Ratos de Porão

Brasil

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Dispensing hardcore punk, grindcore, and metal since 1981, Ratos de Porão (Basement Rats) are one of Brazil's longest-running bands. Compatriots Sepultura count RDP as an influence, covering the title track from 1984's Crucificados Pelo Sistema, reportedly South America's first-ever hardcore punk album. Brasil, RDP's first record for Roadrunner, found the band moving from hardcore punk to a thrash-tinged crossover hybrid. Quite simply, Brasil is one of the finest crossover albums ever recorded. The songs are short, direct, and deadly, welding the basic chords of punk to the frenzied picking of thrash. "Drink Til You Die," for example, combines a I-IV-V progression with machine-gun riffing. The barbed guitars in "SOS Broken Country" and "Suicidal Heroin" sound like exploding shells. Drummer Spaghetti pushes the beat with Dave Lombardo-esque abandon, while vocalist João Gordo screams with commanding authority. Despite its grittiness, the record has surprising sonic variety. Keyboard swells, hip-hop scratches, clean tones, and handclaps pop up like booby traps, then disappear. In 2007, Metal Mind Productions remastered Brasil with startlingly modern sound, adding bonus live tracks and liner notes filled with anecdotes and historical photos.

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