Brazil is the biggest country in South America. And aside from bikini waxes, famous soccer players, and BBQ meat served on swords, the country is also known for heavy metal music, of all varieties and subgenres, from death/grind to power metal. But, culturally, and politically, at the time of this heavy metal eruption in the 1980s, Brazil was just coming out of so many decades of military dictatorships, political turmoil. The chaos, rampant poverty and strife in the streets was the perfect brewing ground for many of these extreme metal bands. The nation, and entire region now is full of thousands of heavy metal and punk groups, all sharing in the interest of the music. We now present our list of the 10 best Brazilian metal bands.
See also: The 10 Best Historical Metal Bands
This evil sounding, sadistic, sex and death obsessed extreme metal band hails from the sixth largest city in Brazil, Belo Horizonte and was spawned in 1987. With a crushing, fast-as-hell death metal approach, the band took the underground metal scene by storm and gained a rabid following. But the band called it quits after the tragic death of vocalist Oswald Scheld in a car crash a decade later, in 1997. Then, in 2003, the band was revived, with a new line up, and continues on to this day, unleashing its legacy of filth, sex, gore, perversion and lust all sonically revealed through the sounds of death metal. Be sure to check out the debut album, Sexual Carnage (1990).
Created in 1990, this group of thrashy death metal maniacs released their first album, Shivering in 1998, and as a powerful unit, has been crushing craniums and bursting eardrums for fans ever since. From the city streets of Sao Palo, this band came together to create a hyper aggressive, fast form of metal that was angry, sometimes political, violently savage in nature. Each song is piercing; and the sounds of thrash, and death metal all play an important role in the band's sound. Torture Squad has 10 full-length albums, including the most recent, Esquadrao De Tortura (2013), and has toured throughout Europe and South America. In Brazil, the band has shared the stage with everyone from Suicidal Tendencies and the Misfits to Overkill and Exodus.
See also: The 10 Best German Metal Bands
Many consider this band to be the first extreme metal band from Brazil, or even the South American continent/Latin America. Formed in 1981, the band came up at a time when the metal scene was dominated by hair metal and NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal) bands. Vulcano were, arguably the first to bring in the extreme, harsh, raw, necro evil black metal sound with a heavy emphasis on thrash. This hybrid of metal probably gave way for death metal in Brazil as well. The drums are like Uzis and the riffs are razor sharp but heavily distorted, with vocals that are eerie and echoing. The band's sound evokes the style of bands like Mayhem, Destruction, Possessed, Sodom, and a fellow band from Brazil, Sepultura. The lyrics were dedicated to the images of hell, death, the black arts, sorcery, witch craft, and other morbid, Ant-Christian sentiments, with most all lyrics in Portuguese.
This band is a very technically proficient group of heavy metal musicians, who present a cohesive and mechanical sound that brings together power metal and a very melodic form of speed metal that could flood the air outdoors at amphitheaters or indoor stadiums. The band came together in the mid '90s, in the city of Porto Alegre, and has gained a huge following throughout Brazil, having toured all over Latin America, Asia and parts of Europe. Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Dio, and various bands such as Megadeth, Armored Saint, Hammerfall and Dream Theater influence the band's sound. In Brazil, the band has opened for Metallica, Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne.
See also: The 10 Best Crossover Thrash Bands
With origins tracing back to 1985, this is perhaps the country's most controversial extreme metal band. With a musical career dedicated to the themes of the Holocaust and World War II, the raw, retro and thrashy death metal band spares no details behind the grisly mass genocide perpetrated by the Nazi evil Third Reich. But, despite accusations over the years of anti-Semitism, the band members themselves have insisted the music has only been symbolic and is a creative platform to showcase their own disgust and yet morbid fascination with the atrocities.
Formed in the early '90s, Angra's technical, epic, and melodic power metal is saturated with a precise wall of sound that screams with guitar virtuosity and sheer loudness. Their songs are full of classical interludes and heavy textures and tight instrumentation. These guys are all insanely talented musicians. With millions of fans world wide, and eight studio albums, the band has gotten to share the stage with metal's greats, such as Black Sabbath, Slayer, Megadeth and Judas Priest. The band's longtime guitarist is Kiko Louriero; a wizard of an axe man when it comes to shredding blazing solos that light up with sparks of sound. Consequently, Louriero was recently announced as the latest guitar player to the band Megadeth, by bandleader Dave Mustaine.
