Review of the Album: CAVALERA Schizophrenia

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Sepultura‘s groundbreaking second album, Schizophrenia, which came out in 1987, marked a significant turning point in the progression and narrative of thrash music. The band introduced a distinct touch of creativity and some additional harmonies to thrash metal, setting them apart from their American and European peers, many of whom were primarily focused on speed and ferocity at the time. While speed and aggression are essential components of thrash, what Sepultura gave us were remarkably original rhythms and groove in tracks like “Escape to Void” and “To The Wall,” providing a more unique listening experience at that time.

It’s widely recognized that this record is a timeless classic. It delivers an unrelenting onslaught of aggression from beginning to end, featuring razor-sharp guitar riffs, exceptional drumming, and the distinctive vocals of the one and only Max Cavalera. With Sepultura essentially disbanded, the Cavalera Brothers, Max and Iggor, have reimagined this seminal album.

There has been much speculation in various circles about why the decision was made to re-record it. I, too, questioned this when I first heard the news. There are only a handful of thrash albums as notable as Schizophrenia from 1987. However, upon listening to the re-recorded version, my initial reaction was “Hey – now I can play this in my car without it sounding like a worn-out 80s cassette tape!” Furthermore, as I went through each track, it became apparent that what the Cavalera brothers have delivered is truly a superior rendition.

The drums, particularly the toms on “Escape to the Void,” sound significantly crisper and clearer in the mix. Additionally, the highs from the cymbals are more pronounced through your speakers, with the cymbals’ resonance also coming through much cleaner.

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Listening to “Escape to the Void,” and the other re-recorded songs, it’s evident that the band has preserved everything about the tracks. The dark ambiance, the familiar vocal effects, and the intense, gloomy atmosphere all remain unchanged. However, this time around, the entire album has a noticeably enhanced quality. It retains the original song structures but with modern production standards.

Tracks like “Inquisition Symphony” highlight the bass more in the mix, with clearer high tones emanating from your speakers. Songs like “Septic Schizo” also feature an improved bass line that blends well with the drums. Max‘s vocal performance in this track is particularly outstanding. There’s a touch more clarity in his delivery.

Listeners will notice several key distinctions between the original version and the re-recorded one, starting with the “Intro,” where the sounds are slightly muffled and subdued. “The Abyss” incorporates additional effects, departing from the clean acoustic sound of the 1987 version. Moreover, the tenth track, “Troops of Doom,” has been replaced by “Nightmares of Delirium,” a previously unheard song on this latest release. It’s a real standout with an incredible solo around the three-minute mark.

“R.I.P. (Rest in Pain)” sounds notably superior in this rendition, as do “Septic Schizo” and “Screams Behind the Shadows.” The Cavaleras have demonstrated their expertise in this project, offering an upgraded version that is poised to captivate a whole new audience of listeners.

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