So many have written off Brazilian metal band Sepultura since the departure of the Cavaleras. But they underestimated the secret weapon that is guitarist Andreas Kisser, who has pushed the band to strange and wonderful frontiers. Many also don’t realize that Derrick Green has been fronting the band for more than twenty years— twice as much time as Max Cavalera had been in the band—and Green has done some phenomenal vocal work over the years, a lot of it unheard of in the thrash metal subgenre. Their fifteenth album Quadra takes elements from different eras of Sepultura; the classic hardcore/thrash sound, the traditional beats of 1996’s Roots, and the progressive experimentation of 2017’s Machine Messiah.
We begin with a symphonic ouverture on “Isolation;” A string ensemble and choir swell over doomy distorted guitars, before Green hits you with the harsh reality of mass incarceration. Producer Jens Bogren brought in a full choir to his studio in Sweden to record several segments that appear throughout the album. The combination of their angelic voices and Green’s drawn-out reverberating screams, especially on “Guardians of the Earth,” will send chills down your spine. Green shows a softer side on “Agony of Defeat,” his voice beginning sweet and melodic, but building in aggression with each new section. Emmily Barreto of Far From Alaska appears on the final track “Fear, Pain, Chaos, Suffering,” adding sounds of mourning to Green’s brooding.
Drummer Eloy Casagrande had some big shoes to fill when he joined in 2013, but in Quadra,he shows off his full potential, particularly in “Capital Enslavement,” switching effortlessly from a tribal beat on the toms for the verses to the familiar yet powerful thrash metal drum pattern on the chorus. The instrumental track “Pentagram” is a powerhouse demonstration that Kisser, Casagrande and bassist Paul Jr. are masters of their craft, at any speed and intensity.
Conceptually, Quadra isn’t as fascinating as their last album (what can possibly be cooler robot god?), but instrumentally, this is probably one of Sepultura’s strongest albums of the 21st century. The orchestral, choral and industrial features make for an emotional, mind-bending experience, far different from the straight brutality offered in their early releases.
Written by Chris
*Edited by Dominic Abate