My long-standing love-hate (mostly hate) relationship with Sepultura is well documented here on Metal-Rules.com. The short version is that I’m a ‘first four albums only’ guy for the band. It has got nothing to do with Max, I don’t care if he is in or out, I’m not one of those, ‘No Max, No Sepultura’ guys. He left the band almost 30 years ago, he ain’t comin’ back, get over it. What I can’t get past is that how the band that was so good, had so much promise and so much potential, could get so bad, so fast and stay so bad, for so long.
However, I never gave up hope. I would periodically check in with the band and listen to what they were doing but I was never impressed and always disappointed. Over the years I reviewed ROORBACK in 2003 and I reviewed KAIROS in 2011 and there would be an occasional glimmer of hope, but one adequate song here or there on an album is not enough. I still would even go see the band live and they always entertain, but I just can’t get on board with their new direction, since 1992 or 1993. So after over a quarter of a century and ten lousy albums in a row, I had almost given hope, almost. In the late winter/early spring of 2020, I got an advance, digital copy of the new album QUADRA (their 15th) and I threw it on without even thinking about it and with zero expectations, other than I fully expected it to suck…again.
I was wrong. Sepultura are back. Sepultura are playing Metal again for the first time for the first time in decades.
On paper nothing has changed. Same record label, same line-up. It was the second album in a row recorded with Jens Bogren in Sweden, maybe he kicked those guys in the ass and said, “It time to play Metal again, boys!” Whatever the reason, this is the best Sepultura album in decades. It’s fast, it’s heavy, they play guitar again. The vast majority of the nu-metal/punk/alt/groove/core influences that ruined the previous 10 albums are almost virtually eliminated. This is actually a thrash album. I mean, it would be too much to expect them to sound like pure, old school thrash like Havok, or Warbringer or Hatchet or all those young bands that have been consistently blowing Sepultura away for years, but it is actually thrash, closer to what Testament are Kreator doing these days. I could not be happier. If someone had played me a track like ‘The Pentagram’ or ‘Last Time’ and said, “Guess what band this is”, I would have NEVER in a million years guessed it was Sepultura! They still mix in a bit of neat sonic stuff like acoustic guitar, big back-up vocals, and even the tiniest hint of tribal rhythms but it is all top-notch.
If you are like me and gave up on the band all those years you can feel confident going into QUADRA. It is not just hype. Virtually every album recently by the band someone has said, ‘Best Sepultura album since…”..but this time it is actually true and not some marketing ploy by a publicist or fan-boy hype or a journalist getting paid to write a positive review. It’s not just me saying it, many reviews are noting how the band is playing thrash again.
It feels good to like Sepultura again. Welcome back.
2. Means to an End
3. Last Time
4. Capital Enslavement
6. Raging Void
7. Guardians of Earth
8. The Pentagram
11. Agony of Defeat
12. Fear • Pain • Chaos • Suffering