of the apocalyptic “Troops Of Doom”) signalled the arrival of a new dominant force in thrash. From here, Sepultura would simply go from strength to strength.
We acknowledge that Morbid Visions probably deserves a place in this list but, for the sake of diversity, we’re limiting Sepultura to just the two albums!
Vulcano – Bloody Vengeance (1986)
Vulcano‘s standing as Brazilian thrash legends is well known in the underground and it all started here.
Woeful production aside, Vulcano‘s Bloody Venegeance was an all-out assault of charred fury. In 1986, this was extreme metal and Vulcano – such was the force of their conviction and evil inten – shared a sonic kinship with the likes of Hellhammer and Bathory. With tracks such as “Holocaust” straddling the fine line between black metal’s nihilistic fervour and the head banging groove and accessibility of Bay Area thrash, Vulcano‘s influence on a young Sepultura (who were clearly paying attention) becomes clear to hear.
Bloody Vengeance was 23 minutes of hellish blackened death/thrash and the true sound of bestial devastation!
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