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Nearly two and a half years since the release of 'A-Lex', Brazilian stalwarts and iconic metal legends Sepultura return with their twelfth studio album which is their first to be released on Nuclear Blast. Titled 'Kairos', for those who are unaware, the word is ancient Greek which refers to a random moment of time where something special is supposed to occur, directly related to whoever appropriates the word. Well, Sepultura have used it here and the special occurrence is that of a rather kickass album. Opening with 'Spectrum' the first bars of music are formed by a simple guitar riff. I say simple but Andreas Kisser has always had the knack of making the simplest of ideas sound massive and this is no exception. The repeated motif actually constitutes most of the four minutes playing time of the track but it works a treat as an effective sonic backdrop to Derrick Green's snarled vocals which have more venomous bite than they ever have on the previous five Sepultura albums on which he's sung. Throughout 'Kairos', simplicity is the key to its success in that there are no overly complex arrangements to speak of as such, just a plethora of catchy riffs, basslines, drumming, vocal hooks, and Kisser's unique style of lead playing, all executed with astute precision. Astute, that is, because to convert simplicity into something that sounds so powerful and momentous is no easy feat. Another strength of the album is the production/mix by Roy Z, primarily famed for his collaborations with Bruce Dickinson and Judas Priest amongst others. Sepultura's aim for 'Kairos' was to replicate their live sound in the studio. Roy Z has done an amazing job here - while the overall production is fantastic, it's in no small way overly-sterilised unlike the production on so many modern metal records. Songs sound massive but with a live, raw kind of vibe that, when cranked up on the stereo, genuinely feels like you're listening to Sepultura in action. Long-time fans will be able to identify nods towards Sepultura of yore with tracks like 'Relentless' sounding like an outtake from the 'Chaos A.D.' session during its opening bars. However, there is little regression in general as 'Kairos' is all about Sepultura moving forward with a set of accomplished compositions that will undoubtedly become fan favourites in their live shows in the future. A divergence into industrial metal territory rears its head with 'Structure Violence (Azzes)' which shows that Sepultura still have an experimental streak, and a down-tuned, but faithful, cover of the Ministry's 'Just One Fix' works well and doesn't sound out of place in proceedings. The better cover though, and one that appears to be some sort of hidden bonus track after '4648' is a version of the Prodigy's 'Firestarter' which is simply amazing. Sepultura have always prided themselves on tackling the most unusual, unobvious cover versions, but they've done an incredible job with the Prodigy classic. Oh yeah, and curious as to what those four tracks are all about with numbers for titles? Go check out the interview with Andreas Kisser on this very site, suffice to say they're befitting of the 'Kairos' concept. And go check out this album too for it's well worth your time and money.
Nuclear Blast
Review by Mark Holmes
24th June 2011
1) Spectrum; 2) Kairos
3) Relentless; 4) 2011
5) Just One Fix; 6) Dialog
7) Mask; 8) 1433
9) Seethe; 10) Born Strong
11) Embrace the Storm
12) 5772
13) No One Will Stand
14) Structure Violence (Azzes)
15) 4648
"Songs sound massive but with a live, raw kind of vibe that, when cranked up on the stereo, genuinely feels like you're listening to Sepultura in action."