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Sepultura - Machine Messiah

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Wisely, Brazilian veterans Sepultura have steadfastly avoided trying to "recapture" anything with their new albums. Unlike some high-profile former members, who insist on nostalgia trips at every opportunity, Sepultura continue to try to create something different to their previous efforts. The results are often not stellar, but they're most certainly intriguing. Machine Messiah is very unlikely to change the mind of any Sepultura fan of old who is stuck in the Max Cavalera years wishing the band would make Beneath The Remains again. But in the context of the post-Cavalera band (bearing in mind the band have now been without Max for nearly twice as long as they were with him), this is probably their best album since at least Roorback, possibly even Against. Previous album The Mediator Between Head And Hands Must Be The Heart re-engaged them somewhat with thrash metal, and there are remnants of that here too in I Am The Enemy and the blistering Vandals Nest, but otherwise Machine Messiah attempts to basically do what Chaos A.D. did in 1992 - it starts with the basis of the previous album, and takes it in different directions. While unlikely to prove as successful as Chaos A.D. was, it is a much more interesting album than The Mediator.... That is an overall impression though, not an immediate one. The opening title track doesn't so much exhibit a gradual evolution as it does a giant (and successful) left-field lurch to doom metal. The song is almost three minutes old before there are even any harsh vocals. As surprising as the adoption of such a style on a Sepultura record might sound, it works impressively well for them. That same style returns in part on Sworn Oath later on, then again at the close on Cyber God, and in between they tread a little more familiar territory on Phantom Self and Alethea, throw in another slightly left-field turn on progressive instrumental Iceberg Dances, replete with organ, and thrash out again on Silent Violence. Anyone who's even come close to liking a Derrick Green-fronted Sepultura should investigate this record.

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2017, Albums, Quickplay Reviews, Thrash Metal,

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