Sepultura - A-Lex
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Stalwart. That is the best word to describe Sepultura. For years now, they have been championing their own mix of death, thrash, and groove metal. Many fans cast them by the wayside after the departure of Max Cavalera (and later his brother Igor). But now, with 5 albums with Derrick Green (just one shy of what Max contributed to), they continue to marshall onward.
In fact, their last two releases have entered some really interesting territory, with the previous album Dante XXI being based on The Divine Comedy, and their latest A-Lex based on the novel A Clockwork Orange. But with such heady (for such heavy metal) lyrical inspiration, how is the music? In one word: amazing.
A-Lex is an interesting collection of mini-tracks (many of the 18 songs hover right around the 2 minute mark) and proper songs. However, even the shorter tracks carry an amazing weight. Lyrically, the album tells the story of A Clockwork Orange, and the music fits the anti-social, brutal and somewhat bleak nature of the story.
Derrick Green continues to be an admirable replacement for Max Cavalera, with his vocals carefully balancing the brutal, harsh growls and his moments of clean singing. Yet there is little of that, as the music is heavy. Very heavy. New drummer Jean Dolabella pounds the skins with aplomb, filling the gap left my original member Igor Cavalera brilliantly. The guitars, as always, are heavy, gritty, groovy and thunderous. There is never a dull moment.
Final Verdict: Adore It
Fans of thoughtful, yet heavy music will find a lot to appreciate on A-Lex. Fans of Sepultura should put aside any negative feelings they have about the missing Cavalera brothers and should explore this for the excellent slice of metal mayhem it is. Those unfamiliar with the band could do much worse than use this album as a starting point to explore this seminal metal band. Highly recommended.