Sepultura - Machine Messiah
Nuclear Blast
10 songs (46:05)
Release year: 2017
Sepultura, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

Perhaps named after the Yes song, Sepultura’s fourteenth studio album is, like the last few albums from them an interesting concept with a lot of thought behind it. The quality of their output is, however, less consistent, and although Machine Messiah is almost as good as 2011’s Kairos, the best of the Derrick Green-fronted band so far, it’s not quite good enough to convince those holding out for a Cavalera-era reunion. Which, as ever, is a shame, because Sepultura have carved out an impressive run of releases that are more or less on a par with the Soulfly output, often more interesting if more willing to linger in groove metal territory than the pure thrash some of us wish they’d return to. And Machine Messiah is a step back, leaving the experimental heaviness of the Sepultura sound of 2013’s The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart to make an album closer in sound to the progressive groove/thrash of Dante XXI and A-Lex. Which is a respectable place to be, really; two fun but flawed releases that showed flashes of genius amidst otherwise decent but average metal.

That’s pretty much Machine Messiah personified. Based around how much society is becoming dependant on technology, a kind of thrash metal version of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror TV series, the concept is a promising one but sadly doesn’t translate into many memorable songs. Those that do stand out are mostly thanks to the well-implemented progressive elements; the title track is one, opening the album in a melancholic and almost doomy fashion with rare clean singing from Green, always good enough to suggest he should do it more often. The track builds into a slow, heavy thrasher, leading into the following I Am The Enemy well and giving its thrashy hardcore more impact. Phantom Self is even better, however, interesting percussion from Eloy Casagrande and a near-symphonic backing improving what is already one of the album’s catchier songs.

Things definitely drag a little otherwise. Alethea is a good but forgettable song, Sworn Oath has more of the symphonic-styled backing but is a little too long at over six minutes – everything is very well played, just not as well-written. That sums Resistant Parasites up perfectly, a groove metal throwback that initially tries to be like Chaos AD but doesn’t manage it, and the late-track switch in speed only lasts briefly. It’s left to two later tracks to try and up the ante, and both Silent Violence and Vandals Nest are what this album should have had more of, catchy thrashers with enough experimental personality in the former and downright heaviness in the latter to be highlights. Another of the better tracks is instrumental Iceberg Dances, containing the purest thrash on the album as well as some Hammond organ and flamenco guitar. It’s hard to recommend an album off the back of an instrumental, however, and although Machine Messiah has its highlights only fans of the band’s past few releases will be interested.

Killing Songs :
Phantom Self, Iceberg Dances, Silent Violence, Vandals Nest
Goat quoted 70 / 100
Other albums by Sepultura that we have reviewed:
Sepultura - Quadra reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
Sepultura - The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
Sepultura - Kairos reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Sepultura - Roots reviewed by Goat and quoted 74 / 100
Sepultura - Arise reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
To see all 13 reviews click here
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