Label: Nuclear Blast
Non-Airable Tracks: N/A
Sepultura, the thrash metal legends from Brazil, have a long history behind them. Right from the get-go, the band was playing dirty death metal on Morbid Visions in 1986 and gradually transferred to thrash peaking on 1989’s Beneath the Remains and then to groove metal, peaking on 1996’s Roots. For the first decade of their existence, Sepultura were releasing quality album after quality album with no duds to be found but when founding member, singer, and guitarist Max Cavalera left the band, the quality left with him (and transferred over to the band Soulfly). Since his departure, every album has put me off one way or the other and all have landed in muddled groove/thrash territory save Dante XXI in 2006 which was a decent album harking back to Chaos AD. So here on Quadra, the band has another attempt at redeeming themselves, but it still falls flat in the same way seven of their last eight albums do; it is too monotonous.
For starters, Sepultura are still trapped in the 90s groove clichés, unwilling (or perhaps unable) to push themselves to new territory. This album does not get much better than the fervent opener “Isolation” which is thrash metal right out of early 90s Sepultura’s playbook tinged with dissonant strings and chorus. That same string and chorus palate is used all over this album and only ever detracts from the quality because it throws a superficial element into the atmosphere that is otherwise built by the band themselves, negating any build up of nice textures. The single “Last Time” is uncanny in how much it sounds like Sepultura copying Pantera with the bare minimum in personality to differentiate the two bands. “Capital Enslavement” is interesting because it begins has the same tribal percussion sound that blessed Roots but is also the worst offender of the added strings ruining the sound. If you’re willing to look passed the confused opening, this is the best song on the album.
“Ali” is a let down from there with a more typical groove sound and predictable breakdowns and song after song starting here, the quality flatlines. The last three tracks (one interlude and two songs) manage to have the album ending on a high note. “Agony of Defeat” is the high point of Sepultura’s symphonic metal aspirations and “Fear, Pain, Chaos, Suffering” is a catchy pop metal closer. Ultimately, Quadra is a mixed bag. For fans of the band, whichever the last Sepultura album was that you really enjoyed, this is their best since that album but not better. It harks back to their roots in death thrash but holds on to the groove as well so there is something for fans of any era, but nothing is good enough to make new fans of the band.
Sounds Like: Sepultura, Pantera
Recommended Tracks: Capital Enslavement
Reviewer’s Name: Bryan
Date of Review: 2/24/2020