Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sepultura - Morbid Visions: Part 9 in a 10-part series looking back at the best thrash metal albums of 1986

Throughout the year, I've been looking back at some of the best thrash metal albums of 1986 -- the year thrash hit its zenith in popularity and creativity. When possible, I've tried to interview band members, producers and others associated with the original albums. I've also tried to time the blog posts to coincide with the 25th anniversary of each album's release, although accurate release dates from 25 years ago can be hard to come by.

Sorry I'm a little late with this installment. I had hoped to land an interview with former Sepultura frontman Max Cavalera for this post, but with the end of the year fast approaching, I couldn't afford to wait any longer if I plan to finish this series this year.

Ironically, the significance of Morbid Visions lies not in the music contained within, but more in what it represents. The music itself is raw and unrefined, the lyrics are unsophisticated and the production is muddy. But the fact that it was spawned by a group of Brazilian teenagers who would ultimately go on to become one of the most innovative and influential metal bands of the late '80s and early '90s lends it credibility.

Sepultura was formed in 1984 by Max Cavalera and his brother Igor, a drummer. The brothers eventually hooked up with bassist Paulo Jr. and guitarist Jairo Guedes to form the lineup that appears on Morbid Visions. The cheesy, Satanic lyrics were the result of the band's limited English and infatuation with early Venom and Celtic Frost. In the liner notes to a later re-release of the album, Max Cavalera even admitted that the band didn't bother tuning their instruments for the Morbid Visions recording sessions.

Despite such an inauspicious start, Sepultura would go on to become one of the most popular metal bands of their era. After Morbid Visions, the band parted ways with Guedes and hired Andreas Kisser, forming the "classic" Sepultura lineup responsible for such classic albums as Beneath the Remains, Arise, Chaos A.D. and Roots (the latter two of which went Gold). Sepultura's lyrics grew more spiritual and political and their music incorporated elements of traditional Brazilian music.

Max Cavalera left the band in 1996 and formed Soulfly. Igor Cavalera left in 2007 and formed the Cavalera Conspiracy with his brother. Kisser and Paulo Jr. continue to record and perform as Sepultura, alongside guitarist/vocalist Derrick Green and new drummer Eloy Casagrande.

When I interviewed Max Cavalera last year for Phoenix New Times, I asked him about the possibility of a reunion of the classic Sepultura lineup.

"A lot of people ask me that, and sometimes I feel optimistic," Cavalera said at the time. "I convinced Igor to do it, 'cause he didn't want to have anything to do with those guys [bassist Paulo Jr. and guitarist Andreas Kisser] ever again. I convinced him to do it for me, and he said he'd do it for me if that was the case, but the other two guys, it's kinda hard. They're still trapped in an old mindset, so it's just something that's gonna have to wait. I mean, it would have been cool to do it [in 2011]."

Indeed it would have. Unfortunately, Kisser doesn't seem too keen on the idea. Maybe in another five years...

Read about the other great thrash albums of 1986:
Part 1: Metallica - Master of Puppets
Part 2: Destruction - Eternal Devastation
Part 3: Flotsam and Jetsam - Doomsday for the Deceiver
Part 4: Slayer - Reign in Blood
Part 5: Nuclear Assault - Game Over
Part 6: Possessed - Beyond the Gates
Part 7: Dark Angel - Darkness Descends
Part 8: Megadeth - Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?

1 comment:

  1. Nice to see this album getting some attention :) And the production isn't nearly as bad as people make it out to be ... strangely enough, "Bestial devastation" sounds more lo-fi. The playing is really tight, especially Igor's, and the songs, crude as they may be, are actually more listenable than most of the stuff Kisser wrote post-Max.