Released: 2011, Nuclear Blast
I’m probably not the best person to be reviewing the new Sepultura album since I gave up on the band in 1993 and feel they haven’t done anything good in 20 years. However, it’s been eight years and a pair of albums since I reviewed ROORBACK on this site back in 2003, so I thought I’d check into camp Sepultura again. I sort of wish I hadn’t.
There is quite a bit of hype around this record, a new label, the most ‘Metal’ album cover they have had in decades, and an alleged return to form following the moderately unsuccessful concept album, A-LEX. There is even a promo sticker on the front of the album that proudly proclaims, “ Arguably their best record since CHAOS A.D.!” Well, to me that’s laughable because CHAOS A.D. was the album that made me decide to give up on the band! Don’t let the hype fool ya, the band is still churning out the same Alt. Metal/Nu-Metal/Hardcore/Groove/Mallcore mush they have been doing for two decades now.
The band has fallen into that rare category, a growing pantheon of bands including Napalm Death, In Flames, Judas Priest and Stratovarius that have no original members so it’s not shocking that the band sound nothing like what attracted me to them in the first place, but if Stratovarius can keep making good albums with a sound consistent with their original sound, why can’t Sepultura?
Derek Green is still occasionally prattling on about the socialist, left-wing revolutionary/rebellion nonsense that has lyrically plagued every album since Chaos A.D. Early on there is a cover tune of a 90’s industrial band, a choice that betrays the bands constant and continual distancing themselves from their Metal roots. The album is mostly slow to mid-paced with lots of sound effects but short on riffs and again virtually no guitar solos to speak of. KAIROS deliver the same simplistic, down-tuned, chugga-chugga sound of the past seven studio albums, very little dynamics or range in the compositions. All the songs sit in the 4-5 minute range, which is long for Sepultura songs, except for the three, little (useless) interlude cuts, ‘2011’, ‘1433’ and ‘5772’; all under 30 seconds of noise and the last cut ‘’4648’ which is, I believe, the longest song they have ever done, at over eight minutes. I will say that the band has downplayed the hardcore/punk taint of the past several albums and gone back a bit more into a groove thing. It is a step back towards the light but it’s certainly not this raging Metal beast that some are proclaiming it to be.
The production is OK, but I’m not one of the guys who thinks that Roy Z. is the Metal production Golden Boy, after hearing how he botched the production Helloween’s THE DARK RIDE and Halford’s CRUCIBLE. Granted it’s big and loud and Z’s chameleon-like ability to adapt the sound to sound ‘modern and heavy’ whatever the hell that means. It’s one small step back in the right direction.
Those of you who still wish for a ‘classic era’ reunion, don’t hold your breath. Green has been in the band twice as long as Cavalera and has done more albums with Sepultura than Max did. He ain’t going anywhere and why should he? For what it is, KAIROS is really good, as good or better than anything from the Camp Cavalera, I just don’t like the style or sound. Sepultura, despite my ambivalence, is still one of the longest running, most popular, best-selling Metal bands of all time and if you have liked anything Sepultura has done since 1991 then double my rating of KAIROS from a two out of five to a four out of five.