Sepultura + Warpath + Killface
Reason and action with emotion
On the eve of completing 30 years of existence, Sepultura met with producer Ross Robinson, with whom they had worked 18 years prior on the masterpiece “Roots”, to build together the new disc by the most internationally successful Brazilian rock band. Recorded between June and July of this year, the album “The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart” is scheduled for release on October 25 via Substancial Music in Brazil and Nuclear Blast worldwide. On their 13th studio album, Sepultura retains the characteristic critical stance in their lyrics. Musically, “The Mediator” is a bomb, varying between fast, aggressive and brutal songs with others in which the weight of the groove forms a true wall of sound.
In a world controlled to the smallest detail by those who hold power – political and financial – from advertising (what Noam Chomsky defined as the model building consent through discourse, or, simply, manufactured consent) to civilian espionage and theoretically sovereign states, Sepultura found in the classic German expressionist film, Metropolis, the perfect metaphor for the lyrical vibe of their new work.
With lyrics of Andreas Kisser and Derrick Green keeping the tradition of challenging the socio-political ills of our society, we hear Derrick howl against the traumas of wars waged in the interest of select groups, passing through an ironic historical review of the Vatican, and critique of inconsequential consumerism induced in a social environment that values “to have” over “to be,” not to mention the manipulation of public opinion through tightly drafted speeches or political rhetoric (including all religions, it should be noted) that lead people to accept conflict or engage in conflicts that do not concern them. It is a wake up call for people to use what differentiates humans from other animals: the ability to ponder reason and action with our heart (emotions).
Musically, “The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart” can recall elements and striking characteristics from the entire history of the band, but without sounding repetitive. In fact, “The Mediator” is a unique album, since it doesn’t really resemble anything the band has done before. Ross Robinson’s production gave the disc amazing guitar and bass tones. Heavy, cavernous, apocalyptic. The chaotic and gloomy atmosphere of Metropolis is masterfully reproduced on the album, taking the listener on a journey through a sullen and aggressive world. Derrick Green shows all of his versatility, ranging from guttural death metal to baritone. Andreas Kisser once again shows why he is the master of riffs and great guitar solos, something carried over from “Kairos”. And Paulo Xisto does the best work of his career with excellent bass lines.
“The Mediator” marks the studio debut of drummer Eloy Casagrande with Sepultura. And the young musician presents his business card with a furious performance on the opening track, “Trauma of War,” one of the more heavy, brutal, and aggressive songs in the quartet’s history. Next, “The Vatican,” with an epic keyboard introduction composed by maestro Renato Zanuto that sounds like the organ from some macabre ceremony, merges smoothly with hellish riffs and double bass drums. “Trauma of War” and “The Vatican” showcase a Sepultura with elements of death metal that have not been heard since “Schizophrenia,” in 1987, even using blast beats (that’s right!) in certain passages.
In “Manipulation of Tragedy,” the band manages to sum up its 30-year career in four minutes. Sharp and sinister riffs, fast and aggressive drums – in the vein of thrash metal – intersperses with the weight of the groove and opens space for the Brazilian side of Sepultura with its percussive elements. “The Bliss of Ignorants,” with its haunting tone, is another track where the quartet shows what differentiates them in the worldwide scene of heavy metal: weight and aggressiveness with the characteristics of Brazilian percussive rhythms.
The participation of legendary drummer Dave Lombardo (ex-Slayer, ex-Testament) can be heard in “Obsessed,” a song that promises to be seen in the setlists of the band’s next concerts. Featured, also, is the introspective and melancholy “Grief,” one of Sepultura’s most beautiful songs. A clean guitar tone opens up space for Derrick to explore his baritone in this emotional passage. The heavy guitars embedded in excerpts of the song retain the sorrowful mood, a tribute to the victims of the Kiss nightclub, Santa Maria – Rio Grande do Sul.
Finally, the cover of “Da Lama ao Caos” (meaning “from the mud to the chaos”), originally by Pernambuco’s Chico Science and Naçao Zumbi, which was presented last Sunday (the 22nd) at Rock In Rio. With Andreas Kisser on vocals, Sepultura presents a version that lives up to expectations. The weight of thrash metal pays homage to the Manguebeat. And at the end, a hidden track that fans will rave about (but this is best kept as a surprise).
Without wanting to imitate the past, and looking toward the future, “The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart” presents a modern and powerful Sepultura. Were it released in better times of the music industry, this album would meet the conditions to be as commercially successful as “Chaos AD” or “Roots.”