1989’s “Beneath the Remains” may have broken this Brazilian quartet through to the mainstream, but “Arise” was equally as important, influential, and great. And this 1991 album may (more-or-less) pick up where Sepultura left off two years ago, but Max’s vocals on here are less death metal-ish than they were on “Beneath the Remains.”
“Arise” is a true thrash metal masterpiece and it is also considered by most people (me included) to be Sepultura’s last “pure thrash” disc. It is a complete tour de force for lead guitarist Andreas Kisser; his fingers must be worn down to the bone by the time he’s done playing any one of these songs.
Even though “Arise” is “all killer, no filler,” I will give a description of my favorite tracks, in case you’re new to the band. The title track has blindingly fast guitar work and pounding drums, and “Dead Embryonic Cells” is the popular (and controversially named) lead single which has fiery, chugging riffs and thumping drums. “Desperate Cry” has many different parts to it, including several tempo changes and an acoustic intro. After the “Tarzan-esque” intro, “Altered State” turns to heavy churning, cascading, almost grinding riffs. A nice, long guitar solo is included, here, as well. “Under Siege” is mid-paced, with chug and churn guitars and an acoustic intro, but the next two tracks (“Meaningless Movements” and “Infected Voice”) are straight-up, full speed ahead thrashers. Finally, “Orgasmatron” is a catchy Motorhead cover, and a nice homage to a Sepultura influence.
Max, Andreas, Igor, and Paulo Jr. would later make albums that were much more experimental and a lot less heavy than this album, but “Arise” is the sound of Sepultura at their pinnacle; here’s where their thrash shines brightest. Like most Sep releases, “Arise” is a masterpiece and essential listening for all metalheads.