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In the decade that the band was originally active, from 1998 to 2008, Brodequin released three albums, of which “Festival Of Death” was the second. On “Festival Of Death” Brodequin narrowed down its chosen subject matter to a very specific concept. Aided by a reasonably functional production, and slightly improved presentation, “Festival Of Death” is where Brodequin manifested itself a entity to be reckoned with. It wouldn’t be until this album’s successor that the trio truly showed what they were capable of.

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On its second album Brodequin focused exclusively on torture in medieval times, as before primarily the devices used, and the institutions or persons that used them. A portion of the album concerns itself with torture techniques inflicted upon heretics and apostates in medieval Europe. “Festival Of Death” was step up in terms of artwork, design and layout. Once again the layout and design were handled by Jamie Bailey for Voodoo Design Studio. While still obviously a low-budget affair the second Brodequin offering was a marked improvement over the amateurish “Instruments Of Torture”.

“Festival Of Death” details the mazzatello, the judas cradle, and the Spanish ticker (or Cat’s Paw). Described also are rat torture, burning at the stake (here with ‘Auto de fe’, that derives its name from the Portugese “auto-da-fé” or “act of faith”), exposure (‘Vivum Excoriari’), death by drowning (‘Lake Of the Dead’). Both ‘Bronze Bowl’ and ‘Torches Of Nero’ detail the horrifying torture emperor Nero inflicted on persecuted Christians during his reign in ancient Rome. Uncharacteristic for the record is ‘Gilles de Rais’, which roughly chronicles the life and work of the 15th century French nobleman of the same name. Gilles de Rais, who was a companion-in-arms to Jeanne d’Arc, became infamous for his reputation and later conviction as a serial killer of children. Belgian death/black metal combo Ancient Rites also detailed his life on “The Diabolic Serenades”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3w0-sbsw2k

Brodequin decided to convene at Digital Sky Studios for a second time, and the studio had now relocated to Daytona Beach, Florida. As before Mike Sky was responsible for the recording, mixing and mastering of the album. This time around Sky was able to at least capture the essence of what Brodequin was trying to convey. One of the more notable improvements was the thicker, crunchier guitar tone, and the far meatier sounding vocals. The drums, while better produced than the previous effort, have an annoying ringing sound. The bass guitar is more felt than that is heard as it tends to be buried under the wall of guitars and drums. Bailey’s vocals have the same guttural depth as Will Rahmer’s work on the Mortician debut “Mortal Massacre”. The artwork on the frontcover is an illustration taken from the 1880 chronicle “The Rise of the Dutch Republic” by American historian John Lothrop Motley.

“Festival Of Death” was released on the band’s own Unmatched Brutality label imprint, and allegedly sold in excess of 10,000 copies worldwide. It was re-released a year later, in 2002, on tape format through Indonesian label imprint Extreme Souls Production. There’s a hidden track ‘Raped In The Back Of Chad’s Van’ that is a cover version of the Last Days Of Humanity song ‘Raped In The Back Of A Van’. It an interesting choice of cover considering Last Days Of Humanity lean closer towards earliest Carcass as far as influence go. Brodequin on their part are more conventionally death metal. ‘Judas Cradle’ was recently covered by California/Colorado combo Embodied Torment.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpRivwwXURo

While not the first to take death metal into more extreme and fast territory, Deeds Of Flesh and Disgorge preceded them to it, Brodequin stripped the genre to its elementary basics. Pushing the minimalism of goregrind with the crunchiness of death metal Brodequin was the first to combine both subgenre in the way that they did. On “Festival Of Death” the band finally had a production that played up to its strengths. As bands like this go this is not the record to look for in terms of diversity. Brodequin is about speed and heaviness first, and songwriting second. All songs tend to sound very similar with very similar riffs and chord progressions being used. It wouldn’t be until the Brodequin record, and its original swansong, “Methods Of Execution” that the trio showed some minor evolution.

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After the unexpected success of the “Bestial Devastation” EP Brazilian proto-metallers Sepultura were offered an extension of their recording contract. Invigorated by this early victory the quartet set out to craft its full lenght debut, aptly branded “Morbid Visions”. As a unabashed tribute to its American – and European inspirations, it is heavily redolent of Mantas/Death, Possessed, Slayer and a swath of European bands, including Celtic Frost. “Morbid Visions” is where Sepultura, slowly but surely, transitioned into more individual territory artistically.

