It’s been 3 years since the release of the last album by Sepultura, 2017’s Machine Messiah, but it sure doesn’t feel like it. It must not feel it for the stalwart metallers either as Quadra, their 15th full-length effort, effortlessly pick up from where that album left off.
This is also the 9th album featuring vocalist Derrick Green who made his mark on 1998’s ‘Against’ – previous frontman Max Cavalera featured on 6 albums before leaving the band after their 1996 UK tour. There are still factions of the metal community that clamour for those heady days of classic Sepultura but give Derrick credit where it’s due, his contribution to the band has become more and more invaluable as each album progresses and Quadra sees his strongest performance to date, maybe even enough to finally silence his blinkered critics.
The first 3 tracks are adrenaline-fuelled, thrash filled beasts that are as good as anything the band have released over the last 30 years. Opener ‘Isolation’ goes straight for the jugular once the intro fades whereas ‘Last Time’ welds sheer aggression with eerie melodic interludes. This is Sepultura as hungry as they’ve been for a long time.
There is more to the album than the usual thrasharounds though, with tracks like ‘Capital Enslavement’ blending brutality with experimentation and some incredible guitar work from Andreas Kisser (whose work on this album is amongst the best he’s ever created). Other tracks like ‘Raging Void’ are driven by a bass-heavy groove and ‘Guardians Of Earth’ see the boys from Brazil (and Los Angeles!) experiment even further than they have done before, utilising many instruments and even a choir.
Amongst all of this craziness going on, this is still a Sepultura album at its heart – even to the melodic vocals of ‘Agony Of Defeat’ where Derrick really gets to flex those vocal cords. This isn’t the best Sepultura album to date (that would still be Beneath The Remains, possibly the greatest metal record of all time) but in the Derrick Green era it’s quite possibly the strongest and most versatile of the last 22 years. And not only that, it’s a damn enjoyable album too that has longevity and replay value. It’s hard to pinpoint the best track as there are so many contenders and the album is meant to be enjoyed as a whole entity. They may have moved away from their roots (bloody roots) but Sepultura 2020 is still a force to be reckoned with.
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