Brazilian death metal upstarts Sepultura took an incredible creative leap forward with their second full-length album, 1987's Schizophrenia. Although it was recorded not too long after their primitive, black metal-dominated debut efforts -- 1985's Bestial Devastation EP and 1986's Morbid Visions LP -- Schizophrenia introduced an entirely new sound fusing thrash and death metal, and all of it supported by much improved songwriting, musicianship, and the first truly professional-sounding production job of the band's short career. Constant touring, rehearsal, and the addition of lead guitarist Andreas Kisser (his classical guitar training and memorable solos made an immediate impact) were all key to this stunning transformation, but the heightened level of proficiency at hand is such that it almost seems miraculous at times. With their precise, lightning-quick staccato riffing and multiple, distinct, but interlocking sections, the album's opening triplet of "From the Past Comes the Storm" (preceded by a Psycho-inspired intro theme), "To the Wall," and "Escape from the Void" proved simply devastating to the ears. And yet the seven-minute instrumental "Inquisition Symphony" (later covered by Finnish cello virtuosos Apocalyptica) was arguably even more breathtaking in its diversity, brilliantly showcasing the band's incredible, new-found combination of melody and aggression while adding some tasteful synth touches, to boot. Additional head-banging standouts like "Screams Behind the Shadows" and a re-recorded version of early fan favorite "Troops of Doom" bookend a few less distinctive offerings on side two -- those being token thrashers "Septic Schizo" and "R.I.P. (Rest in Pain)," plus the acoustic interlude "The Abyss," but only a trifling of momentum is lost, nevertheless. All of which helped make Schizophrenia the first Sepultura release to make serious waves with international critics and fans, while setting the stage for the group's imminent breakthrough release, Beneath the Remains.
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AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia