Friday, October 15, 2010

Screams Behind the Shadows

We’re back on the metal tip this week with one of our absolute favorite records, by cracky! Schizophrenia was Sepultura’s third record and the first of theirs that I really got into. Since I didn’t go through much of a “metal phase” when I was younger, bands like Sepultura didn’t really register with me until much later. I think Chaos A.D. might have been my initial exposure to Sepultura, but I was pretty hung up on punk rock and didn’t care for them at the time. Of course, I started checking out good metal bands like Celtic Frost and Venom about a year or two later and liked them a lot. Eventually, this path led back to Sepultura. The difference was that this time, I had a much better album of theirs in my grubby little hands.

Amoeba Records in Berkeley used to have a killer selection of used cassettes. Whenever I felt like I had a couple extra bucks, I’d comb those sections and get something new for my Walkman. Sometimes cassettes are just the best way to hear certain kinds of music, or even specific bands. I’ve got most of the good Judas Priest albums on cassette, as well as all of the Diamond Dave-era Van Halen albums. All of my late ‘80s and early ‘90s hardcore rap favorites are on tape as well. One day, I had a few more extra dollars in my pocket than usual, so it was okay for me to finally grab that Sepultura tape. Out of all the Sepultura tapes that Amoeba had that day, Schizophrenia was the oldest and therefore, probably the best. Into the Walkman it went.

Death metal has never really been my thing for whatever reason. I’ve tried to give it a chance before, but only a few bands have ever piqued my interest. Instead, I gravitated towards grindcore as the more raw, less produced, punk-influenced answer to most of the straight up death metal bands I’ve heard in my life. But Schizophrenia wasn’t just a mere death metal record. It was a violent, destructive force. Listening to the album for the first time (and many times since) was like being held against a wall and pummeled repeatedly. I was a bloody mess long before the tape ended.

During my series of beatings, I forgot that I’d read about Sepultura’s then-current problems in the pages of Kerrang! and Metal Hammer. That Max Cavalera’s wife had somehow been something of a “Yoko Ono” for Sepultura. That Max had left the band and started some abomination called Soulfly with Nausea’s old drummer. Instead, I remembered that back in the summer of 1987, the members of Sepultura were young hessians dedicated to playing in Brazil’s most badass death metal band. Soon enough, I also realized that this record was special, meaning that it could only be played on special occasions. Listening to it with great frequency would be akin to cutting open the golden goose. The record would undeservedly lose its impact, no longer laying those golden eggs or evoking that sense of being beaten to a bloody pulp. No, Schizophrenia would serve the same purpose as the Secret Weapon. Some records are better that way.

Escape to the void here.


Robert Avery said...

max's wife was the yoko of the band, im positive she gave him an inflated ego, i saw them in the early ninties with sacred riech and napalm death, max, being a little shit at the time i would head to back of the venue after the shows and collect autographs, i remember max being the only one guy from the bands that played that didnt come out to meet everyone, he sent his wife to collect tickets or whatever was going to be signed. for being someone who was so into punk it was very unpunk of him. schizophrenia is still a great record though.

Anonymous said...

"Max Cavalera’s wife had somehow been something of a “Yoko Ono” for Sepultura"...

I have reason to suspect, this is true.
For one -
She got the band to relocate to a part of the USA where as far as I know , they had no old friends, and they had no relatives there, so why?
Nobody has ever explained why.

Anonymous said...

Oh the good old days of used cassettes! I bought my copies of Schizophrenia and Beneath the Remains at Rasputin in Pleasant Hill. At 3 bucks a pop it was just what the doctor ordered for a kid looking for new music to get into. Really, that pricing is why I never understood used CDs costing as much as they did. (On a side note, last summer I went by Gilman to donate several bags of tapes and the volunteers present at the time were stoked. Why you ask? Because they happened to have one of those "old school" systems from the 90s that still included a tape deck. OH JEEBUS)
(David D.)