Released: 2009, SPV
Reviewer: Mr. Rock
Brazilian thrashers Sepultura are back with their 11th disc, and first disc sans Cavalera. Are Sepultura the same band since the departure of the Cavalera brothers (Max left in ’97, Iggor left in ’06)? No, of course not. They could never be. That doesn’t mean however that Sepultura 2009 is irrelevant, cause they are not. This is a pretty solid band with a good energy from new drummer Dollabella, and a band that can still kick your ass at times. For the most part, A-LEX proves this point.
This new disc is based on the novel / film “A Clockwork Orange”, with the title A-LEX (which is also Russian for lawless) coming from the main character in the story. Now, never having read the book, nor seen the movie, the review is based entirely on the music, and not on the storyline.
This album might take a bit to get used to, but after a lot of listens, I find that if I cancel out the filler (and there is a bit too much of it) what’s left is a solid, thrashy disc with a lot of grit.
Cut into 4 sections, with each section beginning with a rather annoying instrumental, the storyline is fairly easy to follow, though I couldn’t tell you how faithful it is to the book/movie. What is obvious though, is that the intros (“A-Lex I” through “A-Lex IV”) only slow the pace of the album and actually hinder the listening experience rather than enhance it. Why on earth would a thrash band want to stop the action to let the listener catch their breath?? I dunno, but for me, it just doesn’t make sense.
Starting with the fast “Moloko Mesto”, Sepultura start rolling full steam ahead, and the first half of the disc is very cool that way. “We’ve Lost You!” and “The Treatment” are pounding, and I really like “What I Do”, though the slow-ish, and long “Sadistic Values” seems out of place here. Again, it only seems to slow the pace.
As good as the first half is, the second half really loses steam. “Enough Said” and “Ludwig Van”, combined with the instrumental intro, really negatively effect the overall punch of the disc. If these pieces were gone, a more compact A-LEX would be a great disc. Too much filler, and too many occasions where the disc loses steam. Sepultura was on a very good path with A-LEX, and I enjoy the first half of the disc. So for me, I just deleted the filler on my iPod, and just let ‘em kick my ass.