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Sepultura – SepulQuarta

by Andrew Graham at 05 September 2021, 4:41 PM

As was the case with so many bands, the long-established thrash-groove outfit SEPULTURA got itchy over lockdown! The more ordinary of us took up rather more pedestrian pursuits. A friend of mine got seriously into painting Warhammer models, for instance. These metal titans, however, were able to undertake something altogether more epic! Drawing on a huge number of guest musicians from bands as varied as MEGADETH, ANTHRAX, TESTAMENT, TRIVIUM, and SACRED REICH (among others), this is the ultimate metal collaboration, borne out of lockdown boredom and revisiting the whole breadth of SEPULTURA’S back-catalogue.

By the nature of the beast there is a very wide variety on display. Everything in SEPULTURA’S back-catalogue from Beneath The Remains (1987) to Quadra (2020) is represented. “Territory” and “Cut-Throat” drive a glorious ride through the band’s glorious mid-period material from Chaos A.D. (1993) and Roots (1996). An unlikely vocal contribution from Danko Jones for “Sepulnation” turns out to be a genuine highlight, his gravelly hard-rock voice providing a nice counterpoint to Derrick’s throaty snarls. Turn the clock right back for “Inner Self”, which sounds as fresh and exhilarating as it did back in 1987! Unfortunately, Derrick’s vocals seem rather far back in the mix, unable to quite compete with the guitar tone, which is awesome, but drowns everything else to a large degree.

“Hatred Aside” features a trio of truly formidable ladies with vocals that, quite frankly, sent me diving for cover! Seriously, this has to be heard to be believed – much scarier and more brutal than many male vocalists I’ve heard. I will definitely be checking out their other bands! “Mask” gets a facelift into the epic (because Devin Townsend), possibly creating the epic thrash sub-sub-genre by accident! It’s amazing how different a song can sound with a different vocalist inserted. Another great example is “Fear, Pain, Chaos, Suffering”, which takes a sideways step into the gothic – something that a fan of LACUNA COIL might not be entirely unfamiliar with.

In what is perhaps the most epic underdog thrash collab of all time, Alex Skolnick gives “Vandals Nest” a total hiding! A monstrous offering for the album’s mid-point! “Slave New World” (one of my all-time favourite SEPULTURA tracks) features Andreas’ best guitar tone on the whole album! A shame it’s largely drowned out by Matt Heafy’s comparatively chunky tone. I must confess I was never the biggest fan of TRIVIUM, and for my money Matt’s vocals just don’t stand up next to Derrick. This is a minor point of complaint however, in what is otherwise a very strong track. Speaking of strong tracks, there’s no way that “Ratamahatta” could go by without comment. Truthfully another of my favourite SEPULTURA tracks, my only complaint is that the vocal performance simply doesn’t measure up to the incredibly high standard set by guest vocalist Carlinhos Brown. Does that make me a puritan? I think it does. We want no gatekeeping here!

“Apes Of God” features some nifty riffing, and a delightful solo flare, from DEATH ANGEL’S very own Rob Cavestany (another thrash band that never quite got the recognition they deserved!) “Phantom Self” features the kind of proggy flourishes that you would expect from someone like Mark Holcomb. “Slaves Of Pain” is another thrash connoisseur’s wet dream. Featuring absolutely stunning appearances from Fred Leclercq, and Marcello Pompeu, of fellow Brazilian thrashers KORZUS. “Kaiowas” gets a classical guitar treatment, once again proving that long-time connection between metal and classical music. It is there, get over it! We close with the MOTÖRHEAD classic “Orgasmatron” featuring no less than Phil Campbell. It’s a pretty epic note to end the thing on, as a famous cover in its own right back in SEPULTURA’S Arise days.

Overall, it’s quite a mixed bag in terms of mix and guest performances. There’s a lot of nostalgia here that only really hardcore SEPULTURA fans will get anything out of, but that isn’t to say that there isn’t something for everyone here. There’s so damn many guest appearances that there’s bound to be at least one that makes you go “Ooh! That sounds pretty awesome!” At the end of the day, SEPULTURA did something truly productive and creative over lockdown, and how many of us can honestly say that?

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

Score: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Territory (feat. Dave Ellefson \[bass])
2. Cut-Throat (feat. Scott Ian \[guitar])
3. Sepulnation (feat. Danko Jones \[vocals])
4. Inner Self (feat. Phil Rind \[bass])
5. Hatred Aside (feat. Angélica Burns, Mayara Puertas and Fernanda Lira \[vocals])
6. Mask (feat. Devin Townsend \[guitar and vocals])
7. Fear, Pain, Chaos, Suffering (Emmily Barreto \[vocals])
8. Vandals Nest (Alex Skolnick \[guitar])
9. Slave New World ((feat. Matthew K. Heafy \[vocals and guitar])
10. Ratamahatta (feat. João Barone \[drums] and Charles Gavin \[percussion])
11. Apes Of God (feat. Rob Cavestany \[guitar])
12. Phantom Self (feat. Mark Holcomb \[guitar])
13. Slaves Of Pain (feat. Fred Leclercq \[guitar] and Marcello Pompeu \[vocals])
14. Kaiowas (feat. Rafael Bittencourt \[acoustic guitar])
15. Orgasmatron (Motörhead cover) (feat. Phil Campbell \[guitar])
Derrick Green – Vocals
Andreas Kisser – Guitar (additional vocals, track 10)
Paulo Jr. – Bass
Eloy Casagrande – Drums
Record Label: Nuclear Blast


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Edited 24 September 2021

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