Sepultura - A-Lex

It’s well-known the last few years have been extremely difficult for the Brazilian group Sepultura. The acrimonious split with former frontman Max Cavalera a few years back have triggered a number of ill-fated events that threatened the continuity of one of the greatest forces in heavy music. I’m referring to Roadrunner’s flickering behaviour, the release of less-accomplished studio albums, the abandonment of the other Cavalera member, drummer Igor. These were all factors that gradually resulted in a decrease of record sales and live spectators and lead many to question the validity of a Sepultura line-up sans the Cavalera brothers.
Sure, some of their post-Max Cavalera material don’t quite live up to their remarkable back-catalogue, and it seemed that the Brazilians would be cursed to live in the shadows of their greatest works, yet bassist Paulo Jr. and guitarist Andreas Kisser persistently refuse to throw the towel to the floor. Not that they can be accused of stagnating or rehashing the same formulas, neither they show signs of fatigue or lack of dedication, “Roorback” and “Dante XXI” were good albums on their own. It’s essentially a slightly different Sepultura from the one that brought us such groundbreaking releases like “Arise” and “Chaos A.D.” that some of their long-time followers are still having a hard time to cop with.
Well things have changed ‘cause “A-Lex”, their first work without the participation of any of the Cavalera brothers, not only is the best work of the Sepultura-fronted by Derrick Green it’s also one of the best things the Brazilians have ever penned. I’m sure many of you will disagree with such statement solely on the basis of the weight of Sepultura’s past releases and the fact that it doesn’t feature a Cavalera in their ranks, but give “A-Lex” a chance and I’m sure you’ll be surprised with the powerful and exciting compositions lurking within their eleventh full-length work.
“A-Lex”, a Russian expression that means lawless is, just like its predecessor “Dante XXI” another ambitious take on a literary novel, this time around Anthony Burgess' “A Clockwork Orange”, where the Seps attempt to both capture the essence of their past and also take a step forward into territories new to them throughout eighteen themes.
“Sadistic Values” is perhaps the theme that best embodies the spirit and vibe of the whole album, a dynamic song starting with slow and clean guitar chords coupled with a soulful performance from vocalist Derrick Green that gradually grows into a barrage of hypnotic and sledgehammer riffs with Green returning to a more anger-filled vocalizations. “We’ve Lost You” also sees them drifting into unconventional song-writing, a powerful and mid-paced rendering of monster riffs and earth-shattering bass lines that initiates with a gentle acoustic section.
“Filthy Rot” is set in a more traditional approach with tribal percussion and dissonant, skull-crushing riffs, with new member Jean Dolabella hitting the drums with steady precision and drifting skill. Elsewhere, there’s a number of rampaging songs that are bound to inflict some serious damage on a live environment like “Moloko Mesto”, “What I Do” and “The Treatment”.
Do yourself a favour and enjoy “A-Lex” for what it is, a prime example of intelligent and aggressive Thrash- Metal.

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