Brazilian thrash metal

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Brazilian thrash metal is a regional scene of thrash metal music that originated during the 1980s in Brazil. Along with Bay Area thrash metal and Teutonic thrash metal, it was one of the major scenes of thrash metal in the 1980s. Though not as large or well known as the North American or European thrash movements, it is still a pivotal point in heavy metal, as it bridges the gap between the thrash of the mid-1980s and the death metal scene later in the decade, as well as part of the first-wave black metal.

Thrash metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music characterized by its overall aggression and often fast tempo. The songs usually use fast percussive beats and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead guitar work. The lyrical subject matter often deals with criticisms of The Establishment, and at times shares a disdain for Christian dogma resembling that of their black metal counterparts. The language is typically quite direct and denunciatory, an approach borrowed from hardcore punk.

Brazil Federal republic in South America

Brazil, officially the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers and with over 208 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area and the fifth most populous. Its capital is Brasília, and its most populated city is São Paulo. The federation is composed of the union of the 26 states, the Federal District, and the 5,570 municipalities. It is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in the Americas; it is also one of the most multicultural and ethnically diverse nations, due to over a century of mass immigration from around the world.

Bay Area thrash metal, or "Bay Area thrash", referred to a steady following of heavy metal bands in the 1980s who formed and gained international status in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. Along with South Florida, the scene was widely regarded as a starting point of American thrash metal and death metal.



Cover of Ultimatum Split by Dorsal Atlantica and Metalmorphose, 1984 Ultimatumsplit.jpg
Cover of Ultimatum Split by Dorsal Atlântica and Metalmorphose, 1984

1980s: The beginning

During the early eighties, bands from the United States, Germany and Canada, such as Metallica and Slayer (U.S.), Destruction and Kreator (Germany), and Voivod and Exciter (Canada) appeared. At the same time, Brazil had a growing scene as well, and were also influenced by the same music: NWOBHM and hardcore punk.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of more than 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Canada Country in North America

Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Canada's southern border with the United States, stretching some 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi), is the world's longest bi-national land border. Its capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. As a whole, Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land area being dominated by forest and tundra. Consequently, its population is highly urbanized, with over 80 percent of its inhabitants concentrated in large and medium-sized cities, with 70% of citizens residing within 100 kilometres (62 mi) of the southern border. Canada's climate varies widely across its vast area, ranging from arctic weather in the north, to hot summers in the southern regions, with four distinct seasons.

Brazilian rock has its roots in the 1960s, developing from the movement called Jovem Guarda, passing through the stages of progressive rock and finally transgressing into heavy metal. In 1982, the first Brazilian heavy metal LP was released by the band Stress from the city of Belém from northern Brazil. The punk scene in São Paulo was emerging as well, the band Restos de Nada ("Remains of Nothing") were formed in 1978.

Brazilian rock refers to rock music produced in Brazil and usually sung in Portuguese. In the 1960s it was known as "iê-iê-iê", originating from the Portuguese translation of the "yeah, yeah, yeah" Beatles lyrics.

Jovem Guarda was primarily a Brazilian musical television show first aired by Rede Record in 1965, though the term soon expanded so as to designate the entire movement and style surrounding it. The members of the program were singers who had been influenced by the American rock n' roll of the late 1950s and British Invasion bands of the 1960s, though the music often became softer, more naïve versions with light, romantic lyrics aimed at teenagers. They were Roberto Carlos, Erasmo Carlos and Wanderléa, with other bands and musicians appearing on the show as guests.

Progressive rock is a broad genre of rock music that developed in the United Kingdom and United States throughout the mid- to late 1960s. Initially termed "progressive pop", the style was an outgrowth of psychedelic bands who abandoned standard pop traditions in favour of instrumentation and compositional techniques more frequently associated with jazz, folk, or classical music. Additional elements contributed to its "progressive" label: lyrics were more poetic, technology was harnessed for new sounds, music approached the condition of "art", and the studio, rather than the stage, became the focus of musical activity, which often involved creating music for listening rather than dancing.

The European and North American heavy metal and hardcore have been a great influence on all these bands, but the first thrash metal (or speed metal) album released officially in Brazil was a split album between two bands in 1984. The split album Ultimatum , with bands Dorsal Atlântica and Metalmorphose, came out around the same time as Kill 'Em All by Metallica, War and Pain by Voivod, and Sentence of Death by Destruction.

