Sarcófago - Die Hard!!! (2015)Release ID: 3944

Sarcófago - Die Hard!!! (2015) Cover
Daniel Daniel / October 10, 2023 / Comments 0 / 0

The underground tape trading scene of the early-to-mid 1990’s was very kind to me. The feeling of excitement I’d have every time a package of new music would arrive from some foreign part of the world is something that the youth of today probably can’t understand given the ready access everyone has to literally every piece of music ever recorded but it was seriously addictive for a young, fresh-faced me who was still relatively new to this whole extreme metal thing. A South American kid I was trading with used to keep me up to speed with all of the cool underground stuff that his continent had to offer & I'd return the favour with the better Aussie bands like diSEMBOWELMENT, Armoured Angel & Sadistik Exekution. One particular package I received from this trader included the 1987 “INRI” debut album from Brazilian black/thrash metal legends Sarcófago, a band that I’d heard a little bit about but had never had the pleasure of experiencing. Upon listening to it though, I discovered that these South Americans knew a thing or two about raw extremity, a gift that I valued very highly at the time & still do. I’d subsequently request copies of any other Sarcófago releases I could get my hands on, including their three seminal mid-80’s demo tapes.

You may have noticed that I’ve recently been reliving those times by revisiting many of the releases I flogged in my early-to-mid teenage years, an exercise that’s ended up being much more significant than initially I thought it might be. As a part of that I’ve been spinning quite a number of demo-quality releases for the first time in many decades too which has brought back some quite vivid memories. When I went to look for the old Sarcófago material I found that there was a 2015 compilation album called “Die… Hard!!!” which apparently brings together all of the band’s demos & unreleased material on the one disk which was handy. This seemed to serve my purpose brilliantly so I’ve been giving the compilation a fair bit of time over the last few days. The results have been… well…. pretty mixed though if I’m being honest.

“Die… Hard!!!” kicks off with three rounds of the same four song run, only they’ve been recorded in different sessions. Tracks one to eight are previously unreleased recordings from 1985 while tracks nine through twelve are taken from the 1986 “Satanic Lust” demo. Strangely, the unreleased & apparently much earlier versions are significantly better than those released on the demo which was admittedly always the one that I found to be the weakest of the three Sarcófago tapes. “Satanic Lust” is marred by an awful production which includes a diabolically poor drum sound which goes a long way to ruining the faster material like “Satanas” & the heavily Hellhammer influenced “Third Slaughter”. The slower “Nightmare” is left largely unharmed but it was enough to spoil the cassette for me so I appreciated the alternate versions. I’d just question the need to have TWO of them because I really don’t think too many people will want to sit through three versions of the same thing.

1987’s “Christ’s Death” demo (the third & last of the three) fares much better, championing a sound that I’ve always thought was close enough to genuine war metal, only a good two years before Blasphemy’s seminal “Blood Upon The Altar” demo first saw the light of day. This stuff would have to have been the most brutal & evil material to ever see the light of day at the time, out-savaging even Bathory’s highly influential “Under The Sign Of The Black Mark” album from the same year. It still sounds pretty good too just quietly, although admittedly not essential. That just leaves Sarcófago’s first demo “The Black Vomit” (my personal favourite) then, doesn’t it? Soooo…. uuuummm… where is it then? I can’t seem to find it. Apparently it hasn’t been included for one reason or another which is a little frustrating. Perhaps due to the poor sound quality of the recordings? I dunno but it’s a strange omission, especially given that the remainder of “Die… Hard!!!” is made up of inessential rehearsal recordings & unreleased outtakes, most of which don’t exactly set the world on fire with a previously unreleased version of “Black Vomit” from the sessions for the “Warfare Noise I” compilation being the best of them.

If you give “Die… Hard!!!” some dedicated attention then you’ll no doubt come to the realization that Sarcófago have never gotten the full credit they were due. Some of this stuff sits amongst the earliest examples of authentic black metal material ever recorded & it still stands up today in terms of intensity. It’s just that you have to sit through a fair bit of inconsistency to reach the gold in his 20-song tracklisting, particularly towards the back end with some of the more recent tracks like the awful “Alcoholic Coma” & the flat “Secrets of a Window” being closer to traditional thrash than black metal. If you’re a total Sarcófago tragic or an obsessive fan of bands like Vulcano, Blasphemy & early Sepultura then I probably don’t need to tell you that “Die… Hard!!!” is a bit of a no-brainer but I can’t see the necessity for more casual listener. I mean, do I really need a drum machine-driven version of “Satanic Lust” in my life when the original wasn’t that great to begin with? I’d suggest that the better value option might be to hunt down the three demo tapes on YouTube actually, especially considering that the best of them isn’t even included on this compilation.


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Die Hard!!!
The North
Black Metal

Black Metal (conventional)

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