Home > Music > Sepultura – Bestial Devastation EP (1985)

Sepultura – Bestial Devastation EP (1985)

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In the before time, the long long ago, when the evangelicals believed themselves a guardian against the vagaries of youth culture, Sepultura released their first unassuming EP as a split with a band called Overdose. A few years later, they became famous, and Overdose… didn’t. Nowadays, you’re not likely to pick up Bestial Devastation without the recording immediately succeeding it (Morbid Visions), but that’s probably okay since the two share much of their DNA and complement each other nicely. Morbid Visions is more ambitious,  Bestial Devastation is more aggressive and direct, but they’re basically cut from the same cloth, even if the EP is understandably formed from less of it.

Bestial Devastation‘s major advantage over Sepultura’s first full-length is that it sounds better. For whatever reason, the two production styles on display here are louder, cleaner, and more aggressive. There are relatively subtle differences in guitar tone, but as far as I’m concerned either style makes for a more appropriate mix than the iffy, janky sound on Morbid Visions. As far as I’m concerned, this EP needs the better mix to sell itself properly. The shorter and simpler songs (with the caveat that Morbid Visions was never all that complex) are going to soak into your brain faster.

Even if the songwriting is simpler, I actually think this works better for the band, at least given the songwriting chops Sepultura could muster at this point. Lots of musicians take a while to “mature”, or in Sepultura’s case, hire Andreas Kisser and rapidly transition to a cleaner, more technically advanced style (which, to my understanding, takes us to about the age of Arise). While that incarnation of the band could write longer songs while remaining coherent, this one does better if they keep things compact. Compact, though, doesn’t always have to mean more simplistic – the actual riff density is occasionally higher here than on Morbid Visions. There’s still more repetition of previous ideas and such present, but this is where the sharper aesthetic comes in handy. This, I suspect, is what keeps Bestial Devastation interesting beyond mere historical value.

For all my attempts to compare the two, fans of Morbid Visions will likely find a spot for Bestial Devastation, and vice versa. Part of that is almost certainly the packaging, but two recordings separated by so few degrees of time and personnel from a band that (at least early in its lifespan) didn’t change up their approach very rapidly… How do you say something makes sense in Portuguese? I don’t trust Google on this one.

Highlights: “Antichrist”, “Necromancer”

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