Sepultura definitely had an interesting band history as well as its background. Hailing from Brazil starting as raw death/thrash metal back 1984 band was steadily rising in its popularity as well as their sound was becoming more complex and more in favor thrash oriented style.
Then Roots came along in 1996 which is a love or hate record in the eyes of many fans and metal listeners in general. It cemented the bands Brazilian tribal influenced style which was evolving during those years and yet again it got a bit shuffled in the nu metal sound which was staring to get big back in the day.
After that Max left, many would agree that the band shoot itself in foot. Replacing the voice and original member was and is never an easy job and the replacement had large shoes to fill. Luckily Derrick Green is a big fellow to begin with.
But the first albums with him on the vocals were largely ignored or got very mixed response from the fans and the press. And I can’t blame them; Against (1998) was a piss-poor copy of the previous album, Nation (2001) was a mess, but Roorback (2003), Dante XXI (2006) and A-Lex (2009) were signs that the band is getting its shit together, steadily dropping its hardcore/nu metal sound and retrieving its thrash metal style.
What resulted in Kairos (2011) and The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart (2013). Holy shit what a comeback, getting back in tight thrash sound in Kairos and its chaotic tribal influences with The Mediator.
In this roller-coaster ride of the bands discography we get the new album Machine Messiah which is pretty much a stark contrast of the previous records. The album is very much a roller coaster in its self. Starting with the slow burner title track with Derrick showing more melodic vocal performance with the I am The Enemy (along with Vandals Nest) which is with no discussion the heaviest track in the album.
And then shit got really weird, relatively positively I may add.
With heavily keyboard filled Phantom Self and very progressive instrumental track Iceberg Dances the album took quite a turn which may leave a lot of fans scratching their heads. Along with the clean heavy sound of the Fascination Street Studios under the mantle of Jens Borgen who worked with well-known bands like Amon Amarth, At The Gates, Bloodbath, Dark Tranquillity, Katatonia, Kreator, Paradise Lost and many others. The emphasis on guitars is very obvious here, especially the solos which appear almost on every track and they sound awesome.
Again, the album is quite different, probably its their most mature record they ever did and it may divide fans once more with this. Does it sound like Sepultura? Beside some a few tracks, hell fucking no. Does it sound objectively awesome? Hell yes. There is no dull moment in the album and pretty much keep you guessing what the hell is going to be next. Even after several replays it still sounds fresh and an interesting listen.
Standout tracks: Machine Messiah, I am the Enemy, Iceberg Dances, Sworn Oath and Cyber God.