Primitive Future: Beneath The Remains 30 Years On
BENEAF DA REMAAAAINS turned 30 years old this week. Let’s jam that shit.
In case you really needed an excuse to revisit this seminal South American thrash classic, this is as good a one as any. Now as most of you know, we predominantly cover new and upcoming music on the site. This isn’t out of disregard for the past but more just a function of the nature of our existence. The majority of us regularly spin old faves, but it’d be somewhat detrimental to parse over them ad infinitum. That’s not to say we haven’t enjoyed cracking a nostalgia boner for Groundbreaking albums, getting all literary n shit on Lyrics Corner, sharing First Impressions with those looking to catch-up on classics, and even doing the odd Discog dive. So considering we gave Reign In Blood a resounding 30th birthday celebration a couple of years back, I figured it’d be remiss of us not to acknowledge what is undoubtedly one of the most influential metal albums of all time – Sepultura‘s 1989 masterclass Beneath The Remains.
Sure, some will claim Schizophrenia showcased the band at their most primal, and others that the band didn’t fully realise their potential until 1991’s Arise, but with all things considered, there’s a strong case to be made that Beneath The Remains should be considered the quintessential Sepultura album. There are definitely parts on each of the aforementioned records that resonate strongly in my mind as essential moments in the band’s progression from a primordial death/thrash slop (*coughs*) into the thrash titans they would later become. But if the artistic direction and attention to composition on ‘Inquisition Symphony’ and ‘The Abyss’ signalled a band looking to progress beyond the basal form of the style, Beneath The Remains is the actualisation of that desire.
From the haunting reverb on the album’s clean intro passage, to the almost atonal yet instantly memorable intro to ‘Mass Hypnosis’, right up until the frenzied final track (‘Primitive Future’), Beneath The Remains transcends mere thrash landmark and makes its claim as a metal essential. For me, the most prominant feature of this record is Andreas Kisser’s playing. He deftly managed to combine the wild off-the-wall whammy work and chromaticism, with unique use of more convential modes and runs. There’s an indisputable immediacy to even his slower solo work, his note choices and phrasing still stick with me some 20 years on from first listen. All 4 members are in fine form though, Igor’s beats in particular still snap neck. The fact that the album is still directly influencing some of the finest thrash being released today speaks volumes about its importance in the scene. Think I’m overstating? Listen to Ripper‘s Experiment Of Existence, you fuck. Anyway, I asked around our staff yesterday so it wouldn’t just be me shitting on about this album, here’s what Hans and The Conductor had to say about the album:
“While I’ll probably never love it quite as much as Arise, there’s no denying that this is the golden era of not only Sepultura, but thrash in general. It marks the band coming into their own, creating the foundation for what would later allow them to successfully carry thrash metal well into the 90’s, which was not an easy feat. Plus it proves that “selling out” doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but can actually bring out the best in a band. Long story short, it’s one of those albums that you need to have heard if you want to claim any sort of metal cred”
“While Arise may be considered the band’s best album, this is what Sepultura is all about for me. Beneath The Remains is one of those albums that helped me get into heavier metal. This album helped push thrash metal into a heavier direction and is important link between thrash metal and early death metal. While its highs may not be as high, unlike Arise there isn’t a single throw away track in my opinion”
Damn, when I asked if anyone else wanted to give a blurb for this post I didn’t expect them to be WRONG AS HELL (j/k). Anyway, no matter if it’s your first or four-hundreth time, let’s spin this classic and share an anecdote about the album. Mine would be having this record taped onto a cassette from an older work mate, who didn’t write the track names down for me, so for the longest time I thought ‘Mass Hypnosis’ was called “Mass Weeping Ulcers”. This was partially due to a combination of the shitty cassette stereo playback, Max’s accent, and being generally off my tits during the entirety of my teenage years. I still to this day catch myself sometimes singing along with the lyrics I’d transcribed by ear “pain through the arteries, mass weeping ulcers”.
Now how about you? Let’s hear your thoughts/stories etc on this, the 30th anniversary of Beneath The Remains.