FFO: Thrash Metal, Alternative Metal
On Quadra, Sepultura demonstrates how a metal band can effectively deliver a trademark sound while also veering into new musical and lyrical territories. The band’s 15th album, which was released in February on Nuclear Blast, marks something of an inspiring homage to the band’s history.
The word quadra is Portuguese for playground, as it pertains to sports and references the evenness of math, geometry, music and cosmology. The new collection’s 12 tracks are disseminated into four different sides, each representing Sepultura’s musical personalities. The first side features the more straightforward thrash anthems. The initial singles “Isolation” and “Last Time” have all the hallmarks of the band’s classic sound including gritty vocals, blast beats, a touch of groove and incredibly heavy guitar work.
The pummeling relents just a bit as the album progresses, allowing for more subversive songwriting. The second side finds the band revisiting tribal rhythms and grass root protests. The lyrics of “Capital Enslavement” tackle corporate and political greed, backed by dynamic drumming from Eloy Casagrande. Despite this Brazilian quartet’s many controversial lineup changes, Sepultura remains fueled by a powerhouse kit master. On his third outing, Casagrande further proves why the musician got the job and should solidify his reputation as one of the band’s best drummers.
The third side focuses on slightly more intricate instrumentation highlighted by the lyric-less “Pentagram,” a song reminiscent of “Iceberg Dances” from Machine Messiah. The fourth and final quadrant is the most experimental, a bit slower and more melodic than the preceding songs, yet remains perhaps the most personal and impactful. The emotional crescendos on “Agony of Defeat” might be the best Derrick Green has sounded in his 22 years as frontman. Green has the ability to send chills down your spine as he pours all his rage and passion into the chorus. “Fear, Pain, Chaos, Suffering” features the vocal contributions of Emmily Barreto from the Brazilian rock band Far From Alaska. While not a thrasher, the cut is a haunting dirge fitting closer for such a transformative album.
A total musical change might turn off fans, particularly loyalists who have remained with the group despite the many lineup changes. The album’s theme itself was wise and strategic and its execution a success. Just enough of Quadra banks on listeners’ familiarity with Sepultura, while also subverting it and successfully buildings on the group’s metal legacy.
Sepultura kicks off its North American Quadra tour on Mar. 18, 2020 in San Diego, California with Sacred Reich, Crowbar and Art Of Shock.
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Justin Smulison is a professional content writer and producer whose first love is music. Smulison’s digital and print copywriting experience spans music, law, true crime, advertising and real estate, among other subjects. You can often find JS in Long Beach, New York, either running on the boardwalk or in the sand with his family.