Album Review – In Torment / Sphere Of Metaphysical Incarnations (2014)

Surrender to the power of the “sphere” of extreme metal by one of the best Death Metal bands from Brazil.

Rating4

1 - coverDon’t you just love when behind massive amounts of savagery there’s a very solid and appealing storyline? That makes the whole experience of listening to an extreme metal band even better, which is exactly the case with Brazilian Technical/Brutal Death Metal band In Torment and their brand new concept album, the sonic carnage entitled Sphere Of Metaphysical Incarnations. Talking about the birth of a new god and a conscious sphere of energy becoming a living organism, this album simply kicks ass.

Forged in 1997 under the name of Torment in the city of São Leopoldo, in the south of Brasil, In Torment’s musicality can be compared to Death Metal icons such as Brazilian countrymen Krisiun or American behemoths Cannibal Corpse, mainly due to the refined technique of each band member. Not only that, lead singer Alex Zuchi is also a writer, having already released a romance entitled “A Transcedência da Carne”, or “The Transcendence of the Flesh” in English. In addition, take a look at the very detailed album booklet and you’ll also find very interesting quotes by Henry Bergson, Carl Jung and Oscar Wilde. Do I need to say more?

However, as we’re here to talk about Death Metal, it’s when the music starts that things reach another level, with the violent blast beats, riffs and solos found in the opening track, The Unnatural Conception, being boosted by the demonic vocals by Alex Zuchi. This is one hundred percent what Death Metal music needs to be good, don’t you agree? In the following track, Divine Universal Awareness, In Torment continue with their feast of violence accompanied by a truly interesting storyline as you can notice in the lyrics (“Exploring the mysteries of the universe / The mutual hatred keeps feeding me / As the conversion riddle is exposed”). Moreover, despite being so barbaric, the instrumental is so technical it gets even progressive sometimes.

Drummer Dio (who has just left the band, being replaced by Cássio Canto) dictates the devastation in Into Abyssal Landscapes with his nonstop drumming and sick breaks, with the guitars by Alexandre Graessler and Rafael Giovanoli offering the listener some polished but very aggressive riffs, followed by The Threshold (Transcending the Matter), with its interesting narration as an intro and Alex Zuchi showcasing a wider vocal range in this song, “abandoning” his characteristic deep guttural for some harsher screams in parts of it. And let’s not forget the beautiful solo by Rafael Giovanoli, which makes the whole song even more exciting.

6-7The title-track, Sphere of Metaphysical Incarnations, slows things down a little, albeit it’s heavier than all previous tracks due to the nice job done on guitars again. Also, the most interesting detail in this song is that it tells us what or who the sphere really is, keeping us all avid for more of the “sphere”. The next track, Far Beyond Mortality, is a very exciting tune with lots of variations thanks to its intense drumming, with highlights to its always-evolving lyrics (“The sphere grows as a living entity / Guided by a single mind”).

Mechanisms of Domination, a little more modern than all previous tracks (especially its riffs), is pure headbanging and slamming until the end with the band showing no mercy for our necks and bodies, followed by one of the shortest songs of the album, the awesome The Extinction Process. The name of the song says it all: it’s everything a hardcore Death Metal fan wants, with sheer brutality converted into music by outstanding musicians. And finally, closing the album we have the very technical instrumental track Beholding the Everlasting, another good example of how those guys master their instruments.

What are you waiting for to surrender to the power of the “sphere”? Show all your support to this incredible band by visiting their official Facebook page, buying their music and attending their concerts. While the sphere becomes a living organism, In Torment become one of the best extreme bands in the history of Brazilian metal and are ready to conquer the entire world of heavy music.

Best moments of the album: The Unnatural Conception, Far Beyond Mortality and The Extinction Process.

Worst moments of the album: Mechanisms of Domination.

Released in 2014 Rapture Records

Track listing
1. The Unnatural Conception 3:51
2. Divine Universal Awareness 3:14
3. Into Abyssal Landscapes 4:14
4. The Threshold (Transcending the Matter) 3:47
5. Sphere of Metaphysical Incarnations 5:44
6. Far Beyond Mortality 4:00
7. Mechanisms of Domination 3:38
8. The Extinction Process 2:48
9. Beholding the Everlasting 2:40

Band members
Alex Zuchi – vocals
Alexandre Graessler – guitars
Rafael Giovanoli – guitars
Bruno Fogaça – bass
Dio – drums*

*Dio has recently left the band to focus on his personal projects, being replaced by Cássio Canto. 

