One can only feel sorry for those who abandoned Sepultura shortly after Max Cavalera’s exit way back in 1996. Of course many of the band’s seminal albums are those with Cavalera behind the mic, but with Derrick Green at the helm for nearly 22 years now, the band have continued to deliver a plethora of riches via an ever-evolving sound. Granted not every album has hit the mark, but their two most recent offerings, 2013’s The Mediator Between Head And Hands Must Be The Heart and 2017’s Machine Messiah have shown a band refusing to be shackled to their past; ever willing to take their sound to new places whilst maintaining the core elements that made them so popular in the first place. Luckily, Quadra follows in similar fashion to its two predecessors; put bluntly, Sepultura sound fucking incredible here. In addition to the monstrous musicianship on display, credit also has to be given to producer Jans Bergen who, having worked with the band on Metal Messiah, has obviously formed a strong bond with the band, bringing the absolute best out of all four band members yet again.
Opener and first single ‘Isolation’ sets the tone perfectly. Featuring some manic riffing from the ever impressive Andreas Kisser – not to mention some stunning, air guitar inducing leads – the track also demonstrates the monstrous power of drummer Eloy Casagrande, whose thunderingly precise work behind the drum kit this past decade has breathed new life into the band. ‘Last Time’, another highlight, is a further example of how the full sounding production gives room for all four members to shine; Green in particular has never sounded so commanding whilst Kisser’s solos are intergalactic. In terms of the track-listing, the album has intentionally been split into four parts – hence Quadra – with each one showcasing a different side to the band’s sound. Opening with the album’s thrashier tracks, Quadra moves through more groove, tribal orientated tracks (‘Capital Enslavement’) and instrumentals (‘The Pentagram’) before ending in proggier territory, with the epic, string enhanced ‘Fear.Pain.Chaos.Suffering’ closing proceedings in spectacular fashion.
So whilst Quadra may shift through the many styles the band have adopted over the years, it plays out as a cohesive and phenomenally strong piece of work, all tracks unified by a band writing and playing with a passion rarely seen in bands 30-plus years into a career. If Sepultura minus Max isn’t your cup of tea, it’s unlikely that Quadra will convert you. But that isn’t the point; whilst some may cling to the past, Sepultura are clearly a band only interested in moving in one direction – forward.
Quadra is released 7th February via Nuclear Blast and can be purchased here.
Words: Adam Pegg