When I was in high school, I remember getting a copy of Sepultura’s album “Arise” and thinking that it was some seriously extreme yet cool stuff. It was as heavy if not heavier than Slayer but there was some serious groove to their music. There were also some really cool tribal elements that stemmed from their Brazilian roots. They were definitely doing something unique. Sepultura is a band that I haven’t seen perform live in well over 15 years so getting to see them again was pretty surreal. I was totally on the fence about them because the band has different line up than the classic line up I remembered as a kid. Brothers Max and Igor Cavalera are both no longer in the band. Max (vocals/guitar) went on to form Soulfly and Igor (drums) left to reunite with Max for Cavalera Conspiracy. This shift in dynamics had me a bit worried but I was about to see that there was absolutely nothing to worry about.
Sepultura took the stage before a roaring audience as they kicked things off with “Arise” which instantly had everyone losing their minds. Lead singer Derrick Green rules the stage with such a swagger and confident vibe. He totally connects with the audience and the audience seemed to completely connect with him. Slamming right into “Refuse/Resist” just kicked it into overdrive and had the audience chanting the lyrics word for word right back at the band. Guitarist Andreas Kisser has such an amazing presence and the crowd just seems to gravitate towards him. He urges the audience on and everyone caves into his commanding presence. The energy of the band and the audience was nothing short of electrifying. I’ve seen a lot of great shows but very few where I could literally feel the energy this intensely. This was not a casual audience. This was an audience that was pumped to the extreme to see this band and this was a band that was giving 110%.
Sepultura’s 18 song set list was very much an anthology of a long and now legendary career that has boasted some of the greatest metal ever made. I wasn’t familiar with a lot of the songs that were played but because they were delivered with so much integrity and drive I was immediately made a fan all over again. The band performed a couple of new songs from their forthcoming album “Kaios” and these new songs seemed to fit in really well with the classic material and were very well accepted by the crowd. The band managed to slip in some really great classics like “Troops of Doom” and “Territory” but it was “Biotech Is Godzilla” that really shook things up and once again had the audience syncing with the band and singing every word right back at them.
The band closed out an already amazing set with an amazing “Roots” which left a sea of melted faces in their wake. The band said their good-byes and exited the stage. It seems rare that I see smiles at a metal show like this but there wasn’t a single face that didn’t look like it had just seen an amazing show. Sepultura is another great example of how some bands don’t grow old, they grow classic. From a teen hearing this “new” band to a man in his late 30’s seeing that same band now a classic band is something pretty awesome. All I could think about on the way home was how my dad said to me as a kid, “Son, a good band is a band that will still be around 20 years from now and doing it as good as they did in their youth.” Well, I’d say that even with their line up changes and rocky history, Sepultura has secured their place as not just a classic band or a good band but as a great classic metal band. Their best years still seem to lie ahead of them.
Killer pix by Don de Leaumont