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Unearthing The Metal Underground: The Brazilian Crossover Scene

Back in the eighties, many old school metalheads got their first dose of Brazilian music when those first two classic Sepultura albums came out, along with releases from Overdose and Vulcano. Over in Brazil, though, those bands were a small handful of many in an already vibrant scene. Tape traders started getting wind of this scene and began looking towards other Brazilian bands, which led to great interest in two albums on Roadrunner from another classic act by the name of Ratos de Porao. "Brasil" and the crossover milestone "Anarkophobia" on Roadrunner made us dig a little deeper into the thrashcore scene of this country.

Crossover and extreme metal have thirty years strong down in the tropic of capricorn. RDP and fellow countrymen Lobotomia could hold their own against any stateside crossover band. And when you dig into Brazil's punk/metal history, it is overwhelming to see that their scene - which dates back to the days of Venom, Discharge and the Sex Pistols - continues to be huge and fractured into several subgenres just like our own. A few years before Ratos de Porao came on the scene, Restos de Nada were possibly the first recognized punk band. As can be expected, they hailed from the southeastern region of Sao Paolo - whose urban setting gave rise to their songs of social decay.

The 26 states and Federal District of Brazil continually produced all kinds of hardcore music, whether it was the punk pop stylings of the Safari Hamburgers or the classic grindcore of R.O.T., the latter of whom is still active to this day. A 1982 compilation, "Grito Urbano," is one of the earliest anthologies of caustic Brazilian music and features Ohlo Seco, Inocentes and Colera. Eighties police harrassment in the cities gave rise to some bands omitting the punk rock tag and heading deeper into the underground with different musical sounds such as post hardcore or thrashcore. Rio de Janeiro band Matanza rose up in the nineties with a style the media dubbed 'countrycore' because of the initial Johnny Cash influences and songs such as "Ela Roubou Meu Caminhão" (she stole my pickup). That band, whose singer Jimmy London is like the Brazilian Lemmy, garnered an even bigger following with later heavier-edged releases such as 2006's "A Arte do Insulto."

Some of the more commercially styled bands of the genre alienated the heavier minions and produced even more 'truer' sounding hardcore bands by the end of the millenium. This new decade has produced some really good hardcore metal such as the Motorhead stylings of Rio de Janeiro band Whipstriker. Some of the classic bands reunited and began recording once again, since it is now easier to get your music heard. Along with R.O.T., DFC from Brasilia reunited along with garage favorites Guitarria - who at least regroup for shows even if their last album was 2003's "A 125 por Hora."

Today on Metal Underground, we will take a look at three bands from the heavier/thrashcore angle that are stirring up sentiments in Brazil. And not surprisingly, all have been around for quite awhile with their spirit of hardcore and muscle of metal.

Mukeka Di Rato

Across the bridge from the large city of Vitoria in the Espiritu Santo state lies the fairly large sister city of Vila Velha - a beachside mecca that was the birthplace of many hardcore bands in the nineties and beyond. Vila Velha is even the home to seminal grindcore act I Shit On Your Face. This is the place Mukeka di Rato calls home, a city with a scene that spawned its own compilation - 2004's "Vila Velha Noise Beach." That cult anthology featured MDR and a few other crust/powerviolence acts like Christmas Shit and Chuck Norris.

Founded in 1995, the band is once again active. Their new video "Pedra" (rock cocaine) reminds me a bit of the Rollins Band's "Drinking and Driving" video, in that it is a cautionary tale about not doing drugs. Whether real or imagined, Satan just might come through your TV screen. Some of the members of Mukeka di Rato also have ties to another Vila Velha project with several albums, Merda. You can check out the title track from the new Merda album, "Indio Cocalero," over here.

Mukeka Di Rato - "Pedra"

Mukeka Di Rato - "Rinha De Magnata"


From the metropolitan suburb of Leme north of Sao Paolo, a city that has brought I Shot Cyrus and Discarga to the helm of Brazilian fastcore, comes Claustrofobia. Celebrating over fifteen years with its current line-up, these four musicians play a thrashed out version of hardcore metal. 2011's "Peste" album sees the band riding a wave of festival activity more than ever. They just finished playing at their own Peste Fest with local favorites Project46 and Oitao.

On December 15th they're gearing up for supporting Matanza, Acao Direta, Trampa, NervoChaos and Baranga at the Matanza Fest. Around since 1994, Claustrofobia is already on its sixth full-length album. They have opened for In Flames and Brujeria in Brazil, along with sharing the bill with Soulfly, Krisiun and RDP. If you happened to miss the "Peste" album, check out selections from it over at this MySpace. It just might knock you senseless with its vintage Sepultura sound.

Claustrofobia - "Eu Quero Que Se Foda"

Claustrofobia - "Peste"


Rounding out this trio of old school Brazilian hardcore metal acts is Paura. Around since 1995, the band has three EPs and five full-length albums to its credit. They formed from the ashes of such punk acts as No-Violence, Kangaroos In Tilt and Garage Fuzz, taking it to a more metallic sound in Paura. 2012 brought with it a four song EP from Paura titled "Integrity Department," whose track "Worthless Progress" had a video filmed for it. They have several official videos for many of their songs like "No Hard Feelings? Fuck You!" and live ones for several tracks like "Unhuman Mankind."

Paura is one of only a handful of Brazilian hardcore bands that utilizes English lyrics half of the time, most opting for their native Portuguese exclusively to express their feelings. The band also just posted a three part documentary on YouTube about its recent European tour. You can access part one of the European Tour Diaries here, which has links to the other two parts. Paura will be launching the split release "Rage Through Integrity" on December 9th with six other hardcore bands at the Inferno Club in Sao Paolo.

Paura - "Worthless Progress"

Paura - "History Bleeds"

There are many derivatives of the original hardcore movement in Brazil. Whether you lean towards the more metallic sounds or other subgenres such as skatepunk or oi, there is a Brazilian act that plays it. Their scene is one of the biggest ones by far. Many of the popular bands from the past are regrouping and making it even more interesting. Perhaps you have found a band that merits more investigating into this huge macrocosm. Join us again next week when we unearth another scene or genre here at Metal Underground.

sonictherapy's avatar

Vicky Willis has been a freelance journalist and former college radio disc jockey for almost twenty years. She has been contributing to Metalunderground.com since 2010.

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