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Sepultura - Arise

1991 Roadrunner Records :: Reviewed by skeksis on 2005-09-30

I start this review with severe trepidation because when I was al ot younger, I worshiped this record and this band. I wanted a B.C. Rich Warlock simply because Max looked cool as hell with it. I always found Beneath the Remains a bit messy, and its predecessors were not without its charm but on Arise, it all came together and just gelled. Although Sepultura got lumped in with all the death metal bands at the time, to call them death metal would be incorrect. More a thrash band with slightly guttural vocals, they appealed to a wide audience because their music was heavy but not to f*cking heavy (think Obituary) or too fast or complicated (Morbid Angel). Even to this day, I get goose bumps listening to the title track or what is to me the standout track on this record, "Desperate Cry". The intro to "Altered State" is simply one of the heaviest riffs, ever. A lot has been made of Igor's drumming on subsequent records and the infusion of Brazilian accents on those records. I call BS on that one. Although he's not playing as fast as on Beneath the Remains and there is a lack of ethnic tones here, to me, its here that he really proved himself as a versatile drummer. Song wise, the jungle boys were on top form, and songs like the title track, Desperate Cry, and Under Siege (Regnum Irae) are all classics. The production on this record is typical 1990s Scott Burns, meaning a bit thin but the best afforded at the time. I've got to mention that bizarre cover though. Just what the hell in the world is going on with the crab thing? Something definitely must have been lost in translation. I was lucky enough to catch these guys on the Arise tour and let me tell you, they slayed! Unfortunately it all went to shit after this, but if you own any Sepultura record, there's no better place to start than here.

Sepultura - Live in Sao Paulo

2005 SPV Records :: Reviewed by skeksis on 2006-01-07

Ok, to be completely honest, I only bought this DVD out of morbid curiosity. We all know by know what Sepultura minus Max sounds like (shit in other words, but what about the old stuff? 'Live in Sao Paulo' is the answer to that question, and to be frank, I'm pissed. First off, it took me four viewings to come to that conclusion. Why you might ask? Because for some reason, no matter how bolt upright awake I was, I kept falling asleep somewhere in the middle of the set. By the fourth viewing, with extra cups of Joe in hand, I realized why. This thing really, really fucking boring! Let me count the ways this sucket. First, Sepultura was and should have stayed a two guitar band. Geez, Derrick can play the instrument, but why does he only play on the newer tracks that clearly don't need a second guitarist while tracks like 'Desperate Cry' and the 'Arise/Desperate Cry' medley only have one? And why a medley for Christ sake? It makes the sound on those songs weaker, especially in the solo sections. Second, speaking of a weaker sound, the sound on this DVD leaves a lot to be desired. Igor Cavalera is without a doubt one of metals most unique and most underrated drummers, but he's just too high in the mix. Poor Andreas gets mixed down toward the bottom so you can barely hear what song he's playing. I found myself either referencing the DVD track listing on more than one occasion, either that or trying to pick up hints from the drum lines. Bassist Paulo gets stuck in the same frequency as Andreas, complicating matters. But the biggest lighting rod for derision (this would be third for those keeping count) is the vocals of one Derrick Green. Now, I'm sure the guy is a nice bloke and all, and I'm defiantly sure he could kick my ass with his pinky finger (my god, he must be at least nine feet tall) but his vocals, ugh! Granted Max was never the greatest singer, but his accent and his delivery gave the songs a certain identity and character. Not to mention the guys charismatic stage persona and you had better be damn good to wear his shows. Unfortunately, Derrick renders all his lines in a monotonous, one dimensional sort of growl that is so utterly forgettable. He manages to somehow suck all the energy out of the classics tracks, by the time their newer material is aired, you just stop caring this DVD was on. Add to that the lack of stage movement (aside from Andreas in his corner on the right, all hair, doing his best to never show is face under all the head banging) and Derrick making big, googley eyes every few seconds in a attempt to 'feel' what he's singing, that by the half way mark, you, uh, tend to fall asleep. Man, I used to love Sepultura so much back in my early high school days. I would go skateboarding with my black, heavy Sepultura t-shirts that didn't breathe at all on the hottest summer's day because 'Arise' had just came out and I was in orgasmic glee over that record. But man, this is something else. They really should have changed the name of the band because this is a travesty. Avoid this at all cost. If you haven't seen it yet, all you need is 'Under Siege'. If you have it and bought this as well, watch the two back to back and tell me I'm wrong.