We Say :- Sepultura are a band who will always be, whatever they may do, under the shadow of their original vocalist. No matter how many years pass there are still people who dismiss this band as somehow not being “the real deal”.
Bollocks, isn’t it?…..
The problem that Sepultura have is not the fact that they changed vocalists back in 1996. It is that the quality of their output, both before and since, has varied wildly and they have never quite managed to reach the heights that they enjoyed in their earlier career. They have always been a band not afraid to take a different direction between one album and the next with what could charitably be called mixed results.
After a dodgy patch in the early 2000s the band began to get back to something of their old levels of success with 2006’s Dante XXI and 2009’s frankly brilliant A-Lex selling well and finally getting “this” Sepultura accepted by a big chunk of the “not the same without Max” brigade.
This growing success led to the band signing to Nuclear Blast records to release their 12th studio album, entitled Kairos (an ancient Greek word meaning the opportune moment, apparently) and the recording started at the end of 2010 in Sao Paolo with producer Roy Z. This is a critical release for the band, will they continue to build on the success they have enjoyed recently, or will thee be another jarring change of direction.
It’s immediately apparent when listening to this album that it had a much more raw, stripped down vibe after the conceptual and technical leanings exhibited on the last two albums. It almost feels that the band have proven what they need to prove, and now they are getting back to their roots. This album has a much more “old school Sepultura” feel to it, with opener Spectrum channeling the spirit of Chaos AD without sounding like a tribute song. There’s definitely not as much of a tribal feel to Kairos compared to it’s illustrious ancestor but the DNA is definitely there, proudly displayed.
I think this is the album where Sepultura finally allowed themselves to look back, and maybe even relax a little. Guitarist Andreas Kisser is on top mental shredding form and Derrick Green’s powerful vocals seem to fit the more simple song arrangements here nigh on perfectly, even when the band switch to full out thrash mode.
Much of the pre-release press waffle on Kairos has revolved around the two cover versions which are included. Ministry’s Just One Fix works really well, actually it’s one of my favorite tracks on the album with it’s simple riff and proper old-school headbanging beat.
The other cover version is more problematic. To be honest even after a week of fairly intensive listens I’m still not sure what to make of their take on The Prodigy’s Firestarter. I think the problem I have is with the vocals, just sounds a little too much like someone doing a Keith Flint impersonation, but I guess it’s a sign of the growing confidence that the band have that they feel they can take on something like this.
So fair play….
This is a album where Sepultura have moved to retake “their” sound, and I think it works brilliantly. Comparisons to the new Cavalera Conspiracy album, and even to the bands long gone “original line up” are inevitable but ultimately pointless. Simply put I think this is the best thing Sepultura have done for bloody years and hopefully points to even better to come.
Artwork is a bit naff though…