Sepultura - Kairos
Nuclear Blast
Thrash Metal
15 songs (53:16)
Release year: 2011
Sepultura, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

I have to admit a change of heart on this one. On first listens, Sepultura seemed to be continuing down the A-Lex route, overlong, too much groove, ambitious without the songwriting skill to make it work. Yet given time, it slowly becomes clear that actually, Sepultura have made the best album in years, easily the Thrashiest release with that name since Arise. Yes, there’s still a bit too much groove, and yes, it’s still far too long. Yet Sepultura have remembered what they used to sound like, and accordingly Kairos is something of an awakening for Andreas Kisser. More thrash riffs, more solos, more proof that he used to be a pretty damn good guitarist who’s been somewhat wasted of late. His now typically downtuned rumble is the first thing you hear on this album, opener Spectrum perhaps mining the same riff a little too much but having an excellent solo that does more to remind you of the Arise days than anything from any of the last five albums put together. The following title track may sound a little like an extended breakdown, as one forum-dweller observed when it was first made available online, yet after a mini tribal section that, shock horror, actually works within the song, we get what appears to be a thrash break. Sure, it won’t cause Assassin any sleepless nights, but goddamnit, they’re trying.

And that is what saves this album, all in all. Relentless lives up to its name, repetitive thrashing broken up with a stellar solo and melodic strumming that’s weirdly reminiscent of Beneath The Remains, before another solo comes in. Yes, two solos in one song... You have to give them credit where it’s due, these are not the sort of sub-Slayer racket that we’ve had of late, but actual old-school solos with widdly bits and everything! That old-school spirit seems strongest in Mask and No One Will Stand, which will be unrecognisable to those who wrote the band off with Roots, being fast, brutal thrash attacks with ripping solos. Even mid-track ‘filler’ like the trio of Seethe, Born Strong and Embrace The Storm are leaps and bounds ahead of anything from A-Lex, unmistakeably Thrash in genre, being well-written songs that even manage to incorporate post-jungle rhythms without turning Nu-Metal. This is really what Sepultura should have sounded like all along under Derrick Green.

What few experimental moments the band allow themselves seem to work well, despite some short and cryptically-titled ambient interludes (2011, 1433, and 5772) which could easily have been cut. Dialog has spoken word sections but doesn’t drag at all, driven by the guitars, and the percussion-enhanced Structure Violence (Azzes) is the inevitable post-Kaiowas bit of indulgence, but backed with guitars and Derrick’s vocals it’s the best one in years. The frontman deserves his due, never as charismatic as Max Cavalera yet in some ways a better vocalist, less sloppy and more focused. This comes over best in the not one but two covers present, bravely buried in the tracklisting and as such part of the band’s musical vision, rather than tagged on at the end as bonus tracks. Ministry’s Just One Fix is a classic, already imbued with the spirit of Thrash and so Sepultura’s cover is automatically worthwhile, yet The Prodigy’s Firestarter is given an urgency and bite that the original lacked with gang shouts and a guitar solo. It’s the extra layer of icing on an already tasty cake of an album, to abuse an overused metaphor. Yes, we all would prefer a Max-headed Sepultura to return to the days of Beneath The Remains, but that isn’t going to happen any time soon – Cavalera Conspiracy are at the top of their game, and with Sepultura slowly yet surely returning to their roots, why should Andreas want to stop the band’s roll? With Nuclear Blast behind them, Sepultura have the capacity to finally return to the heights they once commanded – Kairos is a step of heartening quality towards that goal.

Killing Songs :
Relentless, Just One Fix, Mask, Seethe, Born Strong, Embrace The Storm, No One Will Stand, Firestarter
Goat quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Sepultura that we have reviewed:
Sepultura - Machine Messiah reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
Sepultura - The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
Sepultura - Roots reviewed by Goat and quoted 74 / 100
Sepultura - Arise reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
Sepultura - A-Lex reviewed by Goat and quoted 73 / 100
To see all 12 reviews click here
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