Speed metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music that originated in the late 1970s from new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) roots. It is described by AllMusic as "extremely fast, abrasive, and technically demanding" music.

A split album is a music album which includes tracks by two or more separate artists. There have been singles and EPs of the same variety, which are often called "split singles" and "split EPs" respectively. Split albums differ from "various artists" compilation albums in that they generally include several tracks of each artist, or few artists with one or two tracks each, instead of multiple artists with only one or two tracks each.

Dorsal Atlântica is a Brazilian thrash metal band, founded in Rio de Janeiro, in 1981.

Dorsal Atlântica from Rio de Janeiro were pioneers because of their record being officially released, but there were other bands releasing demos, like Vulcano from São Paulo and Sepultura from Belo Horizonte.

Rio de Janeiro Capital of state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, or simply Rio, is anchor to the Rio de Janeiro metropolitan area and the second-most populous municipality in Brazil and the sixth-most populous in the Americas. Rio de Janeiro is the capital of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's third-most populous state. Part of the city has been designated as a World Heritage Site, named "Rio de Janeiro: Carioca Landscapes between the Mountain and the Sea", by UNESCO on 1 July 2012 as a Cultural Landscape.

Vulcano is an extreme metal band from Santos, São Paulo, Brazil. Founded in 1981, it is one of the first Brazilian heavy metal bands of note; with reference to their influence on the Latin American black metal scene, Terrorizer reported that "many believe that Vulcano not only kick-started musical blasphemy in Brazil, but throughout the whole of Latin America". Vulcano is noted as an influence on Sepultura.

Sepultura Brazilian metal band

Sepultura is a Brazilian heavy metal band from Belo Horizonte. Formed in 1984 by brothers Max and Igor Cavalera, the band was a major force in the groove metal, thrash metal, and death metal genres during the late 1980s and early 1990s, with their later experiments drawing influence from alternative metal, world music, nu metal, hardcore punk, and industrial metal. Sepultura has also been credited as one of the second wave of thrash metal acts from the late 1980s and early-to-mid 1990s.

Late 1980s and early 1990s

Sepultura were making success outside of Brazil. The last thrash metal albums to represent the "old-school" style of thrash in Brazil were Mass Illusion by Korzus (1991), Arise by Sepultura (1991), Rotten Authorities by Executer (1991), and The Laws of Scourge by Sarcófago (1991).

Korzus is a Brazilian thrash metal band, formed in 1983 in São Paulo. They are one of the first bands of the Brazilian thrash metal scene, along with bands like Sarcófago and Sepultura. Their first release was issued in the seminal metal compilation called SP Metal on Baratos Afins label back in 1985.

<i>Arise</i> (Sepultura album) 1991 studio album by Sepultura

Arise is the fourth studio album by Brazilian heavy metal band Sepultura, released in 1991 by Roadrunner Records. Upon its release, the album received top reviews from heavy metal magazines such as Rock Hard, Kerrang! and Metal Forces. Arise is considered Sepultura's finest hour among longtime fans. While the music on Arise was mostly in the same death/thrash style as their previous album, Beneath the Remains, it was clear that the Sepultura sound was acquiring an experimental edge.

Executer is a Brazilian thrash metal band. They formed in the mid-1980s in the city of Amparo, close to the metropolis of São Paulo.

Mid and late 1990s

Cover of Mental Slavery by MX from Sao Paulo, 1990 Mxmentalslavery.jpg
Cover of Mental Slavery by MX from São Paulo, 1990

Entering the 90s, thrash was mixed with alternative metal, grunge, industrial music and in Brazil specifically, with the Brazilian "roots" music, often leading too hybrid music between metal and ethnic or world music. This subgenre is sometimes labelled as tribal metal. Sepultura and Overdose (from Belo Horizonte), are credited to be the first and most important acts that mixed thrash with tribal sounds. Bands that did not simply disappear from the scene, had to adapt their sound to new genres that were appearing, such as was the case with Sepultura. [1]

Korzus brought the NYHC influences to their sound with the KZS album. Sarcófago put a drum machine in their last studio album entitled Crust. A band from Belo Horizonte named The Mist became an "industrial-thrash" band and Dorsal Atlântica turned into a hardcore/crust variant. Ratos de Porão experimented an approach with alternative metal before returning to a more punk-influenced sound.

