Throughout their career Sepultura have shifted sounds with each new record. Nation leaned mostly towards hardcore elements, whereas later albums such as Kairos and Mediator were more typical thrash metal. Then there are the more experimental releases such as A-lex and Dante XXI that spun both those sounds together for strong storytelling. Over the years the band has proven their skills among all these styles, and with their newest release of Machine Messiah, they have truly given their best work.
Of most records in recent years, Machine Messiah truly is a diverse work. Not the sort of diverse where sound shifts are jarring, but a diverse that takes all the elements one loves about Sepultura, and paces them effectively. No two songs ever sound alike on this album, which is an incredible feat. Upon the opening track “Machine Messiah”, there is this somber, semi-orchestral atmosphere that leads into the themes that are to follow. While the guitar goes back and forth from somber to sonic wails, Derrick Green does a great job keeping an emotional weight in his singing.
“I Am The Enemy” takes no breather from the second the intro ends. It is a pure thrash-hardcore track that captures pummeling drum beats, shredding guitars, and Green’s iconic screams. It delivers its ferocity quickly, making it all the more effective in its one-two punch anger. The core strength of this album comes from the instrumentals, and how they are able to balance the mix of all the different styles at play. Everything is so well paced, and that isn’t just within songs, but in the record as well. By the time a track ends, the next one shifts into something new, always keeping the ears and mind on ready.
Much praise should be given to Andreas Kisser and Eloy Casagrande, for the guitar and drums are superb (respectively). From deep chugs, sonic high notes, shredding and dark drawn moments, Kisser captures such a wide range of energy to be experienced. And Casagrande’s ability to maintain drive and balance helps provide the foundation that allows everyone to excel.
Machine Messiah is filled with musical treats, all from the epic “Sworn Oath” with its intense build up and moments of powerful minimalism, to “Resistant Parasites” which is a stellar heavy as hell track with groove and rage. Green provides strong vocalization through moments of singing and screaming, which can be found on songs such as “Cyber God” and “Phantom Self”.
Sepultura have very well created one of 2017’s most noticeable records in Machine Messiah (and it is only the beginning of the year). While Green provides capturing vocals and lyrics, the instrumentals truly stand as a testament to incredible musicianship. Sepultura takes all the best parts of their career and combines them into one outstanding art. While some songs may lean towards one style over another, there are also those that blend them (creating wonderful treats). The slow powerful moments balance well with the thrash and melodic hardcore elements, offering everything a fan could ask for. The mastery in offering so much and pulling it off well doesn’t always work, but let it be known that Sepultura have crafted an album to be incredibly proud of, and one fans will adore. Machine Messiah is a record that embodies the strengths of the past, innovative combination, and excellent musicianship on all levels.