Since the departure of the Cavalera brothers (Max in 1996, Igor in 2006), the only thing todays’ SEPULTURA receive is strict criticism for everything they’ve ever done. For not being “true” to the Sepultura sound of the 80s, for Derrick Green being too modern for the old school thrashers. In addition to all of the above, the long-lived real-life soap opera called “The Sepultura reunion”. Which is why SEPULTURA‘s stance towards this, is highly admirable: turning their backs on the quick buck, and doing what’s right for the band, wasn’t the easiest task possible, but they made it. And to their credit, “A-Lex”, “Kairos” and “The Mediator Between The Head And Hands Must Be The Heart” turned out to be very good. But let’s see what “Machine Messiah” has in store!
Opening with the title track: an acoustic intro and beautiful leads that bring the “Beneath The Remains” intro to mind, before the distorted guitars kick in along with the vocals. First surprise of the album, Derrick Green is actually singing, reminding us of Robb Flynn’s melodic singing in Machine Head. A special case of the masters being influenced by their apprentices. Andreas Kisser is in a great shape and it shows in this heavy-as-hell opener, let alone the rhythm section of Paulo Jr. and Eloy Casagrande. “I Am The Enemy” is a full-speed ahead modern thrasher, taken directly from the fastest moments of “Chaos AD”, that will surely be loved in the mosh-pits in future live shows. It’s been a while since we last heard those famous ethnic elements in SEPULTURA‘s music right? Here comes “Phantom Self” beginning with traditional Brazilian instruments, including the very discrete use of keyboards all over the song, giving it the proper sort of industrial one could say atmosphere, without overloading the song.
“Machine Messiah” is the most diverse and mature SEPULTURA has ever sounded in the Derrick Green era.”
“Alethea” begins with Casagrande showing his high technique and the band turning it into another mid-tempo headbanger, with some of the most intelligents grooves SEPULTURA has come up in years. And it’s time for the MINDBLOWING instrumental: “Iceberg Dances”. From the trademark SEPULTURA groove and Kisser’s lead work, to the acoustic guitar soloing, to the use of hammond keyboards, to the progressive parts where the bands’ tightness shines through, it’s simply a magnificent piece of music, showing the musical maturity of SEPULTURA. The eerie guitar intro of “Sworn Oath” builds slowly with the drums, turning into another darkened song, again with the use of keyboards, in a mid-tempo crusher and the longest song on the album, with a killer acoustic break in the middle, where the orchestral parts truly shine, giving the song a cinematic feeling, without taking away the aggression for one second.
Paulo’s bass gets room to breathe, on the bass-driven “Resistant Parasites” with its stop-and-go kind of guitars, and the trademark SEPULTURA groove we love to destroy our necks to. Time to open this pit up with “Silent Violence” and “Vandals Nest”, two modern era thrashers with groovy choruses, bringing images of windmill headbanging to mind, with the later being the most punk-oriented. “Cyber God” follows with its middle eastern riffage and the spoken part of Derrick Greem (one of the albums’ highlights), and a groovy chorus that brings a bit of Machine Head to mind, without the trademark Sepultura character gone, ending with Kisser shredding out the record.
“Machine Messiah” is the most diverse and mature SEPULTURA has ever sounded in the Derrick Green era. Period. Don’t walk, RUN, and buy it.