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Peter Atkinson Reviews - Sepultura, Kairos

By Peter Atkinson, Contributor
Monday, August 22, 2011 @ 6:57 AM

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(Nuclear Blast)

While the wait continues for the return of the prodigal Cavalera brothers Max and Igor and a reunion of the classic Sepultura lineup – don't hold your breath – longtime members guitarist Andreas Kisser and bassist Paulo Jr., along with frontman Derrick Green and drummer Jean Dolabella have at least rediscovered some of the band's classic sound.

Their 12th studio full-length, Kairos, is Sepultura's most uptempo, focused and engaging album since 1993's Chaos A.D., and is easily the best work they've done since the ugly split with Max Cavalera in 1996, though that is faint praise at best. Post-Max releases have been a mishmash of the sluggish and directionless – Roorback, Nation – or overblown conceptualizing – Dante XXI and A-Lex.

While Kairos also is billed as a concept album, ostensibly dealing with the element of time, it comes out swinging with “Spectrum” and never bogs down in thematics, with the numerically titled interludes - “2011,” “5772,” etc. - providing the only obvious connective tissue. And how effectively bruising covers of Ministry's “Just One Fix” and The Prodigy's “Firestarter” figure into whatever storyline is going on here is anybody's guess.

Regardless, tracks like “Relentless,” “No One Will Stand,” “Born Strong,” “Seethe” and “Mask” boast the sort of muscle, moxie and determination that made Sepultura thrash metal titans back in the day, at least until Roots. And it's nice to hear the band ripping it up again, even if these songs can't quite match the primal electricity of the Beneath The Remains/Arise era. They're still a step up from much of what these guy have been doing of late.

Kairos also gets a huge boost in the production department from Roy Z ( Judas Priest, etc.) who cleans up some of the sludge that has been clogging up the band's sound for years, making for a crisper, brisker presentation. This alone lets Kisser's churning riffs and occasionally squealing leads dig deep and hit hard.

Whether it's too little too late for fans who long ago lost patience with the band or continue to pining for the “glorious return” of the Cavaleras - especially now, given the Sepultura-like histrionics of Cavalera Conspiracy - really matters not. An album like Kairos is long overdue from this version Sepultura, and for once they deliver.

* * * (Three Stars)

- Peter Atkinson

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