ALBUM REVIEW: Sepultura – Quadra

It’s been twenty-three years since Derrick Green joined Brazilian thrash legends Sepultura. Although proving to be a hit with many, not everyone took to the new frontman straight away (if at all). The main reason for this seeming to be a simple case of – “he’s not Max”. Well, Derrick has been a part of Sepultura for almost twice as long as his predecessor now. Of course, this doesn’t magically make his material better, but it should at least give him a little slack. And let’s face it if you’re reading this, then at the very least, you’ve got some interest in post-Max Seps.

Since his arrival, the band have tried their hand at different styles and attempted ambitious concepts, with varying degrees of success. However, with the latest release Quadra (Nuclear Blast), they might very well have written an album that welcomes more wayward sheep back into the fold. Why? Because it’s an absolute fucking barnstormer. That’s why.

Beginning ominously with strings and choral vocals, the sudden explosion into the pulse-pounding ‘Isolation’ makes it one of the band’s best opening tracks for years. ‘Means to an End’ follows in similar, confrontational style, with Derrick’s roaring brutal yet clear while drummer Eloy Casagrande excels behind the kit.

Guitarist Andreas Kisser gets to show off his skills at the beginning of the bruising ‘Last Time’, another song which uses choral vocals to dramatic effect before the song grinds and surges to its apocalyptic climax. ‘Capital Enslavement’ combines strings and a tribal flavour while ‘Ali’ lets the bass of Paulo Jr accompany Derrick’s vocals before the song turns into a machine gun assisted groovemonster.

The mid-paced ‘Raging Void’ boasts a powerful chorus, and the magnificent ‘Guardians of Earth’ opens with Spanish guitar and choral vocals before becoming one of the absolute standout tracks on the record. Instrumental ‘The Pentagram’ is given the unenviable task of following that but pulls it off before ‘Autem’ builds from quiet, jagged riffs into a full-speed juggernaut as things turn a little quieter with the acoustic instrumental title track.

Letting Derrick stretch his vocal cords a little more, ‘Agony of Defeat’ begins gently but gathers momentum as it goes on until it bursts into something of which Devin Townsend would surely approve. ‘Fear, Pain, Chaos, Suffering’ closes the album, the atmospheric finale including vocal assistance from Emmily Barreto, singer with Brazilian rock act Far From Alaska.

Detonating with the force of a fifty kiloton atom bomb, Quadra fulfills all the requirements for fast, brutal and aggressive thrash metal before slowly mushrooming into a different beast by the end. Becoming increasingly melodic and orchestral, but without losing any of its bite, this latest release showcases the very best of post-Max Sepultura. If this one doesn’t grab you by the throat, then nothing will. Apart from Derrick, possibly.

8 / 10

GARY ALCOCK