Going into a new decade, groove metal icons Sepultura don’t have to prove anything. Based around the mathematical concept of Quadrivium, ‘Quadra’ is the band’s fifteenth album, and what they’ve gone for is an encapsulation of all of the different sonic territories of their career.
We open with ‘Isolation’, which features a dramatic use of strings after some thudding drums to set the scene. It then comes in as thrash metal as ever, with Derrick Green‘s commanding shout driving this track, with a memorable hook helping to incite some mayhem. A solid groove and Andreas Kisser‘s hulky guitar tone are both offered in ‘Means To An End’, and thematically it’s as politically charged as you’d expect from Sepultura.
Derrick Green may always be in the long-standing shadow of Max Cavalera to some, but his fury coupled with an ear for a melody and a hook really lifts ‘Last Time’. Kisser again continues to impress, this time with a mighty introductory riff and a blistering solo.
‘Capital Enslavement’ begins with a traditional Brazilian influence that has come to define the band, as well as some strings peppered here and there to add flavour before it again explodes into its ferocious low-end.
Even if these days Sepultura will offer you relatively more of a straight-up metal sound as opposed to changing the game like they did in the 90s, there’s perhaps more to take from this era of the band than it’s often given credit for.
There’s definitely enough stylistic deviations to keep you on your toes, too. An acoustic guitar passage opens up ‘Guardians Of Earth’, and it gradually builds up to great effect. Without needing to go too far into power metal/battle metal territory, it’s still got a dramatic, cinematic edge to it.
Green‘s screams in ‘Autem’ go to a more manical realm and there’s also blast beats on show, once again proving that they can still sound contemporary and vital in today’s age.
‘Agony Of Defeat’ is as straight down the line as it gets, again assisted by choir and strings in places. This, combined with Green‘s gritty delivery and simple-but-effective way around a hook, means that this is a definite highlight.
‘Fear; Pain; Chaos; Suffering’ opens like a Metallica ballad, and once again builds impressively. The guest vocal performance of Emmily Baretto (Far From Alaska) coupled with an impressive dual guitar solo makes for an eventful and ambitious closer.
Even if ‘Quadra’ is a bit on the long side of things, it’s undeniably one of the best offerings of their latter-day career. This serves as a strong reminder of everything Sepultura can do, proving that they can still sound exciting into their fourth decade as a band.