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Friday, February 24, 2006

Sepultura - Dante XXI

From a future installment of my Death From Below column in AMP Magazine...

This is the one you’ve been waiting for, SEPULTURA fans! To be honest, I’ve gotten a little sick of the Derrick Green bashing over the years, so I’m thrilled to pieces not only for him, but for the rest of this band, that SEPULTURA has struck back with a serious achievement that more than lives up to the hype given to me by guitarist Andreas Kisser in these pages a couple of months ago.

“Dante XXI” is SEPULTURA’s greatest revenge in a post-Max Cavalera continuation. As North American audiences have bitten their collective thumbs at this groundbreaking band the past few albums beginning with “Against” through 2003’s “Roorback,” they simply have yet to forgive SEPULTURA for having the fortitude to persist with anyone but Max. Well, sorry, peeps, Max’s SOULFLY is for real and despite your grumblings, SEPULTURA with Derrick Green is for real, proven positive on their superbly inspired concept album “Dante XXI.”

Green, for all the arrows he’s had to pluck out of his back from the fans, has, once and for all, usurped the vocal identity of SEPULTURA away from Max Cavalera; this is his SEPULTURA, and as Andreas Kisser delivers his familiar crunchy chords and Igor Cavalera pounds the snot out of his kit and Paulo, Jr. keeps the rhythm lines tighter than the jaws of a hammerhead shark, “Dante XXI” becomes larger than its performers, especially when you sample the cinematic orchestral accompaniments that ignite this album to progressive proportions. Only SEPULTURA’s collaboration with the Japanese drum troupe KODO on “Kamaitachi” from “Against” is more majestic.

Jesus, listen to “Fighting On,” where the sinister melodies and Igor Cavalera’s drum rolls rage like the pissed-off band SEPULTURA should be after being dissed so frequently of late. It’s countered by the artistically Faustian denouement “Still Flame,” as “Dante XXI” cryptically paints the final stanza to its contemporary reinterpretation of Dante’s “The Divine Comedy.” Prior to, the album rips and shreds painfully and excitedly on such tracks as “False,” “Buried Words,” “Nuclear Seven” and “Crown and Miter,” pulling together a thrash epic that leaves you desperately wanting more after a mere 40 minutes. Simply brilliant.

You’re going to read this countless times in other reviews it’ll seem like a mantra in due enough time: “Dante XXI” is SEPULTURA’s most important body of work since “Roots.” Period, the end. Now shut up and bang your fucking head…