Sepultura Live at Islington Academy

There are very few things as frustrating as being stuck in traffic when you’re trying to get to a gig. London taxi drivers know their way around London do they? Well, mine didn’t so it meant that not only did it  mean being turfed out more than halfway up Islington’s Upper Street and at least five minutes further walk  from the venue but it- even more annoyingly- meant I missed the reportedly (thank you, Tom Dare from Metal Hammer) very strong set from Revoker. This was a real shame as the Welsh boys are not only garnering themselves a decent reputation on the live circuit but they are a fantastic bunch of lads to boot.

London based classic thrash metallists Nightlord seem to have been around for ever; they play effective, no messing about proto-thrash with plenty of energy and gusto and is appreciated by the knowledgeable and (it must be said) diverse crowd tonight. No legendary performance but solid enough whilst you’re chugging your pre-match pint or, in the case of the fan next to me, a very large Jager-bomb: “bad day with the missus, mate” was his perfunctory observation.

And so to Sepultura. There was a lovely atmosphere right throughout the evening for the return of the Brazilian favourites. With a cracking new album- the rifftastic Kairos- to show off, the chants of “Sep-ul-toorah” “Sep-ul-toorah” were building and building as the minutes passed and when man-mountain Derrick Green arrived on the small and compact stage it was, veritably, the proverbial return of an old friend.

The set was a not unexpected mix of the old and new from the deliriously received Refuse/Resist to the brilliance of the new album’s title track, there was  passion and power in the band’s performance; it’s all effortless. The new album seems to have energised the group- not unsurprisingly as it’s  uniformly excellent- and there is a genuine warmth between band and audience that adds to the atmosphere. They know we love them; they give back the love with a career spanning setlist that only true Sepultura purists or b-side completists would have an argument over. Troops of Doom? Check. Arise? Check.  They’re all here.

Andreas Kisser was always rated as a guitarist but, seriously, he’s on top form at the moment; there is a muscularity and iron-clad will behind his riffing but it’s no meat and potatoes festival. On the contrary, this is incisive and forensic playing at its ferocious best. Likewise, I’ve warmed to Derrick Green. There’s no histrionics, no avant-garde showmanship but there is a uncompromising determination and a bellicose belligerence that is endearing. He’d have you in a fight, no worries.

And then, far too quickly, its over. Hey, I know this isn’t the “classic” lineup and I know that for some people, it never will be Sepultura without the Cavaleras but, credit where it’s due, this band looked like they had a great time. We did too. You know why? Sepultura are a cracking heavy metal band, ladies and gentlemen. Cracking.