Coming out in the initial boom of Thrash during 1989, the same year as Testament’s Practice What You Preach, Overkill’s The Year Of Decay and Sepultura’s Beneath The Remains, comes Brazilian band The Mist with their debut album Phantasmagoria. Only getting a domesticated release the band was mainly known throughout the realms of tape trading to a large underground audience, finally in 2017 this album gets its long overdue UK release.
Unfortunately to get the negative out the way, this doesn’t have the cleanest of productions. Though it is obvious that the album has been improved by the version currently on YouTube’s standards. For fans of this type of music to get a gem of this quality this is a factor which can be largely ignored, this can put a lot of fans off but hopefully metal fans can overlook this factor and get to the meat of what this band meant, the songs.
The dual guitarists of both Roberto “Beto” Lima and Reinaldo “Cavalão” Bedran kick through the album from the word go as initial track Flying Saucers In The Sky has a metal riff that could still be considered vital in 2017. This is backed up by the riffs in the latter part of the song which feel’s absolutely phenomenal compared to the pure Thrash attack, this could be seen as the initial signs of Groove Metal which bands like Pantera and Machine Head would later go onto perfect. There is obvious signs of this bands influence from the word go and thankfully this is continued right away on Smiles Tears And Chaos by Marcelo Diaz in what can be described as an iconic bass line at this point galloping throughout the entirety of the track with the warping riffs from the two guitarists.
What can be described as a typical extreme metal vocalist Vladimir Korg blends the vocals of Max Cavalera with a Black Metal vocalist such as Sakis Tollis (Rotting Christ) especially on a track such as Hate where the band go into a quick 2:30 blast of aggressive Punk inspired Thrash. The singer also blends lyrical poetry with pure aggression, especially when comparing a track such as Hate where Christiano shouts out what he “hates” with pure oldschool aggression and a track such as A Step Into The Dark which is basically telling people not to judge and the pressures of suicide with lyrics such as “I got the scorpions poison in my tongue” and “It’s all over and in the end I’ll only be a fool who jumped from the 26th floor”.
Lead guitarist Reinaldo “Cavalão” Bedran will be seen as an unsung hero in metal especially with his incredible solo on The Enemy which holds up to scratch 28 years after it’s release. Sadly the guitarist passed away in 1991 but with appearances on 3 of Mayhem’s demos and his impressive performance in The Mist his work has gone onto influence incredibly on an underground level on a track such as Barbed Wire Land (At War) which essentially goes into the heaviness and aggression of Mayhem this is seen as being quite an impressive feat. The talked echoic vocals during this track and the backing vocals shouting “As One” “Marching To The Barbed Wire Land” to show a pure sense of solidarity only shows what the extreme metal spirit means to the band and make it one of an impressive nature.
Phantasmagoria stands out as a track due to the length of it being over 6 minutes and the slow build to the track with the drum beat building up and the thrashy guitars not leading to take the drums in a similar direction. The riffs go in quite a heavy march in its direction and makes the band feel like their taking a strong hold of you as a listener. The speedier moments before the stomp breaks it up thankfully, but in all honesty the slower moments of the track feel a lot more creative than the speedier moments. This is followed by the bands as known for 30 second instrumental Lighting In The Dark which takes the album to its penultimate track Like A Bad Song and from this point both that and Faces Of Glass bring the perfect end to the album.
This is not an album for everyone, as without being rude, the music feels very “of it’s time” and the production reflects this unfortunately. For a piece of metal history however this is a keen release to get and find out how pretty much the entire Black Metal felt some sort of influence from The Mist.