CONCERT REVIEW: Max and Iggor Cavalera – Birmingham 02 Academy 2

Probably due to the bitterly cold December weather, the Academy 2 is already full to bursting by the time opening act Healing Magic hit their stride. Featuring a Cavalera who prefers to spell his name correctly, the Arizona based band are fronted by Max‘s youngest son Igor, and kick off the evening with some Black Sabbath inspired riffery which unsurprisingly goes down well in the home of metal.

Hardly a hotbed of metal activity of late, Liverpool still has a few acts up its sleeve, with doomsters Conan currently top of the pile (until the return of Carcass, of course). Shrouded in dry ice, all eyes should be on frontman Jon Davis, or bassist Chris Fielding. However, it’s drummer Johnny King on whom the majority of the crowd focus their attention. Seriously, this guy is a fucking beast. While the band’s warlike basslines and monstrous riffs alone are enough to scare most armies into retreat, King’s drumming would have them throwing themselves off cliffs and apologising for making a mess.

After a lengthy wait, the restless crowd turn their attentions to hurling themselves violently around the room to classic Sepultura tracks courtesy of Max and Iggor Cavalera. Billed as “Return Beneath Arise”, the show goes down exactly as most people hope, the majority of the set culled from their classic albums Beneath the Remains and Arise (Roadrunner). And with Max standing behind his machine gun ammunition mic stand, slashing away at his four-string guitar, it doesn’t take long for the first crowd surfers of the night to make themselves known. Bodies are dragged over the barrier almost continuously to the likes of ‘Beneath the Remains’, ‘Inner Self’, ‘Stronger Than Hate’, and of course ‘Mass Hypnosis’ (complete with Max and the crowd deliberately pronouncing it ‘Mass Hippy Noses’). ‘Slaves of Pain and ‘Primitive Future’ finish up the first part of the set before the ‘Arise’ section takes over.

Greeted with even more chaos and mayhem, the title track is followed by a thumping ‘Dead Embryonic Cells’ and a carnage-inducing ‘Desperate Cry’. ‘Altered State’ (featuring a Sabbathy intrusion in the shape of ‘War Pigs’), ‘Murder’, and ‘Infected Voice’ is followed up by a cover of ‘Orgasmatron’ by Motörhead which concludes the main set.

It doesn’t take long for the band to reappear, however, and with guests Jeff Janiak and Anthony “Bones” Roberts from seminal punk band Discharge, they proceed to rip the place up even further to covers of ‘Protest and Survive’ and ‘Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing’. ‘Intro’ and a double-timed medley of ‘Beneath the Remains’, ‘Arise’, and ‘Dead Embryonic Cells’ ensures the evening ends on a sweaty, bruised and battered high.

WORDS AND PHOTOS BY GARY ALCOCK