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Sarcofago


Sarcofago Biography

Together with bands like Korzus, Overdose, and the now legendary Sepultura, Sarcofago (translation: sarcophagus) integrated the first wave of Brazilian death metal bands, a ragged collective that stormed out of the South American nation just as it was emerging from decades spent under an oppressive military dictatorship. Though its metal scene was understandably small and close-knit at the time, from the very start, Sarcofago was committed to doing things differently. Not only was the band the most extreme and inaccessible of Brazil's early death metal champions verging on and, some claim, pioneering what would later be known as black metal, but they also embraced the seemingly at-odds elements of punk rock to boot. And even though this radical approach ultimately didn't spell a recipe for widespread success, it certainly made Sarcofago impossible to ignore.br /br /Guitarist and growler Wagner Lamounier ("Antichrist" to his friends) started Sarcofago in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, in 1985 shortly after being booted out of fellow death metal upstarts Sepultura (and igniting a bitter rivalry that would rage for years to come). The band's lineup was in constant flux early on, but by the end of the following year, Sarcofago had managed to record three promising demos, namely Satanic Lust, Black Vomit, and the notorious Christ's Death, all of which circulated in the tape-trading underground and helped the band gather a small but rabid following. Bassist Gerald Minelli (aka "Incubus"), guitarist Zeber ("Butcher"), and drummer Eduardo ("D.D. Crazy") were soon on board and the band signed with local metal imprint Cogumelo Records, which issued their debut full-length, I.N.R.I., in July 1987. From the very outset and unlike most of its peers, Sarcofago's embryonic death metal fury was more openly accepting of punk rock attitudes (witness Lamounier is carefully groomed on the album's cover), which historically will usually constitute heavy metal fan's natural enemies. This contradiction earned them respect in some quarters as unwitting crossover pioneers, but also led to massive brawls (and another long-standing beef with true punkers Ratos de Porao) between the two musical tribes whenever the band made one of its rare concert appearances.br /br /Sarcofago was stripped down to a trio (including new drummer Joker) come 1989's brilliantly focused Rotting. Arguably their finest moment, the album rewarded the group with their first widespread coverage overseas, where some overexcited members of the specialized metal press seemed convinced that Sarcofago could keep pace with its fast-rising compatriots/adversaries Sepultura, themselves already on the fast track to worldwide prominence. But Sarcofago's inability (or refusal) to tour on a regular basis made this all but impossible and before long, most of the international buzz surrounding the release had faded away. A new drummer, Lucio Olliver, and second guitarist Fabio Jhasko were brought in for 1991's somewhat less-inspired The Laws of Scourge, after which Sarcofago finally did hit the road in Europe and South America for what would prove to be its biggest touring stint ever. Still, it wasn't enough to increase the band's popularity abroad, while at home they remained utter outcasts because of their staunch anti-Christian stance and equally offensive imagery. br /br /An extended layoff followed and come 1994's Hate LP (intended to be the fastest, most brutal album ever) Lamounier and Minelli made the controversial decision to resolve their ever-rotating drum stool by simply programming a machine. Clearly losing steam by now, this move also coincided with their retirement as a touring unit -- something they claim was never their top priority anyway. Since then, arcofago has continued to record on occasion, following up 1995's Decade of Decay collection with 1997's ironically named The Worst and 2000's Crust. ~ Ed Rivadavia, All Music Guide


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