"A-Lex" (SPV / Steamhammer; 2008)

Reviewed by Metal Mark

Twenty-five years into the game and Sepultura are still forging ahead. During that time span they have certainly gone through their share of line-up changes. They have also gone through numerous musical approaches with mostly positive results.

"A-Lex" is based around “A Clockwork Orange” by Anthony Burgess. The album consists of 18 songs with a whopping running time of over 60 minutes. Each song is a only couple of minutes long. In many ways, the songs feel more like chapters and the structure is often loose at best. The band reached out and pulled in elements of thrash, hardcore and a few brief tribal type rhythms so, basically, it's comprised of styles that they have done in the past yet the arrangements are ferocious and focused enough to really have an impact.

Despite the sometimes rough feel, "A-Lex" undoubtedly works as a whole. There is much to take in due to the amount of songs and different styles, but all of the parts are important. The band tends to sacrifice melodies for aggression and that does limit them. Still, they certainly keep everything rolling along except for a few slightly dull moments towards the middle of the album.

Cavalera-less Sepultura may be, but that doesn't take away from the fact that this album still caries on the dark, heavy and intriguing style of music that this band has come to be known for.

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"A-Lex" (SPV / Steamhammer; 2008)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

Left with only one original member in the fold (Andreas Kisser, for those keeping score), Sepultura continues to trudge on Cavalera-less with the entity's latest release, "A-Lex," a concept album based on cult novel "A Clockwork Orange" by Anthony Burgess.

This 18-track affair attacks with the fervor this act has championed since the split in 1997, audibly conveying a commendable slab of the throbbing tribal stomp and unabashed heaviness this band helped to invent back in the early 90s ("What I Do," "The Treatment"). Sounding as sharp and blistering as ever ("Sadistic Values," "Strike"), especially vocally thanks to Derrick Green's seething submergence into venomous death metal pits of despair ("Moloko Mesto"), there's even a few of the band's trademarked nuances revisited here ("Filthy Rot," "The Treatment," "The Experiment"), properly placed to effortlessly flow into the group's current paradigm.

As with virtually every concept album, "A-Lex" suffers from some bloat (the off-the-mark classical homage "Ludwig Van" seems too self-indulgent even though it fits storyline wise), yet the good outweighs the bad here long enough to keep the skip button from getting hit.

Sepultura will probably never be the same as the glory days sans a full-on reunion, but this incarnation's noble flying of the flag and willingness to take risks overall renders a rewarding listening experience for those tuned in to this trailblazing troupe's new directives.

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"Dante XXI" (SPV / Steamhammer; 2006)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

Sepultura is a band that many people may have written off when vocalist/founder Max Cavalera exited nearly a decade ago, but those same people should take a gander at the latest installment by the Brazilian thrash titans and their daunting new release, "Dante XXI."

With vocalist Derek Green now a member ten years strong and finally hitting his maniacal vocal stride, this 15-track studio endeavor finally displays the fury that Green brings to the Sepultura live set. With a discernibly more hardcore stance than previous outings, songs like “Fighting On” and “Ostia” are truly representative of the band that Sepultura is today, while face-peeling tracks “Convicted in Life” and “False” demonstrate the most cohesive attempt the current unit has made in recreating the classic "Chaos A.D." sound. 

Rounded out with a bevy of string arrangements and traditional Sepultura experimentation (after all, it is a concept album), "Dante XXI" is a triumphantly tumultuous affair and easily the best album this lineup has delivered. 

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"Roorback" (SPV / Steamhammer; 2003)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

The mighty Brazilian metal troupe Sepultura have crawled out from the depths of mediocrity with "Roorback," a 13-track triumphant return for the groundbreaking quartet. 

Finally, properly assimilated and kicking serious ass, vocalist Derrick Green comes into his own here, spitting out lyrics with an aggressive conviction not heard since Max Cavalera parted ways with the outfit way back when. "Roorback's" music is also as convincing, at times harkening back to the glory days of "Arise," like on the somber crunch of "Bottomed Out" or the fist-to-the-face that is "Leech."

It's always good to see a band make a strong comeback after a few sluggish outings, and Sepultura's latest release aptly shows that they've got the desire and firepower to continue to be a force in the metal realm. 

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"Under a Pale Grey Sky" (Roadrunner Records; 2002)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

The explosive power of Sepultura is caught on this live, two-CD set containing nearly two hours of the Brazilian band's most fiery hits. Recorded live at the legendary Brixton Academy in London on December 1996, "Pale Grey Sky" is stickered with "The Last Live Performance of the Classic Line-Up" which apparently means Max Cavalera, Paulo Jr., Igor Cavalera and Andreas Kisser. I'm not real familiar with the Sepultura history, but if there were any indication that this performance would be this line-up's last, you wouldn't know it from this recording. The band sounds sharp, tight and - most importantly - fired up for this performance.

As mentioned, all the big tunes (up to that point) are here: "Roots Bloody Roots," "Attitude" "Dictatorshit," "Biotech is Godzilla" plus many others (a total of 28 tracks). Throughout, the entire band is in fine form, screaming at the top of their lungs, delivering the violent sledgehammer guitar that Sepultura is well known for and giving each of their songs an almost spiritual feel - no small feat considering the raging fury of the music.

