Re-recordings usually suck. I’ve heard enough by now to have formed that opinion, most notable in my memory is probably that Destruction re-hash from a few years back. By now, I’m pretty sure bad is a re-recording of good, boring is a re-recording of fun and the cecum is a re-recording of penis.
And still, sometimes, in very rare instances, there are cases where a re-recording is actually a good thing. One of them is “Crucificados pelo sistema”, the legendary debut by Brazil’s Ratos de Porão, probably most famous in metal circles for the Sepultura cover of the title track. A stellar rendition, I might add. Inherent in that fact is one reason why re-recording the entire album was a good idea: Approaching that sort of 100% punk material with a metal band does wonders for its appeal. And R.D.P. themselves have leaned so much to the metal side of things in the period of time between their debut release and the second version in 2001, that they will have to pass for a metal band to make my point.
What matters is that suddenly the relentless punk smashers from 1984 are enhanced with tons of punch and heaviness that the band have acquired over the years, which (I don’t need to tell you) is quite easy on metallized ears. Vocals have also shifted from a raspy scream to a deep, more guttural shout, and that’s one of the best things that could have happened. It works great with the instrumental tone, too, where bass receives a special mention for its seriously awesome, metallic twang.
Sometimes when punk bands turn towards metal, the effort is diminished by a lack of quality in songwriting, but on here, nothing has been touched, so the crusty spirit of simple chord progressions and shouted song title choruses in one-minute-something d-beat tunes remains intact as it should be. As a result, I’m tempted to call this a classic “best of both worlds” example.
The album is simplistic, violent and heavy yet many songs are catchy as hell. So even though the lyrics are of course in Portuguese, it’s hard to resist shouting along to the choruses of the likes of “Aggressão/Repressão”, “Morrerrrrrr”, “Pobreza” and so forth – as I said, the chorus just repeats the titles from the song list. Simple enough, huh? And you can do it, too! After all, the album is on Spotify to be enjoyed by all. Well, almost all. You still haven’t managed to go anywhere from whatever São Paulo backalley it was you roamed in 1984? Oh yeah, been crucified by the system alright. Here man, just hop on Youtube already.