Cavalera notable by his absence
By Tim Ruzek
For the Post-Bulletin
Sepultura's back "against" the world with its first album with new lead singer Derrick Green titled "Against." The band's unique, south-of-the-Equator style of metal mayhem marches on without former front man Max Cavalera in the lineup, but his absence is very present in this album's vocals and lyrics.
Cavalera, who left the band a year or two ago and formed his own band called Soulfly, had more intense and gruff vocals than the new Sepultura lead singer and he also wrote better lyrics. The lyrics for this album were mostly done by Sepultura guitarist Andreas Kisser whose guitar performance is average but still has his standard heavy riffs mixed in with two-string solos that sound like air raid sirens.
But the remaining Cavalera member of Sepultura, drummer Igor Cavalera, carries the band virtually on his back in this album with his intense and heavy drum rhythms that break off here and there into different sounds through the use of some Brazilian tribal percussion instruments.
His mastery of heavy metal thrashing is displayed right at the beginning with a fast, aggressive beat that introduces the album's title song, "Against."
This song is one of the best on the album because all parts of the band sound good. Guitarist Kisser has a cool metal riff, Cavalera has a beat fit for any mosh pit, Green sings his best of the whole album and bassist Paulo Jr. holds down the rhythm.
That meshing together of the group isn't as noticeable on the rest of the album, though. Other songs like "Old Earth," "Floaters in Mud" and "Hatred Aside" all have certain parts to them that rock, but the band doesn't always stay in the cool groove and the singing doesn't always compliment the music.
"Reza" is another good song. It's sung in Spanish, but it would be hard to understand it even if it were in English because it's such a fast song. A different singer is also brought in on this track and it brings back memories of when Cavalera led the band.
This album does break off into a few "tribal jams" where it's all instrumental and the group does collaborate with a few other artists. On the song "Hatred Aside," Metallica bassist Jason Newsted co-writes and guest sings and plays bass on it. The Japanese band KODO also gets together, with Sepultura making an interesting mix of Brazilian and Japanese music.
This album isn't quite up to Sepultura standards but it does have its moments. The group just needs more time to find the right chemistry with Green. If Van Halen can go through three different lead singers and maintain a high level of success, then there's hope for Sepultura.
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