Now, I’ll confess that I’m not a Sepulmaniac like some of our crew, but I do know a little bit about the band. I’m not in either the “old school” or “post-Max” camps which makes me one of the best people to review this album, as I’m not biased either way.
Right from the get-go I’m taken off-guard by the opening (title) track. Opting for a much slower approach with soothing clean vocals and soaring guitar solos, “Machine Messiah” then changes tone slightly once vocalist Derek comes in with his signature harsh vocals. It still remains a much slower affair than what I’ve heard before from the band, but it’s one of the best I’ve heard from them. Everything fits together just perfectly.
All sense of calm is shattered within 500 milliseconds of the next track coming on however. With its fast paced riffs and harsh vocals almost spat out lightning speed, “I Am The Enemy” is a pure raging track that will surely go down a storm live. “Phantom Self” continues in a similar manner however has much more of a groove about it. As with the previous track, this is another track that could become a favourite in a live set. Not as a song which you would pit to, but more as one that you’d nod along to and enjoy.
“Aletha” and “Iceberg Dances” continue in a similar vein to the previous tracks however they each have their own little unique things within them. From the syncopated drum opening in “Aletha” to the funky organ and acoustic guitar parts in “Iceberg Dances”, these tracks blend the Sepultura you know and love with new elements in expert fashion.
The opening of “Sworn Oath” slows things down a tad before exploding with strings interwoven alongside melodic guitar parts. With its epic layered choruses, this track is easily one of the best on the album and is also one of the best Sepultura tracks I’ve ever heard. “Resistant Parasites” opens with a rather tasty bass-line courtesy of Paulo Jr. before continuing in a down-tuned groove not too dissimilar from some of today’s modern metal bands. However, unlike those bands, Sepultura put their own unique flavour on it and render it into another belter of a track.
“Silent Violence” and “Violent Nest” bring the pace back that existed in “I Am The Enemy”. However, where “Violent Nest” is more of an outright thrash number, “Silent Violence” takes a slightly more mid-paced feel. Rounding out the album, “Cyber God” begins in a similar fashion to the latter half of the title track. Slow guitar harmonies, driving drums and the vocals of Derek end this rather varied but enjoyable album on a what is one of the best tracks of the album.
As I said at the beginning, I don’t fall into either of the Sepultura camps and as a result have no bias towards one era or the other. Whilst I can’t say whether this will convince fans of older Sepultura to come back, there is no denying that this is a solid album from the quartet. I heartily look forward to seeing them on tour with Kreator later this year!
Standout Tracks: I Am The Enemy, Iceberg Dances, Sworn Oath, Violent Nest.