Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Mist - Phantasmagoria (Reissued 2017)

Brazilian thrashers The Mist actually have a bit more going for them than the previous Brazilian thrash act I reviewed this week, Mutilator. The most important thing that I can say about the reissue of this 1989 debut album is that it definitely has quite a bit of variety, refusing to stay in the same tempo or even the same style of music that many thrash acts never leave. Also,  frontman Cassiano Gobbet sounds a stickler for legendary Death vocalist, Chuck Schuldiner. Keep in mind that even if these guys were inspired in part by Scream Bloody Gore or Leprosy, they would have to be direct inspirations as the band were more than likely recording this album in '88, around the time that Leprosy would have released. I'll throw in the fact that parts of this record also structurally sound like some of Death's later releases, just because there is almost a progressive sense to these pieces that you wouldn't have expected in thrash. Keep in mind though, this was very close to the nineties and progressive elements were creeping in left and right.

The record has an uncanny 90% score (one review) on Metal Archives, which is one point higher than Leprosy (twenty-two reviews), if you can believe it. Oddly enough, the band are still heavily compared to acts like Sepultura and Mutilator, (which means that their style must have simplified as they went on) which I'm just not hearing here. Like I said, I'm hearing more of Death and Sarcofago with more thrash elements. When the band aren't playing straight-up thrashers, they seem to be at their very best as songs like “Smiles, Tears and Chaos”, “The Enemy” and the title track seem to display very well. It's not that they can't thrash, because they can – and better than a lot of bands, even Metallica during this era. I'd certainly say it's a more interesting and ferocious album than Kill Em' All ever was and despite how much I absolutely love Metallica's early compositions; they were never overly frightening. It's great that these guys actually managed to put a little bit of horror into these tunes with some noticeably creepy vibes throughout and that works for me. The record isn't filled with dread and terror, but it doesn't shirk away from that territory either, still managing to hold a thick steel mallet of pure-bred thrash behind it's back by which to pummel the listener until they are nothing but a gelatinous pool of blood and bone matter. Thrashers are still getting a great thrash album, which I might even want to say is a real lost gem in the genre. If you like thrash metal in any capacity and have not gotten your hands on this one, then you definitely need to do so and as soon as possible. I'm not sure how many copies they will have left, and this is a definite treasure. Not to mention that the remastering on the disc sounds absolutely brilliant, and I can discern ever bass lick and guitar lead as I find myself sucked into a record that I just cannot stop playing. If you've always wished for a thrashier Death, then The Mist might just grant that in spades.

Two guitarists really helped to make the band as melodically great as they are, which would be Fabio Andrey and the now deceased Jairo Guedz, who seems to be a real loss to the world of metal as a whole. He died nearly sixteen years ago, but when you hear just how great his playing on this record is, you might even regard him in the same territory as great axemen like Cliff Burton or Randy Rhoads. Judging from the later albums however, the band could simply not keep up the momentum as this 90% later became an 82% with their next release and then a 58% where the band's legacy ended with their third album. An EP was also released, but it received an unexpected 35% so it must have been rather rough. In any case, Phantasmagoria is literally as good as it gets from these guys and though I'm definitely tempted to check out sophomore The Hangman Tree, not even I think that this recording can be topped. Run, don't walk to the nearest record store and see if they have this one in or might be able to order it for you. This isn't just a great Brazilian thrash record, it is an essential piece of thrash metal history, lost no more. 

(10 Tracks, 39:00)


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