An album that flew so far under the radar that I am surprised that Mr C Jermyn on here did not try to review it first! I honestly had no idea that this was being released and it shows how far down the list of importance that this band has fallen. At one point, these guys were all conquering and heading in the direction that Pantera had earlier forged. Then after 'Roots' (cleverly linked in here), it all seemed to fall apart, which is a shame because the few times I have managed to catch these guys live, no matter who was in the band they have always been on fire. In the studio though, it has not been as rosy if the truth be told; their output has been a little patchy at best. But there was always a bit of a fanfare around a release, so for this one (especially one that has production work from Ross Robinson who produced 'Roots') to fly past without at least Jerm catching wind of it, you have to question the marketing department for the band. This album is the first to feature new drummer Eloy Casagrande. Well, time to see if the beast still has fang or has it been tamed?
After a brief piece of white noise, they come out with their guns blazing straight into "Trauma Of War", the traditional tribal music of years gone by have well and truly been left to the side on this track. It is old school track and done with a sense of urgency that has been missing for this listener for far too long in this band. It is back to basics and a great piece of trash metal. Bells start off "The Vatican" also you have the strange horror keyboards and a choir in the background which was recorded by Renato Zanuto, it is all building towards another air pumping thrash anthem that will have the great unwashed going weak at the knees and forming circle pits with gusto. "Impending Doom" has one of the best groove metal riffs I have heard in many a year, it has a strange bridge moment that threatens to bring the song to a spectacular halt but they save it.
Next is "Manipulation Of Tragedy" is another all piston's trash monster that grinds along with a brooding determination. A fire has been lit under the band and they are playing for their lives at this point; however the vocal delivery on this track does not match the earlier work on the album. Just something about it does not quite click for me. Not band, just not as engaging as the first three songs. "Tsunami" starts with the warning horns and feedback, before dropping a classic metal riff and drum combination as well as the biting vocal delivery that we know Derrick Green is capable of releasing onto the world. It is another example of how far the band is removed from that period of their career when the tribe became more important than the band. "The Blessing Of Ignorants" is the next song and starts with the tribal drums which I will admit brought a little fear into my soul. But then it releases a groove bomb onto the world and is probably the best song I have heard from the band for years.
"Grief" is next, with a slow and soulful start you could be forgiven for thinking that the band has asked for someone else to cover for them whilst they have a rest. But that is not the case, the band have created a haunting opening to then be able to release a metal beast so that their angry and despair can be released unto the planet. This is not the best track for me, but I applaud the thought behind it and I can also not fault the delivery. "The Age Of The Atheist" is next and is another slow bruiser of a number that takes a little bit to get to the point, but once it does get there it starts to speed up and deliver the riff and bile in spades. Another great example of a band in full control of their collective powers. "Obsessed" is a track I was interest in hearing as it has additional drumming from Dave Lombardo from Slayer/Fantômas fame. Out of all the numbers on the album, it is the one I wish had have been given more time; it just seems to be over far too soon. That said it is a great little trash number. Ending the album is "Da Lama ao Caos" which is a cover song originally by Chico Science & Nação Zumbi. As I have never heard the original I have no reference points. It is back to the more traditional sound of Sepultra and as well as it is played I think it ends the album with a look over the shoulder that was not needed.
Overall, this album is very good; I love the anger and passion that has been brought back to the band that was missing for a while. However, there is a couple of places that drag the album back down and the last cover ends the album on a strange note that the rest of the album had tried to erase in a way. It brought back to mind the Max Cavalera era and that is something that the band does not need or should do at this point. They should be moving on, not looking back; they almost did it and maybe next time they will. But for the most part this album is very entertaining.
7 out of ten - This is good and well worth a check
Top Track - Impending Doom
You can purchase one of the formats of the album from Amazon here
You can visit the Sepultura website here
You can listen to the album on Spotify here
For our Deezer users, here is your link