Originally released on the legendary Cogumelo label in Brazil in 1987, Mutilator’s Immortal Force stands as one of the truly iconic releases in the Brazilian extreme metal canon.
Now it’s been re-released incredibly sympathetically by US label Greyhaze as part of their ongoing campaign to bring all the best obscure and semi-obscure Brazilian metal to the world’s attention, and in this instance I’m really pleased they’ve taken such a lot of trouble to get things just right.
Criminally overlooked when it was originally released, Immortal Force is in fact a cornerstone album of the thrash/death movement. Brutal, primitive, unforgivingly heavy yet also very musical – for a nascent death metal release – it stands as easily the equal of contemporaneously-released albums by the likes of Possessed et al.
Eerie divebombing noises and a chug straight from the Hell Awaits songbook start the album on the track Memorial Stone Without a Name, and from this moment onward you are aware that you’re listening to something pretty special indeed. The guitars of Alexander Magu and Kleber might not have the weight of a Slayer production behind them, but they prove just as lethal on this opening track. Kleber also adds primitive, almost primordial lead vocals to the mix too, and as an opening track everything works very well indeed.
In fact the whole album is incredibly good for a band that was basically ‘demo level’ and from a comparative – for the time – metal backwater. As well as the Slayer notes Kreator often spring to mins whilst the album spins, with the second track Blood Storm at times sounding as much like the work of Mille Petrozza as the first track does of Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman.
The fact of the matter is that Mutilator probably wouldn’t have rivalled either Slayer or Kreator even had they come from Germany or the United States, but they would certainly have been a lot better known today if that was the case. It’s great that labels like Greyhaze are committed to keeping material like this in the public eye, and if you love that early crossroads of death and thrash metal that happened in the late eighties yet haven’t heard this album you should grasp the opportunity to do so now afforded to you by this reissue with both hands.
Immortal Force is out now.