A real surprise that Sepultura are back. Max Cavalera’s permanent departure to go play in Dub War, Soulfly, and all the rest, signaled to me that Sepultura was consigned to the history books. How wrong I was, and I am glad. Long-time members Igor Cavalera (drums), Paulo Jr. (Bass) and Andreas Kisser (guitars) found a mighty new vocalist in hardcore veteran Derrick Green, to fill Max’s shows.
And as fans of serious metal would expect, Against proves Sepultura must remain at the forefront of metal, be it in their native Brazil or anywhere in the world. Listening to Against, I am reminded of the thrashing brutality I heard on Beneath the Remains and Arise, classic Sepultura, from the early 1990’s thrash/death explosion. Songs like the title track, “Choke” and “Old Earth” blast through like rabid tapirs (can they get rabies?) rampaging through the Amazon jungle! It’s every bit as intense as Sepultura is supposed to be! “Old Earth” sounds almost like a Brazilian carnival show tune, that is, if incredibly heavy thrash metal and mind-altering drugs were carnival highlights… “Floaters in Mud” and “Tribus” join the tribal drums, a trademark of Sepultura music, with brutal thrash, another Sepultura trademark. The most amazing song on this great album, though is “Kamaitchi” which combines the exotic percussion of Japanese musical troupe Kodo with Sepultura’s darker, jungle warrior metal deluge, much along the lines of their collaboration with Amazon native music on their previous album, Roots. Additionally, there’s a song co-written by Metallica’s Jason Newsted (boy, he gets around these days, no?) and, not only that, he sings and plays theramin, too!
This is a great metal record, one of the best of 1998, really incredible.