Sepultura - Arise
Roadrunner Records
Thrash Metal
9 songs (42:33)
Release year: 1991
Sepultura, Roadrunner Records
Reviewed by Goat

It’s easy to hate Sepultura’s later albums if you’re a traditionalist, but few Metalheads dare attack the reputation of the Brazilian Thrash legends’ fourth album, 1991’s Arise. It was a worthy follow-up to the classic Beneath The Remains, a clearly experimental step forwards for the band which kept their Thrashing heart at the centre of their by-then unique sound yet created a compelling atmosphere around it, putting in place the genesis of what would become Tribal Metal. It’s really the best example of how a band can experiment with Thrash without ruining the essence – the likes of Chaos AD and Roots took too many steps away, and so are less effective overall. Yet Schizophrenia, Beneath The Remains and Arise form a classic trio that sums up the best era of the band and musicians involved, from the purist aggression of the first two to the steps forward that is Arise, an album that lives up to its name like few others can.

I always liked Arise least of the three, the ripping purity of its predecessors setting a high standard that the more diluted Thrash that you’ll find here. Don’t assume, however, that this is some latter-day ‘modern thrash’ release that you can get kudos from morons for bashing – Arise is Thrash Metal through and through, one of the least controversial of the early nineties releases that would move away from the 80s heyday without altogether ‘selling out’ by doing something different. It rips, without a doubt, and if you can make it all the way through even the opening title track without breaking down into a molten pool of headbanging euphoria, then you are not fit enough to be on this site, and your browser should expel you back into the poser world you inhabit. Seriously, what a killer song that is... from the Industrial opening, your attention is seized, the subsequent explosion of riffs and heads-down Thrash attack never failing to shock and grip. The solo drops on you like a falling star, helping ensure that this is quite possibly the best Thrash song ever – or at least in the top five, the musical equivalent of a bullet in the head from an Israeli commando, pure aural violence and disproportionate wrath.

What really puts this album in the classic books is how solid the songs after are. Sure, the title track rips, but Dead Embryonic Cells is a worthy follow-up, technical riff-trading before the central riff awakens and starts chasing its tail in the circle pit from hell, and the build-up to Thrashmageddon on Desperate Cry still sends chills down my spine. It’s worth taking a moment to praise Max and Andreas Kisser, one of the most underrated guitarist duos in Thrash Metal ever, as their ability to crank out the killer riffs and solos is wonderfully consistent. It’s their split that was the calamity in 1996, more than Max and Igor’s – however good a drummer the younger Cavalera is, he’s the third wheel in a once-fantastic partnership that never ceases to prove its power and worth. Throughout the likes of Murder and Subtraction, various riff combinations are explored, even allowing Paolo Xisto Pinto his moment in the latter with a bass twang. You can hear the beginnings of tribal influence on Altered State, a world music-esque intro soon turning to gritty Metal as the speed mounts and the band turn back to the business... of Thrash!

Clichés aside, it always amazes me how enjoyable Arise is. From the aforementioned Thrashiness to the slower, more pounding likes of Under Siege (Regnum Irae) the album never leaves the listener at a loss, even generally forgotten tracks like Meaningless Movements being the sort of killer Metal tracks that modern bands would sell their souls for. Of course, modern listeners will no doubt get the rereleased edition, with the bonus Orgasmatron cover (not as good as the original, alas) yet it’s the original tracks which are the unmistakeable highlight here. As many listens as you give it, as familiar with it as you are, Arise always manages to surprise you, have some element that’s previously gone unheard, and no doubt it will still be a classic in years to come, when budding Thrashers are fed up of being fobbed off with the pathetic likes of Trivium and crave something older, purer. Then we shall arise, and this classic album will prove its worth yet again.

Killing Songs :
Goat quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by Sepultura that we have reviewed:
Sepultura - Quadra reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
Sepultura - Machine Messiah reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
Sepultura - The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
Sepultura - Kairos reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Sepultura - Roots reviewed by Goat and quoted 74 / 100
To see all 13 reviews click here
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