GROOVE THRASH METAL: The COVID-19 global pandemic didn’t stop every band from being creative. Take Brazilian groove thrashers Sepultura for instance. The four piece band—featuring vocalist Derrick Green, guitarist Andreas Kisser, bassist Paulo Jr., and drummer Eloy Casagrande—used their time wisely by creating a weekly video series called SepulQuarta, which included band updates and artist interviews. The series also captured the band virtually/live in the studio rerecording some of their tracks under the banner of SepulQuarta. Mixed and mastered by Conrado Ruther, the 15 tracks introduce a plethora of well-known and legendary musical guests including ex-Megadeth’s David Ellefson, Anthrax’s Scott Ian, Devin Townsend, Death Angel’s Rob Cavestany, Motörhead’s Phil Campbell, and many more, which adds a unique flavor to each track.
When a band reimagines or reboots its songs from its back catalog, the purpose is to add some new dynamics and make each track more unique. And for the most part, the tracks achieve a unique characteristic that wasn’t in the original without destroying the essence of what it initially achieved. Opening with one of the band’s most popular early era tracks, “Territory” from 1993’s Chaos A.D., the band performs pretty close to the original with a solid bass sound from Ellefson on his custom five-string Jackson bass guitar. Obviously, some tracks work better than others. For instance, “Inner Self,” featuring Sacred Reich’s Phil Rind, is nothing spectacular, and by these standards, is surprisingly rather static. But standout tracks such as “Mask,” featuring the effervescent Devin Townsend is absolutely stellar, as is the triple Brazilian female vocal assault of “Hatred Aside,” featuring Crypta’s Fernanda Lira, Hatefulmurder’s Angélica Burns, and Torture Squad’s Mayara Puertas, while “Slave New World” from Chaos A.D., featuring Trivium’s Matthew K. Heafy, offers an added menacing intensity. “Fear, Pain, Chaos, Suffering” from the Quadra album, featuring fellow Brazilian Emmily Barreto of Far From Alaska, is an amazing track. The vocal tandem of Derrick and Emmily sounds haunting and works well together, especially on the song’s climax.
A couple of sweet musical surprises on offer here include “Ratamahatta,” featuring Brazilian drummers Joao Barone and Charles Gavin. The duo, along with Casagrande, adds a heavy, robust opening tribal drum pattern between all three drummers with a killer trade-off drum solo tandem in the middle section. “Sepulnation,” featuring Canadian rocker Danko Jones, adds a unique touch with his distinctive vocal flair. “Kaiowas” from Chaos A.D., introduces a nice acoustic guitar intro between Kisser and fellow Brazilian guitarist Rafael Bittencourt of Angra, complete with amazing fingerpicking skills, while closer “Orgasmatron”—a celebrated Motörhead cover tune the band has played live since their early days—is completed by some special wah-wah/flange guitar effects and a spicy solo from Motörhead guitarist Campbell himself.
Sepultura is a thrash metal entity that has survived for 37 years. However, If you’re still one of the band’s so-called fans who are screaming about how it isn’t Sepultura without Max Cavalera, you’re missing out. The band has been putting out some of its best material in the past few years, and these new versions of some of their older (and recent) tracks hold up rather well. ~ Kelley Simms