EP/Album Review: Cavalera (Conspiracy) – Bestial Devastation / Morbid Visions

Max and Iggor Cavalera join forces and revisit their early music years by re-recording Sepultura’s first two releases: 1985’s Bestial Devastation and 1986’s Morbid Visions, not only boasting new artwork but each one also containing a new, never before heard track.

Granted there will be people who may simply see this a nothing but a cash cow, but I have to admit that I understand why the brothers have wanted to do it. Teenagers when they created these and not the best production/sound, etc.

First up is EP Bestial Devastation and after the short intro that is “The Curse” is the title track “Bestial Devastation” which immediately justifies the-re recordings. It’s absolutely blistering and the drumming is honestly the best I’ve heard from Iggor in years.

Every track still maintains the rawness of the originals but Max’s vocals are still are primal. “Antichrist” still manages to feel nostalgic, as too does follow up solo-laden “Necromancer”.

Up next is still my favourite track “Warriors Of Death” before we are treated to the final offering. A new and unheard song, “Sexta Feira 13” (Friday the 13th), not only fits well with the release but adds another dynamic as it is in the Cavalera’s native tongue.

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Then we have the full album Morbid Visions. Very much the like the previous release, it features the title track earlier on. I get that it makes sense that both get released on the same day, but the EP has the more visceral start. “Morbid Visions” is delivered well, but only just hit the mark for me.

“Mayhem” and “Troops of Doom” more than make up for this though, with the latter’s prominent bass lines dominating. Even after many decades “War” still makes we want to open up a circle pit for one, and honestly I had forgotten how much I love the opening riff to “Crucifixion”!

The triple threat of “Show Me The Wrath”, “Funeral Rites”, and “Empire Of The Damned” still make up the heartbeat of this album. It was one of the first examples of a slower, menacing approach being used and managing to make the experience one of a pulverising nature.

The re-recording ends with its newest addition, “Burn The Dead”. What I love about this is that it is made of riffs which sound like they come from around the time of the album’s original release. They don’t feel like bonus “new” tracks but ones should have been there the whole time.

Encased with a raw and timeless spirit.

Second opinion (Mosh): Rick has mentioned a few things I would have covered, and it’s a shame that so much of the internet babble has been “why bother?”, and “cash cow” and “we want new stuff”. I get that, but I also get that I heard the re-recorded version of “Troops of Doom” on Schizophrenia years ago and even at that time it made me wonder what the first two releases would sound like, in whole, re-recorded with an actual budget.

Honestly, though? Not like this. The Schizo version is as much a remix as it is a re-recording, with added drum sounds and a long intro. It’s beefier, chunkier, and lower-toned and faster – and I do still like it for that, like comparing “Mechanix” to “The Four Horsemen”. The original is quite reedy and echoing (as was the entire of Bestial Devastation!) and those guttural growls at the beginning fit the “I’m a teenager, hear me be evil” vibe. There are fast flurries, but the Schizo version just seems to have a faster tempo. Just look at the running times for a clue.

So where does the Cavalera version fit in? It’s much closer to the 1986 release, though the guitar sounds are a slightly lower tone and just… better. The growls and grunts are there (though Max is hardly a teenager any more!) and there are little tiny bits here and there that niggle purely as they’re different. The echo on the vocals are still there, but overall it’s a more faithful rendition than the Schizo one. It’s not as overproduced, somehow managing to sound like a more rounded production without losing the visceral, “in a garage” edge of the 1980’s.

Is it a worthwhile release given that people are howling for new classic Seps sounds? If it means that the brothers could tour off the back of it and give a new lease of live life to these 15 songs, then why not?

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Bestial Devastation and Morbid Visions are out on July 14th

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