Album Review – Sepultura / Roots (1996)

“Sepultura do Brasil” changed the world of music with the most creative Thrash Metal album of all time.

Rating2

Sepultura_-_RootsThe year of 1996 was a very special year in my life: it was my last year in high school, I finally turned 18, I was dating the most beautiful girl of the entire school, and in terms of music I saw Maiden live for the first time as well as some other awesome bands such as Helloween, Manowar, The Ramones, and my countrymen from Sepultura. I used to love listening to Beneath the Remains, Arise and Chaos A.D., but they simply blew my mind with the most innovative Thrash Metal album of all time: Roots.

Every relevant Thrash Metal band in the world has at least one unique album that redefined that music genre somehow, like Bonded by Blood from Exodus or Reign in Blood from Slayer. In the case of Sepultura, it was Roots that made them reach the top of the charts and become a reference for all future Thrash Metal bands. There were so many new elements in this album that I could spend hours writing about each one of them, but I’ll focus on the most important one in my opinion, which was Max Cavalera’s voice. He brilliantly turned his voice into a musical instrument, reaching some insane notes and sounding more violent than ever, changing the way many other guttural singers used their voices from that year on. Check out at the end of this post the video for Roots Bloody Roots, Sepultura’s all-time classic, and you’ll be able to see how his voice fully integrates with the other instruments giving a special punch to the whole album.

Sepultura-RootsThe most famous songs from Roots are Roots Bloody Roots, of course, Attittude with its amazing riffs and lyrics, and my least favorite one Ratamahatta (the lyrics don’t make any sense at all, it’s just a bunch of stupid disconnected Brazilian words, with a guest musician that makes me want to vomit just by hearing his name). However, you must pay attention carefully to the rest of the album because there are so many good guitar riffs, lyrics and percussion that will make you listen to Roots non-stop for weeks. You’ll find heavy and violent tracks, such as Straighthate, Spit, Cut-Thorat and Dictatorshit; some songs that were unimaginable for a Thrash Metal band before that like Lookaway (with the crazy Mike Patton as a special guest) and Ambush; and some material that doesn’t even sound Metal, but are extremely important for the album concept: Jasco and Itsári, this one being recorded with an aboriginal tribe in Brazil called the Xavantes. All songs connected, all representing a sad and violent side of Brazil. And the front cover is just amazing, perfectly summarizing the whole album in one single image.

My version of the album (which was probably the one released only in Brazil) had two great covers for Celtic Frost’s Procreation of the Wicked and Sabbath’s Symptom of the Universe, this one also featuring in that good Sabbath tribute called Nativity in Black. If you don’t have these two songs in your version of Roots, you should go after them.

There are very few things that make me proud of being Brazilian, and Sepultura and Roots are part of this “selected” group. This album is so great that it has not only changed Thrash Metal, it has changes music in general. Sepultura do Brasil! Um, dois, três… VAI!

Best moments of the album: Roots Bloody Roots, Attitude, Straighthate and Born Stubborn.

Worst moments of the album: Ratamahatta and Endangered Species.

Released in 1996 Roadrunner Records

Track listing
1. Roots Bloody Root 3:32
2. Attitude 4:15
3. Cut-Throat 2:44
4. Ratamahatta 4:30
5. Breed Apart 4:01
6. Straighthate 5:21
7. Spit 2:45
8. Lookaway 5:26
9. Dusted 4:03
10. Born Stubborn 4:07
11. Jasco (instrumental) 1:57
12. Itsári (instrumental) 4:48
13. Ambush 4:39
14. Endangered Species 5:19
15. Dictatorshit 1:26

Band members
Max Cavalera – vocals, rhythm guitar, 4-string guitar, berimbau
Igor Cavalera – drums, percussion, timbau, djembe
Paulo Jr. – bass guitar, timbau grandé
Andreas Kisser – lead guitar, sitar, backing vocals