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Sepultura - Machine Messiah album review

Brazilian troops pull a classic from the ether

A press shot of Sepultura taken in 2016

If you’re still wondering why Sepultura haven’t reunited with Max Cavalera for pots of cash, it’s time to start paying attention to what this band are actually doing these days. Machine Messiah is the Brazilians’ eighth album with vocalist Derrick Green. It’s also, by some distance, the best of the lot and the most robust response possible to nostalgic naysayers.

Bolstered by a truly thrilling, widescreen production job from the increasingly lauded Jens Bogren, Sepultura’s recent eclecticism has finally found true focus, resulting in an album of 10 diverse but equally absorbing parts that fit together seamlessly and with real venom driving their delivery. Fans of old-school extremity will be well served by the frenetic, blasting rage of I Am The Enemy, but it’s the album’s wilder conceits that make this such a welcome shock. Whether it’s Phantom Self’s exotic syncopation, Cyber God’s bleak grandeur and hellbound fade-out or Sworn Oath’s epic, windswept thrash, it’s a masterful display of what happens when hard-earned ensemble chemistry spikes. Considering that they recently celebrated their 30th anniversary, Sepultura should probably be running out of steam by now. Instead, they’ve just made one of the finest albums of their career.

Dom Lawson has been writing for Hammer and Prog for 14 intermittently enjoyable years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He listens to more music than you. And then writes about it.