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“Morbid Visions” was the only Sepultura album to feature early lead guitarist Jairo Guedz Braga, and to have contributions from exiled singer Wagner Lamounier. Lamounier, who went on to form his own highly influential band Sarcófago after his exit, wrote the lyrics for ‘Antichrist’. Sarcófago became an influential entity in the international underground scene in itself as it bridged the gap between the first – and second wave black metal sounds with its underdeveloped, often punk-fused barbarity. For the most part “Morbid Visions” is a crude tribute to formative underground metal combos Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, Possessed, Slayer and Venom. Brimming with youthful exuberance and gusto “Morbid Visions” is proto-death metal in terms of lyrics and composition.

The lyrics paint an apocalyptic vision of the world. ‘Morbid Visions’ (a clear tribute to Celtic Frost) deals with the crucifixion of Christ by agents of the ancient Roman empire. ‘Mayhem’, the first Sepultura song to protest the horrors of war, is a stylistic precursor to both ‘Beneath the Remains’ and ‘Arise’. ‘Troops Of Doom’ and ‘War’ largely deal with conflict and an apocalyptic vision of the end. ‘Troops Of Doom’ also references Slayer and Celtic Frost songs in its lyrics. The second half of the record puts a greater fixation on Satanic rhetoric. Of these ‘Empire Of the Damned’ is the best written of the bunch full of crudely inverted eccliastic imagery and even cruder descriptive language. On the subsequent albums the faux-Satanism would be abandoned and the focus would shift on the latent socio-political message that lies buried underneath the lurid imagery.

Exceeded in its ambition only by the dormant potential of its creative axis the sense of song arrangement and hooks, as crude and underdeveloped as they may be on this early release, are already accounted for in their most basic and embryonal form. “Morbid Visions”, as amateurish and hopelessly primitive it comes across by today’s standards, was a substantial leap forward for the band in terms of musicianship, imagery and composition. The obvious lack of instrumental prowess within its membership notwithstanding many of the chord progressions, transitions and tempo changes hint at what a few short years later would make them a force to be reckoned with in the international scene.

The original print for “Morbid Visions” was bookended by a movement from Carl Orff’s “O, Fortuna”, but these were removed on later versions probably to avoid copyright issues. ‘Crucifixion’ has backing vocals from Jairo Guedz Braga. Beyond one or two tracks much of “Morbid Visions” has been relegated to the band’s vaults. As visceral and intense as the album tends to be, not much remains after the initial onslaught. ‘War’ and ‘Mayhem’ probably inspired fellow Brazilians Krisiun a good deal in that both cuts set the template for Brazilian death metal a full decade later. The album is custodian to ‘Troops Of Doom’, the only track to have any kind of longevity and an early classic. The track mostly stands out thanks to its better developed structure. It is a stylistic precursor to the songwriting arrangements and - dynamics that would come to define Sepultura in the years to come. “Morbid Visions” lays the groundwork for the death/thrash titans the band would become.

“Morbid Visions” was recorded and mixed in seven days on 16 tracks at Estudio Vice Versa, Belo Horizonte, Brazil, August 1986 with Zé Luis and Eduardo Santos producing. Although credited in the production notes Paulo Xisto Pinto Jr. did not play bass guitar on the record. Jairo Guedz Braga (lead guitar) recorded studio bass parts for the album. Despite being recorded later and over a long time than the primal “Bestial Devastation”, “Morbid Visions” sounds substantially worse sonorically than its crude predecessor. In what must be a case of youthful naivité the guitars are out of tune for the entirety of the effort. Production shortcomings aside “Morbid Visions” is graced with an excellent cover artwork that is conceptual continuation of the template set by the canvas of its companion EP.

As a historical document “Morbid Visions” offers a look into the youthful past of one of South America’s most celebrated acts. As obvious as it is about its sources of inspiration the stronger it becomes when one considers the trials and tribulations that went into its creation. “Morbid Visions” was re-issued in North America by New Renaissance Records, the label owned by Hellion member Ann Boleyn. In between the “Bestial Devastation” and “Morbid Visions” sessions three quarters of Sepultura (the Cavalera brothers, and lead guitarist Jairo Guedz Braga) along with Silvio Gomes (of local band Mutilator, and Sepultura roadie) were in the shortlived  Guerrillha that released a studio and live demo tape in 1986 before calling it quits.