SEPULTURA - Morbid Visions (ROADRACER - LP 1991)
Sepultura… Yeah, that band really meant something back in the early 90’s. They were one of the first extreme metal bands, which I started to listen to and which I became fan of (and when I started to learn how to play guitar I played maniacally some of their songs, trying to play them as fast as Cavalera and Kisser… sick!). They were also a mandatory band for all metal maniacs here in Poland; whether you preferred death or thrash metal, you would always like Sepultura. There was something unique about this band; maybe it was because where they came from, or maybe just because they were very talented musicians… all in all, there was no metal fan back then, who wouldn’t have their cassettes in collection (CDs were still a rare thing)! Nowadays it is obviously different, the band is barely a shadow or caricature of what they once have been, in my opinion, their last really killer album for me is “Arise”… Yeah, an album from 1991! But this is exactly the same what I can say about Slayer or Metallica. The last really good albums of all these bands have been released in 1991, sorry to say so… ever since then all these bands started to play something what I cannot stand at all. Anyway, speaking about Sepultura I can even tolerate the modern metal they did on “Chaos A.D.” and the tribal metal of “Roots”, but to see this band without Max Cavalera behind the microphone is just enough and beyond my tolerance. For me this band doesn’t exist for almost 20 years now. Anyway, I still like to listen to some of the old Sepultura records and this week I decided to play a record, which I haven’t listened to for something like 15 years. This is Sepultura’s classic debut LP “Morbid Visions”. It is not the album, with which I started to listen to this band back in 1991, it was “Beneath the Remains”, but obviously I also had “Morbid Visions” in my tape collections. Nowadays I have it on vinyl, the old Roadracer version, which comes with “Bestial Devastation” MLP as a bonus, so it is a great collector’s item for sure. And despite having so many years, this vinyl still plays great. And despite not listening to it for so many years, I still remember every sound from it perfectly.
In my humble opinion “Morbid Visions” is not the best Sepultura LP, maybe it is only like my third favourite – after “Beneath the Remains” and “Schizophrenia” (and who knows, maybe I also prefer “Arise” over it??). Anyway, it definitely is an album, which can be called classic and cult release. Recorded back in 1986 (and “Bestial Devastation” MLP back in 1985) it was one of the first as harsh, as raw and obscure, relentless and brutal, evil metal releases of all time. In my opinion it is even more aggressive and darker than “Seven Churches” and for sure it equals such classics as “Endless Pain”, “Bathory”, “Show No Mercy”, “Hell Awaits” or “In the Sign of Evil”.
There are two things, which I need to point out about “Morbid Visions”. First of all, it is the production of this album. I must say that it is not my favourite sound, Sepultura sounds terribly messy and poor here, sometimes it almost feels like the band was just loosing the rhythm, played terribly uneven or something, creating a chaos and distortion. But despite that, it all seems fine anyway. Why? Well, it is because of the songs, which are on “Morbid Visions”. To be honest with you, you’ll find here some of the most memorable and classic riffs / songs of all time, when speaking of such extreme death / black / thrash metal. Track number three – “Troops of Doom” – is the most obvious example. For sure it is one of the most memorable and classic Sepultura songs ever, I especially like its opening theme, with that fantastic and catchy riff; oh, what a characteristic and timeless tune! It is almost pity that such an excellent riff is so short and will not be repeated later in the song, as it soon speeds up and gets way more extreme than this memorable opening part. But extreme is almost the entire album, often it is just incredibly fast and I can say that it is probably one of the fastest and most intense LPs of the time of its original release. And it is just great that all this relentlessness comes in hand together with catchy riffs, memorable choruses and just great songs – my favourites along with the one, which I mentioned already, would definitely be the title track (“Morbid Visionnsssss” – scream!), “Crucifixion” (oh, what a massacre!!), “Show Me the Wrath”, “Funeral Rites” (which has a lot of similar patterns to “Troops of Doom”, really)… All have some absolutely amazing parts and each also has that kind of chorus, where you just must join Max Cavalera and just scream the texts! I love them all, Sepultura created an evil and obscure atmosphere like no other band around and it just sounds great, even if that production could have been better (for instance I think I prefer the sound of “Bestial Devastation” little bit more). And besides, just listen to Max Cavalera’s voice – he does sound like a ghoul here (and his lyrics were all about the dark stuff: satanic, death, violence, rituals… classic metal stuff, far more what I like than reading about some Brazilian tribes living in the jungle or the police violence).
And speaking of “Bestial Devastation”, this EP has been added to “Morbid Visions” LP re-release from Roadracer and it is great, as this EP contains such classics as “Antichrist” and “Necromancer” – another classic Sepultura tunes. And who cares if the artwork for this MLP is just primitive and childish and the logo is awful? This is a killer beginning of a legendary band (which luckily soon changed their logo for the one from “Morbid Visions”- and it is one of the best logos EVER!). Musically I guess “Bestial Devastation” feels slightly more thrashy and not as obscure and aggressive as the full length album (did they sound more like Sodom or is it just me??), but obviously it also was pretty damn violent and crude stuff.
In the end I must say that I cannot imagine a metalhead, who doesn’t own “Morbid Visions”. This is one of those classic records, which are mandatory and which will always be praised. And who cares if the album may seem to get old quite badly and feels very, very archaic nowadays? I surely don’t, as this is why it also has a specific charm, feeling and atmosphere, which nowadays are almost impossible to capture.
Standout tracks: “Troops of Doom”, “Crucifixion”, “Morbid Visions”, “Show Me the Wrath”, “Funeral Rites”
Final rate: 85/100