Machine Messiah (2017)
Genres: Groove Metal, Thrash Metal, Alternative Metal
(Masterpiece - among the best in the genre)
Sepultura hasn't gotten a whole lot of appreciation since 1993's Chaos A.D. While Roots does get a bit more appreciation from those who don't have an issue with nu-metal, you won't hear many talking about any of the post-Cavalera albums. Four years after the release of the lengthy titled The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart, which was seen as Sepultura's return to a thrash metal-based sound, the band returns with the much simpler titled Machine Messiah.
Machine Messiah features quite a variety of musical elements, inside and outside of metal, and actually comes across as quite experimental. There's a blend of tribal groove metal and crossover thrash throughout the majority of the album, the latter being most prevalent in "I Am the Enemy". It's one of the most crushing songs the band's released in a while, and instantly got me hooked with its chromatic death metal riffing, rumbling bass sound, and punk-thrash pace. Want more thrash, "Vandals Nest" brings some total old-school thrash mixed with some great melodies towards the end. I must also give mention to the guitar tone on this album, it's got such a razor-sharp punch to it, while having a dissonant tone for the slower bits.
The album opens up and ends on an odd note for Sepultura, with both the title track and "Cyber God" being melodic heavy metal/alternative metal tracks with a bit of a metalcore vibe. This may be seen as a negative for some, but I think it works great and makes these among the best on the album. "Sworn Oath" is another song that displays some of this influence at the beginning, but soon picks up a killer groove with majestic symphonic instrumentation. Derrick Green's melodic vocals on this track are really deep and emotive, and creates a nice contrast to his usual gruff barks. Speaking of said vocals, his gruff vocals on this album remind me a lot of Jaz Coleman of Killing Joke at his most raw and are delivered with great conviction. Just check out his performance on "Silent Violence", that's what I call pure raw power!
Also among the best on the album are "Phantom Self" and the instrumental "Iceberg Dances". The former is a groovy tune that has a middle-eastern sound to it played by an instrument that I can't tell if it's just a guitar or something else. "Resistant Parasites" also features a bit of middle-eastern instrumentation towards the end. "Iceberg Dances" is the best instrumental track I've heard in a while, blending a tribal groove with some unexpected influences. Most notable of these would be the organ that surprisingly fits right in, who knew organ and groove metal would sound so awesome together?
Sepultura's done it, they've made a masterpiece to rival their 80's and early 90's classics. Instead of trying to imitate their classic material, the band blended a wide range of styles and influences that ended up mixing together perfectly. If you're looking for an eclectic groove metal album, look no further than Machine Messiah.
Written on MMA (MetalMusicArchives)
See review here: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/review/machine-messiah/338962