Beneath the Remains had improved production and songwriting compared to the band's previous albums. In time it would be acclaimed as a classic in the thrash metal genre. According to vocalist Max Cavalera, Sepultura had "really found [their] style" on that album. This was their first album to feature a Michael Whelan cover art - in this case, Nightmare in Red.
Max Cavalera travelled to New York in February 1988 and spent a whole week negotiating with the Roadrunner label. Although they offered a 7-record deal to Sepultura, the label was unsure of the band's sale potential. The album's budget was a small amount by the label's standards ($8,000), but in the end the cost was almost twice its original budget.