Yeah, they take their use of the word "fuck" to a ridiculous extreme. By the time you finish listening to this CD, you'll think you've watched "Scarface" a coupla of times. I mean, there's nothing wrong with using that word, but - trust me on this, Sepultura - there are other adjectives out there. Sometimes, it gets downright laughable. And every now and then, the band gets into their own little jams once too often. But it's all good.

The set ends with a rousing cover of Motorhead's "Orgasmatron," complete with Lemmy's trademark letting-the-amps-squeal-while-the-band-exists-the-stage trick. Hey, works for me.

Sepultura: Max Cavalera - vocals, 4-string guitar, berimbau; Paulo Jr. - bass; Igor Cavalera - drums, percussion; Andreas Kisser - guitar, vocals.

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"Nation" (Roadrunner Records; 2001) 

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

In case you're wondering, Sepultura means "Grave" in Portuguese. The intro song on this CD, entitled "Sepulnation," is a speaker buster. This stuff is heavier than wet carpet!! With Derrick Green at the helm, Sepultura converge with an onslaught of military yells, teeth busting guitar and head splitting drums. This being my first Sepultura CD (!) I feel it only truthful to announce I might go on some type of spree if I listen to this too much.

I never got into Sepultura when Max was leading the revolution. I didn't care for the vocals (if I want to hear Cookie Monster sing I can catch Sesame Street on PBS). But I can tolerate the vocals here because I know it's part of the show. Some things become more tolerable with time (I don't know if that's a memorable quote but you can say you read it here first).

Speaking of quotes, the liner notes are graced with sayings from historical figures like Gandhi, Einstein and the Dali Lama. Sepultura are not just revolutionaries, they are intelligent activists.

The thing that "Nation" makes clear is that "Sepulnation" is not just a song but the beginning of a new way of life. A new nation, a new flag and a new anthem. And, with Sepultura delivering the riffs, you can better believe it will be a fist raiser.

Die hard fans will be chanting along and, if you get in their way, just know that you have been forewarned. A new "Nation" is rising. Fist first.

The best songs here are "Sepulnation," "Border Wars," and "One Man Army."

Sepultura: Derrick Green - vocals; Paulo Jr. - bass; Igor Cavalera - drums and percussion; Andreas Kisser - guitars.

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"Against" (Roadrunner Records; 1998) 

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

It's hard to believe that SEPULTURA has already been around for twelve years, especially after listening to the band's latest release, "Against."

Ferocious, fresh, raw, powerful, angry - all of these words describe "Against." You'd never know this was the band's first recording with their new vocalist Derrick Green. It's as if this is the same exact band that's been playing together for the past dozen years. The songs are fast and furious, the guitars slashing, the drums bruising. Green's vocals are roughly intense. Sepultura fans will be pleased to learn that - despite all the trouble their favorite band has endured over the years - they continue to survive.  Highlights include the punk-flavored "Hatred Aside," the stunningly original "T3cermillenium," and "Choke."

Sepultura is: Derrick Green, vocals; Andreas Kisser, guitar, vocals; Paulo Jr., bass; Igor Cavalera, drums.

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"Ratamahatta" (CD Single; 1997) 

Reviewed by Pud

What the hell is this shit and why is it playing on my stereo? I understand that these Brazilians are quite popular, I just got no clue why. On this two song trainwreck of a CD these gentleman ruin an awesome Bob Marley song "War" and then move on to do a brutal little ditty called Ratamahatta, which I just call RattaSHIT. If you like this CD you probably work the night shift at some fast food joint or 24-hour a convenience store. I will pray for your souls.

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"Arise" (Roadrunner Records; 1991)

Reviewed by TBJ

It’s almost been a decade since this album came out, and it still stirs up the demons in me as good now as it did then. For the people who don’t know Sepultura (where have you been!), here’s a little history lesson:

Four young Brazilian slackers by the names of Max, his brother Igor, Paulo and Jairo T., decided to form a death metal band, with the obligatory satanic references and all. By listening to their debut EP ("Bestial Devastation") and their first album ("Morbid Visions"), I realized how inexperienced and just plain young these guys were at the time. In their sophomore effort ("Schizophrenia"), the group matured a bit, going in an almost Sodom/Slayer kind of direction. Nothing new, but brutal indeed.

Next came "Beneath the Remains," and while typical death/thrash, the songs became more complex, better structured and the lyrics started to make a whole more lot of sense. The guys really grew up on this one, and people started to take notice of them.

With their fourth release ("Arise"), the guys took what worked on "Remains" and expanded on it. This is by far their most technically sound disc. Brazilian influences start surfacing; more so on the drums. Igor’s hellacious beats could make Dave Lombardo proud. The guitars are aggressive, but clear. Max’s growls have never been more discernible than on this disc; he even tries different approaches to convey his message in a clearer form. 

The only down side I see in this production is the bass. Although Paulo is a good bassist on his own right, he seems left out of the mix in most of the songs.

Sepultura has gone through many changes throughout their career and  whether they're good or bad is a matter of opinion. What really matters is good, kickass music, and this disc delivers.

Sepultura are: Max - guitars, vocals; Igor - drums; Andreas - lead guitars; Paulo Jr. - bass.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2009 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 13:46:19 -0400 .