There are occasions when you just have to sit back and admire a band that continue to write, record, release albums and tour in the face of long-term adversity. More than a decade has passed since SEPULTURA last had anyone bearing the Cavalera name in their ranks – and in turn any original members at all – yet their refusal to call it a day despite the persistent ‘No Max/Igor, no SEPULTURA’ voices is testament to their spirit and ‘metal as balls’ attitude. In line with this, their fourteenth studio album, Machine Messiah, drops on Friday, released via Nuclear Blast and produced by Jens Bogren (OPETH, DRAGONFORCE, KREATOR).
It might be an outdated expression from the 90s, but there’s only one word that sufficiently describes this album: groovy. There’s obviously plenty more than that – you don’t keep going for over thirty years unless you have a bunch of tricks in your arsenal – but there’s more groove on Machine Messiah than most corduroy trousers. It might not be totally apparent from the off, the rumbling title track – containing some untypical clean vocals from Derrick Green, giving way to the bruising I am the Enemy but it comes into the foreground on the chuggy Phantom Self (also boasting some tribal, almost Arabic guitar and drum work at the beginning) and continues from thereon in.
Neither Alathea or Resistant Parasites would look out of place on a MACHINE HEAD record and there’s also Sworn Oath which has more of a grandiose feel, incorporating keyboards and a smattering of brass. For the thrashers out there, look no further than Silent Violence, which will start pits up and down the country when the band head to these shores supporting KREATOR and Vandals Nest which somehow ups the tempo even more, battering the senses into submission in less than three minutes. Then there’s Andreas Kisser‘s masterclass on Iceberg Dances, an instrumental encompassing MAIDEN-esque duelling guitars and more riffs than you can throw a pick at before the whole album wraps up with the stomp, grit and menace of Cyber God which will please fans of bands like FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH no end.
Sure, they might not have the pace of other bands in their field nowadays like HAVOK and MUNICIPAL WASTE, but SEPULTURA have once again defied their critics to produce an album with slab upon slab of heaviness in terms of both riffs and drum fills. There’s life in the old dog yet.
Machine Messiah is set for release on January 13th via Nuclear Blast Records.
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