Camille Dela Rosa’s “Deus Ex-Machina” painting gracing the cover of ‘Machine Messiah’, is the perfect representation of what Sepultura have produced on their fourteenth studio album. It not only reflects the robotisation of society concept, but is also creatively rich and technically excellent, while evoking a slightly dystopian feel, precisely what the Brazilian metal giants achieve on this engaging chunk of innovative thrash.
It’s clear from the atmospheric intro and the doom laden riff of the slow brooding title track that this album is no throwback; vocalist Derrick Green immediately surprising as he shifts from a crooned baritone to a blood curdling scream on this epic opening flourish. The furious thrash of ‘I am The Enemy’ is more vintage, but the carnavalesque rhythms and orchestrated melodies that lead into ragged riffing and shifting tempos on ‘Phantom Self’ sound fresh and exciting, making for a killer song.
The playing on this record is unbelievable, Andreas Kisser is on fire throughout, Paulo Jr’s bass is heavy as hell and drummer Eloy Casagrande is stunning in his versatility. Every track delivers; whether it’s the pure speed metal and twisting tempos of ‘Silent Voice’, pulsating instrumental ‘Iceberg Dances’, including sublime flamenco section, or the chunky bass groove to mosh pit filler ‘Resistant Parasites’. Then there’s closer ‘Cyber God’ with its doom laden attack of machine gun drumming and pounding riffs, and the “hang on to your hats” thrash of ‘Vandals Nest’, which rips the listener’s head clean off; Kisser’s shredding is so sharp everything else is slow motion – killer.
However, the one track that stands above is the absolutely massive ‘Sworn Oath’, its cinematic orchestration and angular guitar lines cut into a pounding bass drum that leads into as epic a thrasher as you are likely to hear, with another huge vocal from Green it’s a monster of a song. In fact, ‘Machine Messiah’ is a monster of an album and is one of the finest and heaviest slices of thrash you are likely to hear.
‘Machine Messiah’ by Sepultura is out now on Nuclear Blast Records.
Words by Edward Layland (@EdwardLayland)