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Sepultura: Quadra

This album came out in February 2020, a time that now seems long distant, as if it belonged to another world. Wasn’t the Super Bowl also in February 2020? I seem to recall attending a public gathering with lots of people and lots of food and a game on television that showed thousands of screaming fans packed into a stadium. Things have definitely changed!

So why am I reviewing this album six months after it’s release? One answer is that I forgot about it for a little while and then the weeks turned into months and here we are. But another answer, and probably a better one, is that wasn’t completely ready to appreciate everything that Sepultura was doing until now. You see, this is a band that I do not approach lightly. They’ve been making music for some 35 years and have been a major influence on heavy metal and its various subgenres for a long time. They are also one of the best bands of their kind. I also know that fans will probably always be divided over the band’s lineup changes, not to mention the various rifts between Max and Igor Cavalera. I didn’t really want to get into all of that and so I waited until I could just sit back with the album and listen as best as I could. It was definitely worth the wait.

For those wondering if this album is really that good, it might help to know a little more about the structure. The band divided the music into four groups of three, each one representing a slightly different style. The immediate inspiration was the ancient idea of the quadrivium, or the ways the study of arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy were considered essential divisions of an education. Don’t worry; Sepultura isn’t trading their instruments for math textbooks. But they are exploring different musical ideas here in ways that I found refreshing.

As I understand it, the point was to divide each section in ways that captured various aspects of the band’s interests and to give them some breathing room to explore new areas. The divisions for each section are, roughly, classic thrash, groove, progressive, and melodic. I say “roughly” because there is no perfect way to capture each section. It’s not as if the band jumps dramatically from thrash to progressive (or whatever) in ways that left me reeling or asking myself “what just happened?” Instead, each section flowed naturally (at least for me) from one style to another in ways that felt natural and appropriate. Sure, some listeners might not like the choral parts on “Guardians of Earth” or the guest vocals on “Fear; Pain; Chaos; Suffering,” but the album isn’t trying to be any single version of Sepultura. Instead, it is exploring all the ways Sepultura can work with extreme metal sounds to create something really special.

If you only want to dip your toe into this one, check out “Isolation” and “Guardians of Earth.” If you want to dive in, just start at the beginning and work your way to the end. You might not like every bit of it, but I think you’ll find more to like here than you think. Enjoy!

Track Listing:
1. Isolation
2. Means to an End
3. Last Time
4. Capital Enslavement
5. Ali
6. Raging Void
7. Guardians of Earth
8. The Pentagram
9. Autem
10. Quadra
11. Agony of Defeat
12. Fear; Pain; Chaos; Suffering

Added: August 7th 2020
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Websiste
Hits: 754
Language: english

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