Posts Tagged ‘Sepultura’

It’s been almost 12 years since the last time I saw Sepultura live, when they supported In Flames on the Come Clarity tour. I don’t really know why I missed them so many times, I’m still a huge fan and have never stopped listening to their music. I guess times never matched up. But GODDAMN have I been a fool in that regard.

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First off, this is a new venue for me, the SWG3 in Glasgow’s West End which is an old warehouse that they’ve converted into what looks to be a fine arty venue. I missed Fit for an Autopsy’s set due to taking so long to find the venue but the last track I walked in on sounded great. It was my first time seeing Goatwhore live, and their vicious deathly black metal was particularly visceral tonight. Tracks like ‘Chaos Arcane’ roaring with barely contained malice really sets you up well for an evening of brutality!

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Next up were Obscura, whose fret shredding magnificence was almost too much to handle at points. Spiralling solos ripped through the SWG3 crowd, while brutal death metal riffing sent the pit crazy. It was a technical overload, with the likes of ‘Anticosmic Overlord’ and the mesmerising ‘Ocean Gateways’ absolutely slaying the denizens who stood open mouthed at the maddening guitar work.

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Finally the best part of the evening. Sepultura are, frankly, incredible live. Derrick Green strides onto the stage, the most unfuckwithable frontman in metal and roars with power as the band slam through a set that would invigorate even the most jaded metal fan. Their material from new record ‘Machine Messiah’ slides straight in between the classics and sounds just RIGHT, and when Andreas Kisser tells us that it is Green’s 20th year as a member of Sepultura, you realise that he’s been there almost twice as long as Max was. That is amazing, and Sepultura have thrived with him. Squeezing in some stuff from ‘Against’, we end with Brazilian classics ‘Arise’, ‘Ratamahatta’ and the building shaking ‘Roots Bloody Roots’. This is a masterclass in heavy music and no one leaving the building that night would disagree. Massive, essential and brutal, Sepultura are awesome.

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At this point I realised what a challenge finding thirty one quality thrash records that DIDN’T include the nation’s favourites actually was. But, as usual when adversity strikes me musically, I shuffled my iTunes and came up with our following batch. Here is Ser Geary’s analysis:

Once more unto the breach!
Himsa – Summon in Thunder
Blood Tsunami – For Faen!
Gama Bomb – Citizen Brain
Himsa is a stampede of riffs. I got a hardcore/thrash feel off them in addition to boundless energy. There were a few highlights off this. ‘Big Timber’, ‘Skin Walkers’ – look out for the solos, ‘Summon In Thunder’ and the hellish stomp at the 2min mark of ‘Curseworship’.
Blood Tsunami is a proper blast of raw blackened thrash moulded very much in the vein of the old school. ” Lets be faster than punk”. It’s not directly catchy but your head will nod and it will be reached for again.
‘Citizen Brain’ was one of those albums I’d read about for years and years; we had simply been like two ships in the night. Now that Mosh in May has acted as a lighthouse I can say with certainty that it deserves it’s praise. It bursts with that energy that makes you want to get up and do things! Anything. And it ripples with a sense of fun. How could track names such as ‘Zombi Brew’ and ‘Space Invaders’ not bring joy? It’s a blustering geek dipped thrash classic.Utterly deserving of it’s status.
Sepultura – Schizophrenia
Artillery – B.A.C.K
Aura Noir – Black Thrash Attack
Sepultura. If you do not know these guys stop reading. Go to google and come back when your life has been enhanced. Suitably enhanced? Sublime news. As you now know these stalwarts of death/thrash/groove metal have lead the charge for South American metal for years. This early outing sees a death tinged flare to it all but with a thicker sound that many bands of that era. I’m sure Max only playing with four strings was part of this. Its not their best but to ignore it would be foolish. Crank it up.
Artillery were a new band to my ears and they have been most welcome! From my notes something that leaps out is THRASH N ROLL!!! Which is clearly a good thing. somewhat Entombed like. The vocal varied quite a lot from a strained King Diamond to an Anselmo like muttering. ‘WWW’ is an excellent track with a epic opening riff. One for investigating into!
Aura Noir don’t fuck around. ‘Black Thrash Attack’ is exactly that. It’s a look back at that period of invention where bands had a bit of everything. It’s fearless and essential. One for everyday? Maybe not but like that meal you have a few times a year when it happenes you love it. ‘Caged Wrath’ and ‘Black Thrash Attack’ are track highlights with bonus points for naming a track ‘The One Who Smites’.

This is the best Sepultura album, period. Seems a strange way to start a review, surely I should explain my decision in a well thought out argument that tells you all just why exactly this is the case. But I have listened to this album countless times over the past years, and have never got bored of it. ‘Roots’ was more tribal, ‘Arise’ may have been the pinnacle of the band’s death metal period, and ‘Schizophrenia’ the under produced thrash gem, but it is ‘Beneath the Remains’ that welds those two styles together in a way that has scarcely ever been equalled since.

The title track opens the album with acoustic picking that is eerily reminiscent of Metallica’s ‘Call of Ktulu’, but then explodes into a hyper-speed explosion of thrash that barrels onwards at a hundred miles an hour. Max Cavalera gives the vocal performance of his career on this album, his rabid growl perfectly suited the raw, primitive feeling of the album. Second track ‘Inner Self’ slows the tempo but at no point loses the power of the opener. The drumming of Ivor Cavalera is strong, punishing and relentless in its pursuit of the riffing. This is a thrash album that rarely slows to draw breath before exploding off in another direction.

‘Stronger Than Hate’ is probably my favourite song on the album, with its lightning pace, hooky refrains and technical passages. It is a gem amongst gems, only bettering the others by pure personal choice. The palm muting frenzy of ‘Mass Hypnosis’ follows, with some great stop start sections and the most face meltingly good solo on the records. It is also obscenely catchy, something that should not necessarily occur with such brutal, relentless music but yet they have pulled it off. Almost every track has that element about it, not just the ‘oh this is Sepultura’ recognition but the ‘this is ‘Sarcastic Existence’ motherfuckers, let’s go mosh!’. It is an album where the riff is king, and you can take your pick to the best, but the opening burst of ‘Mass Hypnosis’ is mine, closely followed by the chorus of ‘Slave of Pain’.

Cavalera’s vocals and lyrics provides the perfect soundtrack to such apocalyptic sounding music. Be it war, death and destruction on the title track, anger and isolation, vengeance or death and pain, Max’s bark captures such themes with intensity and emotion it is hard not to get swept up along with him. His answer to coming destruction is to brave the degeneration of societal values by self trust and self empowerment, and preaches over some of the most self affirming metal ever written. It is an album whose poorer tracks, (Hungry, Lobotomy) still wipe the floor with 95% of all other thrash bands. By poor, I meant in comparison to the rest of the album, they are still of a very high quality.

Sepultura may have left this style behind, and Soulfly sure as hell haven’t written anything this good, but this is by far and away the best album the band have ever produced. It’s their ‘Master of Puppets’, their ‘Reign in Blood’, and deservedly should be spoken in the same breath as those as a classic thrash work.