See also: The 10 Best Heavy Metal Concept Albums
4.Ratos De Porao
This band's name is translated from Portuguese into English to mean 'Basement Rats.' Arguably, the band, which rose in the early '80s in Sao Palo, is Brazil's most important punk rock group, paving the way for many others to follow, early with a straight hardcore punk sound, much like GBH, Discharge and others; then later evolving to cross over thrash and heavy metal/grind core territories with bands like Kreator, Exodus, Destruction, Napalm Death and even fellow Brazilians, Sepultura. With over a dozen studio albums and many more splits and compilations, the band has managed to tour throughout South America, Europe and even North America. The band is still fighting on in the name of grinding punk/metal madness to fans all over the world show after show, including festival appearances throughout Latin America. After three decades, much like DRI, Cro Mags and Agnostic Front, Ratos De Porao show absolutely no signs of slowing down.
Known as one of Brazil's best black metal bands, Sarcofogo was an extreme metal group that featured the first singer for the group Sepultura. Sarcofogo formed in the mid '80s, and were heavily influenced by groups like Hellhammer, Bathory, Venom and Celtic Frost, but also added elements of punk, death metal and black metal to the music, sound, and image of the band. The band's lyrics and songs were very confrontational, and vivid with blasphemy and unholy visions. The band has had heavy and heated, sometimes violent feuds with members of Sepultura and Ratos De Porao.
See also: The 10 Best Heavy Metal Bass Players
This ultra brutal, death metal trio came to life in 1990, and features all brothers: bassist/vocalist Alex Carmago, guitarist Moyses Kolesne and drummer max Kolesne. Brutal, sonic in speed, pounding and beyond technical in terms of drum speed and stamina, bass and guitar amplification and all around demonic, guttural vocals. The band has shared the stage with the likes of Suffocation, Rotting Christ, Belphegor Nile, Deicide, Morbid Angel and many others. The band has 10 full-length studio albums under its belt and has toured the globe. In terms of true, underground pure death metal, in its most raw violent form, Krisiun are a top-notch contender for the best of Brazil's heavy metal melting pot of extreme bands.
Sepltura, are, to many, the undisputed kings of Brazilian thrash metal/hard rock. But, the history to this band is complex, deep and about as heavy as the music itself. In 1984, brothers Max and Igor Cavalera formed Sepultura, and at first the band fused together death metal and thrash, to create a more sinister sound early on with albums like Morbid Visions (1986) and Schizophrenia (1987), which detailed the horrors or war and the end of the world; but with later releases the band's sound became all-out thrash metal. In 1996, after much inner turmoil and family related disputes, Max, left the band and later formed Soulfly, and later Cavalera Conspiracy with his brother Igor when he also exited Sepultura around a decade after Max. Sepultura's iconic albums Beneath the Remains (1989), and Arise (1991), are staples to any fan of speed metal, and are considered to be classics, putting Sepultura in the same league as Slayer, Pantera, and Metallica. 1993's Chaos A.D. kept the thrash foundation but added hints of industrial and groove metal for a ferocious and intensely politically charged album that still holds true to this day.
The last album to feature Max, Roots (1996) brought on the nu metal movement and had a heavy emphasis on groove and down tuned guitar interludes, tribal drums, and a Brazilian spiritual element as well. New singer Derrick Green joined Sepultura in 1997, and has since recorded seven albums with the band. The new line up also includes guitarist Andreas Kisser, original bassist Paulo Jr., and newcomer, behind the drums, Eloy Casagrande. The band is just about to release its 13th album and embark on a world wide 30th anniversary tour.
Alex Distefano is an established freelance writer and music blogger from the Los Angeles area. With over a dozen years under his belt as a published Journalist, he covers the worlds of heavy metal music, punk rock, current events, cannabis culture, comedy, radio, food, tattoos, the paranormal, and ‘conspiracy theories.’ He graduated from California State University Long Beach in 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in both Journalism and Ancient History. Aside from his professional writing endeavors, Distefano works as an Educator, and delivery/rideshare driver.