Brazilian thrash metal
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.
1980s: The beginning
During the early eighties, bands from the U.S., Germany and Canada, such as Metallica, Slayer (USA), Destruction, Kreator (Germany), 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Mid and late 1990s
Entering the 90s, thrash was mixed with alternative metal, grunge, industrial music and in Brazil specifically, with the Brazilian "roots" music. Sepultura and Overdose (from Belo Horizonte), mixed thrash with tribal sounds. Bands that didn't simply disappear from the scene, had to adapt their sound to new genres that were appearing, such as was the case with Sepultura.
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.
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.
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". The band Sarcófago wore an early form of corpse paint and their first album I.N.R.I. "was huge among Norwegian black metalers". Sarcófago, as well as Sepultura, were also important for a chaotic, non-Norwegian black metal style called war metal. The first proeminent 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 and actively try to stop their success. 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, since no one else could get successful.
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
- From Belo Horizonte:
- Barcinski & Gomes 1999, page 131.
- Jon "Metalion" Kristiansen: The Saga Of True Norwegian Black Metal, accessed on 14 May 2013.
- Wolf-Rüdiger Mühlmann: War Black Metal: Die Extremsten der Extremen. Was bleibt, ist Schutt und Asche. In: Rock Hard, no. 279, pp. 71-73.
- Wolf-Rüdiger Mühlmann: Impaled Nazarene. Tol Cormpt Norz Norz Norz. In: Rock Hard, no. 307, December 2012, p. 77.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Leão, Tom (1997). "Capítulo 17: O metal no Brasil" [Chapter 17: Metal in Brazil]. Heavy metal: Guitarras em fúria [Heavy Metal: Raging Guitars] (in Portuguese). São Paulo, Brazil: Editora 34. pp. 199–210. ISBN 85-7326-077-7.
- Avelar, Idelber (2011). "Chapter 3: Otherwise National: Locality and Power in the Art of Sepultura". In Wallach, Jeremy; Berger, Harris; Greene, Paul. Metal Rules the Globe: Heavy Metal Music Around the World. Duke University Press. pp. 135–160. ISBN 978-0-8223-4733-0.