Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Sepultura: Machine Messiah (2017)
After Derrick Green took over vocal duties from the departed Max Cavalera, Sepultura cratered for a while. Their sound went in more of a hardcore direction and the passion was simply not there. It seems apparent now that the band was often following trends: evolving into a groove metal band when Pantera hit it big and then nu-metal when Korn was the flavor of the day. Then when extreme metal came back into popularity, the band once again shifted in that direction. That being said, the quality of the band's albums has been gradually improving over the last several years, to the point that I was actually impressed enough to pick this one up.
Things get off to kind of a weird start on the opening title track here. Sepultura is not really known for their melodic sensibility, and we have a more subtle, softer sound on this track for the first few minutes. Green eventually starts screaming, but the tone of the song remains more melodic and somber than their typical rage and anger. It returns to that rage and anger from the second track on. "I am the Enemy" definitely has more of a defiant punk edge to it, and the simple, groove-laden riffs certainly help. The band still utilizes some tribal drumming ("Phantom Self"), an element that gained the band mainstream notice in the mid 1990's. For the most part, this album is more of the same groove metal that the band has been playing for the last several years, but there is something much more savage and bestial this time around.
The album is something of a concept album, about technology taking over people's lives, and the problems that would likely arise from technology taking over. Think Terminator. I have not spent any time reviewing the lyrics to look at the story of the album, I just know it is there.
This is easily the best album Sepultura has released since Max left the band. That really is not saying that much though. It is probably better than Roots, but maybe not as good as Chaos A.D., so of course the older stuff still blows it out of the water. Still though, it is nice to hear something decent from the band that I loved so much going into high school.