Korzus ao Vivo

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Like many Brazilian heavy metal bands of the mid-1980s, São Paulo's Korzus were hopelessly barred from the luxuries of a professional studio due to nonexistent funds and no record company backing to speak of. But the band were already recognized as one of the bustling metropolis' best head-banging hopefuls, and they justifiably caught a lucky break in 1985, becoming one of four bands chosen for inclusion in the landmark S.P. Metal compilation. This, in turn, resulted in more gigs in and around their hometown, and a second lucky break when they were recorded unawares from by local engineer Antonio Celso Barbieri during their April 23, 1985 concert at the Sesc Pompeia Theatre. The result was 1986's Korzus ao Vivo, featuring five group originals sung in their native Portuguese, and a cover of Slayer's "Evil has no Boundaries" -- all of them sounding incredibly enthusiastic, thrillingly energetic and decidedly, um...crap. But then, what did you expect from a live set recorded under such incidental circumstances, from an improvised arena's sound board? And once the initial low-fidelity shock is overcome, one can still appreciate the rather impressive early thrash qualities of "Guerreiros do Metal," "Príncipe da Escuridão" (the two cuts featured on S.P. Metal), "Ataque Supremo," "Caminhos Negro," (both otherwise unavailable), and "Anjo do Mal," which was later recorded for 1987's Sonho Maniaco LP. An orgiastic solo from guitarist Eduardo Toperman rounds out the original program, but when Korzus ao Vivo was finally reissued on CD in 2006, it came loaded with an astounding 18 bonus tracks -- live, demo and rehearsal tapes -- tacked on! These additions range from 1987 through 2001, and highlights include a live version of "Paraíso da Morte" with drummer Zema, shortly before his suicide; rehearsals for "Internally" and "B.S. (A Hole in the Head)" that arguably top the eventual album versions; and a cover of S.O.D.'s "Speak English or Die" sung, in supreme irony, in Portuguese.