Brazilian thrash legends have influenced many, blown away many more. Formed in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, in 1984, Sepultura swiftly became major players in the burgeoning thrash metal underground. With a sound that was as inventive and exuberant as it was raw and primitive, the band shattered preconceptions by planting South America firmly on the metal map. The albums Arise and Chaos AD are essential thrash listening. Since then the style has varied a little, from the early Black and Death to, in the 90s, dipping into nu / alternative, hardcore, world music and Groove Metal.
With no original members, only bassist Paulo Jr stands from their debut release, although the current line-up has been pretty stable. It’s been a few years since their previous outing The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart (2013). The original front man Max Cavalera left 10 years ago and replacing him may have killed lesser bands.
The opening title track starts with a good build, but on listening to the whole album this one is probably the weakest, disjointed in the mix of directions (a nod to goth metal, a bit sludgy in places)
That is rectified in ‘I Am The Enemy’, much more the Brazilian thrash we know and love.
The intro to ‘Phantom Self’ is more Santana before blistering and head shaking thrash comes in. In fact this typifies the album – when the band do what they are best known for, the album is as good as anything they’ve done. Ever. But there are too many detractions, detours, which sidelines any consistency. 7/10