Friday, August 05, 2011

Sepultura - Kairos

Time is running out...for what?

Sepultura are the Sugababes of heavy metal, still plugging away and playing the old songs as member after member leaves. To be accurate, Sepultura do have one original member left, but Paulo Jr's bass has never been a particular hallmark of the band. No, the departure of the brothers Cavalera has pretty much taken away all the Sepultura-ness over the years, and what's left is...well, actually maybe a lot of it was about guitarist Andreas Kisser all along, and maybe he's just rescued this band.

Kairos is their second release with this line-up, since drummer Igor joined his sibling Max in Cavalera Conspiracy. And while A Clockwork Orange concept album A-Lex was almost entirely forgettable, they have rediscovered something here. Perhaps it's urgency - the cover art certainly suggests that - but the lyrics steadfastly refuse to say what is so urgent.

When I saw the artwork, I was tempted to think it might be something to do with the economic crisis, given the band's political legacy (which briefly continued under replacement lead vocalist Derrick Green). On that tip, the name is taken from Ancient Greek, to mean an in between time when something important happens, which will affect all times to follow. Seems to fit right now. But in interviews, Green is oblique about what this means in our modern context, sometimes referring vaguely to environmental themes.

Whatever he's on about, he does sound frantically passionate, and the rest of the gang step up to the same mark. Kisser is on particularly fine form, recalling his work of twenty years and more ago, while Jean Dolabella on drums is much more worthy of a place on inventive Igor's stool than he was on A-Lex.

In keeping with the apparent emergency, many tracks are extremely thrashy, especially Mask, No One Will Stand, and Seethe. Meanwhile, the improbably named Structure Violence (Azzes) and a very solid rendering of Ministry's Just One Fix recall the Brazilian tribal jams and industrial flirtation of Roots. It seems the band had a very serious discussion about what has very definitely worked for them over the last three decades, and what has not, before honing their focus.

There's no doubt, Sepultura knew their fanbase couldn't stand another Dante XXI or A-Lex, and Derrick Green wanted to convey...something, so they gave their all in a strenuous effort to produce another Seps classic. This isn't quite it, but they're on the right track, and the furious pace of political events may yet inspire Green et al to Chaos A.D.-esque heights.
Post a Comment

Disqus for Infantile Disorder