During the 1990s, the most important bands to appear in the decade were Scars, Distraught and Zero Vision. But their sound had a greater influence from groove metal of Machine Head than that of thrash metal.

2000s onward

In the 2000s, bands Executer and Holocausto had their "come back", and Max Cavalera's Soulfly released an album that is almost "old-school" thrash with the mixing of new and old styles; the band Ratos de Porão returned to the crossover style.

There are a lot of new thrash metal bands existing together with the old ones who returned. New bands since the year 2000 have been releasing albums on independent record labels. Bands such as Torture Squad have been frequently touring across South America and Europe.

Regional scenes

There were three regions where the Brazilian thrash metal was originated (Belo Horizonte, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro). The most prominent of the three scenes, was from the city, Belo Horizonte, where Sepultura came from.

In Belo Horizonte, the scene had some of the most extreme bands, close to what became to be named as death metal. Bands such as Sepultura, Sarcófago and Mutilator continued further and were in some ways more extreme than the German thrash metal bands; they were influenced by European extreme metal bands like Sodom and Hellhammer and had a very raw and primitive production, which "added to the atmosphere" according to their fans, while others would claim they "sounded 'worse' than their European counterparts". [2] The band Sarcófago wore an early form of corpse paint and their first album I.N.R.I. "was huge among Norwegian black metalers". [2] Sarcófago, as well as Sepultura, were also important for a chaotic, non-Norwegian black metal style called war metal. [3] [4] The first prominent band of the scene were Overdose, a traditional heavy metal act that became increasingly progressive and more aggressive over time. Sepultura members used to borrow equipment from them, and were invited to take the B-side of Overdose's debut record, which became the Século XX/Bestial Devastation split. Later on, Sepultura started to boycott Overdose[ citation needed ] and actively try to stop their success.[ citation needed ] Jairo "Tormentor" Guedz, the original guitarist of Sepultura, joined Overdose for a short period as a bass player. After disbanding, Cláudio David (lead guitarist) formed Elektra, and André "Zé Baleia" Márcio (drummer) formed Eminence. Jairo also played bass in Eminence. The active sabotage of Sepultura towards the other bands from the city made the scene slowly go to ostracism,[ citation needed ] since no one else could get successful.[ citation needed ]

In São Paulo, the scene was closer to crossover thrash or what is more commonly known as American thrash. Bands such as Ratos de Porão and Lobotomia, played a style more akin to hardcore and started transforming into a more thrash metal sound, alongside the original thrash metal bands, such as Korzus and MX.

In Rio de Janeiro, the bands sounded similar to European bands of the time. Important bands from this time period were: Taurus, Metrallion, Antitese.

List of important bands from the scene

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  1. Barcinski & Gomes 1999, page 131.
  2. 1 2 Jon "Metalion" Kristiansen: The Saga Of True Norwegian Black Metal, accessed on 14 May 2013.
  3. Wolf-Rüdiger Mühlmann: War Black Metal: Die Extremsten der Extremen. Was bleibt, ist Schutt und Asche. In: Rock Hard, no. 279, pp. 71-73.
  4. Wolf-Rüdiger Mühlmann: Impaled Nazarene. Tol Cormpt Norz Norz Norz. In: Rock Hard, no. 307, December 2012, p. 77.
  5. Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Chakal biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 29 March 2012. Alongside the world-conquering Sepultura and lesser-known bands like Mutilator, Sarcófago, and Holocausto, Chakal emerged from the surprisingly fertile extreme metal breeding grounds of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, in the mid-'80s.
  6. Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Mutilator biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 29 March 2012. An often overlooked participant in Brazil's late-'80s thrash metal scene, Mutilator (also known as Mutilator 666, and originally named Armagedom [ sic ]) played a technical style of blackened thrash which sold few albums in their time, but remains both influential sought after by collectors to this day.
  7. Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Holocausto biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 29 March 2012. Quite possibly the most controversial Brazilian heavy metal band ever (and that's saying something), Belo Horizonte's Holocausto was no different from contemporary compatriots like Sepultura, Sarcófago, or Vulcano when it came to their violent, crude amalgam of black and thrash metal.
  8. Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Attomica review". Allmusic. Retrieved 29 March 2012. Along with the somewhat better known Korzus, Attomica represented the crème de la crème of Brazilian thrash metal during the movement's world-wide golden era in the mid-'80s.