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Sepultura Machine Messiah Review
SEPULTURA
MACHINE MESSIAH

NUCLEAR BLAST
Release Date: January 13th 2016

Sepultura Machine Messiah

Brazilian metal kings Sepultura release their latest effort with "Machine Messiah", their 14th studio album and one which brings in some new elements yet again. We take a closer look at the new tracks and how it compares to their previous work.
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32 years in their career with a lot of ups and downs but despite the band taking a lot of criticism over the years since the departure of Max Cavalera 20 years ago (Has it been that long?) Sepultura have managed to carve a second career in their long and arduous history. With the entrance of vocalist Derrick Green on the 1998 album "Against" the band have battled long and hard to win over the fans and while many have refused to give in, it's hard to argue to quality of music they have put out since. Sure both Cavalera's absence has left a big hole in their trademark sound but when you take away that aspect and just listen to the music for itself, the veteran metallers have done a brilliant job of reinventing themselves and creating a sound all of their own.

"Machine Messiah" continues that tradition but also adds more new elements that give the songs a lot of new flavors. Sepultura have always managed to inject a lot of color into their music thanks to their willingness to embrace not only their own culture but other cultures to and throw it into the melting pot of music and here we see more of it. The title track starts things off slow pace and builds to a doom like track but the juicy stuff comes after. "I Am The Enemy" is the first of what is typically the short and fast Sepultura tracks, thrashy and punky that fits alongside tracks like "Against", "Dictatorshit", "Leech" and "Biotech Is Godzilla". "Vandals Nest" is somewhat similar in nature but with a more aggressive riff and plenty of double kicks, this one is bound to satisfy the old schoolers and just to throw a curveball in there, there's a little bit of clean singing which is very rare to see by Derrick.

The more interesting tracks however tend to be the proggier stuff. "Phantom Self" has some brilliant interplay between orchestra instruments and Andreas Kissers guitar work while "Alethea" is super progressive but also super heavy at the same time. The instrumental track "Iceberg Dances" is a very cool surprise and one of the highlights on the album. There's a little "Kaiowas" vibe going on later in the song but it's a beautiful piece of work and even has some classical guitar thrown in for good measure! One of the more difficult tracks to get into however is "Silent Violence" and while it's frenetic chaos ensues all around, it fails to really groove properly and loses momentum quite quickly. Only time will tell if this song is a grower.

For something different again for Sepultura, the band try their hand at the symphonic stuff with "Sworn Oath" which has a little Nightwish thing going on. It's European sound gives off a more straight forward and darker tone with a gothic sensibility but it somehow works and proves that Sepultura are adaptable when the time calls for it. "Cyber God" ends the album in much the same manner as the opening track, it's that real heavy, doom sound that Sepultura have kind of played around with on some of their later albums and they pull it off quite well even if it's not necessarily their signature sound. "Machine Messiah" continues thematically where "The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart" left off with subjects that touch on man verses technology but where The Mediator was a very aggressive and in your face album, "Machine Messiah" tries to be more open ended with space to go in various directions which it does well. Whether you like their later albums or not, Sepultura continue to do what they do best and 32 years in it's sounding top notch as always.


TRACKLIST
Machine Messiah
I Am The Enemy
Phantom Self
Alethea
Iceberg Dances
Sworn Oath
Resistant Parasites
Silent Violence
Vandals Nest
Cyber God


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Review by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie