without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Believe it or not, A-Lex was once my favorite Sepultura album. I basically spun it multiple times a week and I was absolutely in love with it. Then, as soon as I got into heavier music, I left it for a long time and never cared about it again. After having heard genres of metal, I returned to Sepultura after I went to a concert of theirs and A-Lex was one of the first albums I spun. Nowadays I wonder how I ever loved this album so much. That's not to say I suddenly hate it now (Quite the opposite) but I do think it's a little less than some Sepultura albums surrounding it. A-Lex is like Dante XXI, a concept album, this time based on A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, which again makes for an interesting lyrical theme. The entirety of this album is pretty different than what we're used to hearing from Sepultura. Believe it or not, A-Lex is the result of nothing more than a jam session, a fact that's actually backed up somewhat by the music present on this album. This is still very much in the groove/hardcore/thrash realm of the previous 2 albums, but influences from other genres are mixed in such as death metal and even a bit of symphonic metal, which makes A-Lex one of the most ambitious and diverse Sepultura albums in existence.
As negative as it sounds, the production of the album is as empty as the album's cover. Which is both a good and bad thing, the whole thing sounds pretty similar to Dante XXI in terms of tone and execution, but it's all a bit darker and haunting. This does suffer from some problems that Nation and Kairos also have, as it's a bit boring and some songs don't really stick. Songs such as the self-titled interludes are a bit unnecessary and "Enough Said" and "Ludwig Van" both simply suck. The first is actually decent, but the lyrics are retarded and should have been left out. The 2nd is a metal take on Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, and it completely fucking blows, it's a track I skip often because I can't stand listening to it, it's totally goddamn boring and shouldn't even have been here, it would have better fitted on a "Metal bands do classical" compilation and even then it would've sucked. Nah, I can't quite say I like this album that much, it's pretty boring at times and it doesn't sound as powerful and full of energy as the preceding Green-era albums. It really isn't all that bad however. Songs like "Moloko Mesto", "Forceful Behavior", "Conform", "The Experiment" and "Paradox" are all fairly enjoyable. My opinion on this album is actually pretty similar to Roots. I like some songs (Some quite much), I absolutely hate other songs, and most of them are either decent or a bit boring.
The instrumentation is comparable to Dante XXI albeit a little more experimental. It's also a lot heavier. Green takes on an almost death metal-like approach in some songs and the riffing is generally faster on the fast songs now, especially thrashy songs like "Moloko Mesto". The guitar is pretty heavy and the riffing is pretty decent, but there's just something in the guitar tone that I don't like, it sounds a bit boring. Some riffs are dragged on for a bit too long and become tedious after a while. It's a problem Dante XXI surely didn't suffer from, but both this and Kairos do have that problem, sadly. Yes, yet again, the bass is pretty silent. I can't criticize Sepultura for it because apparently it's something that doesn't fit their taste, but I would have certainly preferred to have that extra bass kick on a lot of albums. Jean Dolabella makes his first appearance as drummer here after Iggor Cavalera left the band in 2006, and while I'm a fan of Iggor, I don't really miss him here. The drumming here isn't much worse than what he did before this, but it certainly isn't anything better either, as Iggor had a really natural sense for fills in my not so humble opinion and I find Dolabella to lack that somewhat, this could also just be the fault of the music, however.
Derrick Green is a nutter. His forced harsh yelling should be at home with the foul guitar tone and fast tempos, but they aren't. They have never been essential or compatible with the unchanged bro-groove the band has stuck with for release after release. From the thrashier "Moloko Mesto" to the immediate switch back to groove-dom in "Filthy Rot", Green's Fear Factory-copied spits, barks, and attempts at cleans suck the passion out of anything the rest of the music is attempting to do.
Then again, whatever the music tries to accomplish is almost always in vain anyway. What derails Sepultura's progression back into thrash territory is this inherent need to imitate angst and stick with the underground by putting on this fake fuck the system act. They pull this off by rehashing the exact same ideas since Roots with typically one or two mediocre riffs within the same inbred extended family of riffs as "jumpdafuckup" (with a little more metal sprinkled over it). The guitar tone is usually charred and fat, as it is here with some added polish like Dante XXI. The bass always follows suit since it dropped trying to be funky, instead going for complete heaviness under the guitars. The whole sound is dirty, simplistic, and unexciting, going on forever and ever because Sepultura pad their albums with so many songs.
Songs like "What I Do!" wouldn't be god awful if the band pursued the middle eastern type of melodies with proper songwriting. But everything boils down to the same clamoring drums and churning guitars with Green's retarded yelling. From a very skewed view this album also achieves a crust punk sound like with "Metamorphosis" and "Paradox", but once more this is dependent on the listener and the band fails to take advantage of it. Actually, Sepultura never ditched their lifeless brand of hardcore when Green was added. The difference is that Dante XXI tip-toed into metallic hardcore while A-Lex rummages through bad riffs and worse songs as it tries to capture the same apocalyptic atmosphere.
This album can't be a disappointment after a large run of awful Sepultura albums. From the new drummer's misplaced energy to the stock songwriting to the recycled riffs and polished production, this band has made another worthless album. There are very few levels of the experimentation that kept these albums even a little intriguing to some. Better to prefer the straightforward songs than that experimentation, though, or else the band gets cocky and records something like "Ludwig Van" - a miserable attempt at fusing bad groove with "9th Symphony" and having it go absolutely nowhere. A-Lex, congratulations on existing with no purpose except confirming Sepultura's continuing suckage.
I really wanted to like this album, really. Unlike a lot of people, I like post-Max Sepultura. With Dante, we had what seemed like the band was about to turn a new corner. Yet three years later A-Lex would hit the stores and instead of progression we get regression. With A-Lex we have 18 tracks, 4 of which are introductions and 14 are actual songs. The problem is the lack of creativity in the songs themselves.
At nearly 55 minutes the listener is overwhelmed by generic songs ranging from 2-3 minutes. Since Roorback, Sepultura has watered down their song structures to what sounds more like improvised jam sessions rather than actual songs. Since this is a concept album about A Clock Work Orange I was expecting something more theatrical and varied. Yet they failed to do so again.
The listener isn’t given a chance to absorb most of the songs. There is little variation and lack of interesting beats. Yet A-Lex isn’t completely useless. Filthy Rot, We Lost You, Sadistic Vales, and Ludwig Van are all interesting cuts. With Sadistic Values we have one of the longest songs since Arise, clocking in at nearly 7 minutes. This song features theatrical moments, a great build up which only complements the aggression of the song. Filthy Rot and We Lost You are your typical Sepultura classics, stuff you will rock out to with ease. Ludwig Van is an awesome instrumental which gives the album some much need variety.
I really hope Sepultura decides to cut down the number of songs for their next album because it shouldn’t be about quantity but rather quality. I’m not one to praise the Max years but at least with those albums we had songs that contained tempo changes, long solos, and lots of variation within each song.
The reason why I’m being so hard on this album is because I know the band can do better than this. Andreas is an exceptional guitar player who hasn’t shown his true colours in awhile. Paulo has played some awesome bass melodies in the past but gets buried in the mix nowadays. Derrick is an extremely talented metal vocalist. Check out his performance on Nation to see his range...no Nation does not suck!! Jean doesn’t really get a chance to establish himself on his debut. Judging from his performance he may have something to show us in the future, if Andreas decided to experiment more.
Download at best. Or if you’re an extreme Sepultura fan, chances are you already have a copy. Good luck boys, hopefully this was a dud like Roots….fingers crossed.
Had I actually kept my attention focused for more than five minutes at a time, about two weeks ago this review would read far far differently from what has been submitted right now. For some inane reason, the memory of which I have managed to excessively dilute with beer, I seem to have this bizarre soft spot for post-'Roots' Sepultura and frequently give them the benefit of the doubt. While everyone else treated their albums as though they sonically transmitted leprosy, I always said they weren't completely awful and that they had the potential to write decent music, which they somewhat managed with 'Dante XXI'
However something went wrong with 'A-Lex' and it's hard to explain because for the first couple of spins it's not bad; it's not great either but it manages to do little more than what you'd expect from modern Sepultura. With subsequent listens 'A-Lex' becomes more and more arduous to sit through as the few redeeming moments on the album all but disappear whilst the rest of the abhorrent material grinds away at your patience. Ignoring the superfluous, numbered self-titled tracks and "Ludwig Van" each other song fits into one of two categories with little to no divergence; short and fast or longer and mid-paced. The result is a very unbalanced album; the shorter tracks are more bearable since the riffs don't outstay their welcome, but they're also completely devoid of defining characteristics and are easily forgotten. The longer tracks are more distinctive but for all the wrong reasons; groove metal riffs are not uncommon to modern Sepultura and aren't the reason why these songs are so bad. It is more the fact that there are so few riffs per song that four minutes feels like eight minutes instead, which is further compounded by the all the songs sharing similar structures that they operate like clockwork. "The Treatment" is the only song which manages to switch things up enough to keep interest; still it's not a great track but it is at least some proof that Sepultura can write when they're really pushed to it.
Of course if there's proof that Sepultura can fuck up the whole songwriting process then it's present in the form of the self-titled, concept story linked tracks which are a non-entity at best. They're highly reminiscent of similarly concept themed tracks that were present in 'Dante XXI'; you remember those right? Yeah, neither do I. They're uninteresting and don't drive the album forward, backward or any discernible direction. Sepultura should have just thrown what little subtlety they had out the window and have the band chant "HEY GUYS THIS IS A CONCEPT ALBUM ABOUT 'A CLOCKWORK ORANGE'" over and over for two minutes instead.
Further berating Sepultura and their atrocious attempts at songwriting we come across tracks such as "Sadistic Values" and "Ludwig Van". The former is just bizarre; the first half of the song is one of those quiet-y sections with some asinine notes picked out on the high E string while Derrick talks/whispers and such before we go into a groove riff and the song basically sounds like every other song until the end. While "Sadistic Values" is just an exercise in poorly gluing on a section to the front of a normal song so you can appear deep or thoughtful, "Ludwig Van" is a poor attempt at further establishing the concept story of the album albeit with no tact, subtlety or talent. Basically the band play alongside a piece of Beethoven's music, which piece I am not sure of so feel free to email me about how much of an uncultured heathen I am. At first thought you might assume this would be awful; some horrible bastardisation of classical music but really it's just boring because the band don't build upon the music, they're simply another set of instruments. I suppose it's good they didn't try to experiment with the track and do their own thing because they're fucking rubbish at doing anything outside the box or even inside the box most of the time.
'A-Lex' is tedious. I really am confused that a band could write 'Dante XXI' which was interesting sometimes and then decide to fuck everything up by writing songs that are bland and severely lacking in dynamics. Whether we can put our hopes in Sepultura producing another good album is hard to say, but admittedly I'll still look forward to another album since at least they didn't write another 'Roots'.
I've only recently gotten into the real Sepultura. And when I say real, I mean the old-school Sep when they released Schizophrenia and the like. When I was about thirteen or so, I was one of those idiotic JUMPDAFUCKUP types who dug Roots.
That was when I was stupid.
I soon grew out of that phase and started to listen to thrash and later death metal, both genres in which Sepultura used to rip. So along comes an announcement that they're to make a new album. According to everyone on the Archives, Derrick Green sucks balls, so I've avoided anything Sepultura's released since Max's departure like the plague. However, when I saw the cover, I have to say, it kicked ass; it looked like Beneath the Remains, but cooler. I happen to follow the policy "try before you buy," and holy shit, am I better off because of it.
Since I hadn't experienced Green's vocals until this point, I went into this album with no idea what it would sound like. A-Lex I starts things off nicely, setting an excellent atmosphere with its combo of synths and guitars. Then comes the shit-storm; Moloko Mesto comes in with a thrash riff, which is apparently unheard of from Sepultura these days. I didn't know since is the first Sepultura album I've listened to since Roots. The problem is that the few thrash riffs are shit and the lyrics are idiotic and sound like someone in grade school wrote them.
And the vocals. Oh the vocals.
I've heard enough horror stories about this guy fill a book, but this blew me away in the worst way possible. I don't even know how to categorize the shit this guy spews forth and I'm sure as hell hard-pressed to call them vocals. Then it gets worse. Then comes the full-on groove. Next to nu metal, groove metal is one of my most hated forms of music, no thanks to shit like Roots and Vulgar Display of Power. You get the same riff played over and over again for twelve songs while Green unleashes his maelstrom of ear-sodomizing tuff-stuff shouts. Also, the vox are mixed in way too high in the mix; the shouts drown out most the other instruments.
The only songs that actually have any semblance of good are Ludwig Van and the rest of the A-Lex suite. I listen to some power metal these days, so I wasn't too horrified by Ludwig Van, but it just doesn't sound right. Still, it feels like it's over quicker than the other shorter songs and doesn't have any damnable vocals. The A-Lex movements are actually quite good though; They're short and set the mood well, sound fairly good and best of all, have no vox either. However, synths aren't exactly familiar territory for them, so all of them still sound out of place as well.
Sepultura's nadir came about when they were releasing things like Against and Nation with a couple attempted recoveries afterwards. Looks like those attempts were quashed when this turd came out; five DECENT songs out of eighteen. That's a problem. It's a shame to see a band once so good reduced to this state, it really is.
Fuck the naysayers, A-Lex might be one of the best albums of this year. In fact it might be one of the best albums in Sepultura's entire career.
Yeah that's right, I think A-Lex is just that good.
The album is a concept album for Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange (I've read the book, and watched half of the movie). It's base is aggressive groove. But from time to time, the band varies their groove by blending everything they've explored before. Sometimes it is thrash ("Forceful Behavior" almost sounds like Slayer), sometimes it's hardcore ("Enough Said"), and sometimes it's their past - "Strike" strongly reminds of Roots, as if it was an outtake from Roots. "Ludwig Van" is also worth a mention because, oddly enough, it's one of the several highlights, yet it's the weakest link at the same time. Usually the fusion of metal and classical music ends up being meaningless and disposable, but "Ludwig Van" is a bit of an exception. Sepultura's arrangement of Beethoven's 9th Symphony comes unexpected towards the end, and shows a trace of insanity. The middle section, right about from when Kisser's solo starts, is quite shmalzy to me, and hence the weakest moment of the album, but it starts and ends well like an appropriate and psychotic tribute to A Clockwork Orange (but certainly not to Beethoven himself).
In other moments, "A-Lex" I ~ IV serves to mark the beginning of each section, but they are unpredictably successful at segueing the dynamics of the music without being a silly filler. A-Lex also has a similar progression like Roots and Chaos A.D. where the latter tracks get less memorable, but in A-Lex, the music flows with ease, and with much more consistency than Sep's mid-90s outputs. Unlike their past groove-aggression albums, A-Lex storms through as if this is the musical equivalent of beautiful and highly skilled performance of capoeira. Overall, it does a superb job of recreating the "concept" of A Clockwork Orange, making it an enjoyable listen not only as a metalhead, but also someone familiar with the book (or the movie).
After few listens of A-Lex, I cannot help but to be convinced that Max Cavalera is overrated as a creative force of Sepultura. Too many times does the credit to Sepultura masterpieces of Beneath the Remains - Roots era go to Max alone, and without any regard to Andreas Kisser. But the truth is that Sepultura always sounded like Sepultura, even after Derrick came in (by now, Max's vocals aren't realy missed on Sepultura albums to many open-minded people because Derrick proved himself to be a great vocalist). Departure of Igor Cavalera might be a great thing for Sep after all; it's not that Jean Donabella is better than Igor (but definitely a worthy replacement), but Sepultura should finally be judged fairly without any "Cavaleras" (ok, Igor's wife produced the album, but that doesn't count!). A-Lex should make people realize that Sepultura is Sepultura, with or without the Cavaleras.
All these years, Sepultura has worked hard to become one-of-a-kind metal band once again. Like their national football team, they are a group of stars that really wins by being team players. A-Lex is the proof. And this time they rightfully created their uniqueness by just the band members, and without high-profile nu-metal guests or exotic Brazilian tribal musicians.
Originally written for www.ultimate-guitar.com
Quite a lot has happened in the last few years regarding Sepultura and their related acts. First of all, in 2006 they released ‘Dante XXI’, their best album in 15 years. Shortly afterwards legendary drummer Igor Cavalera left the band; those who believe Sepultura ‘died’ after original frontman Max Cavalera stormed off certainly lost any remainder of hope. They, however, were given Cavalera Conspiracy, the reunion of the two Cavalera brothers and their none-too-shabby debut, ‘Inflikted’. Thing is though, the Sepultura name lives on and in case you hadn’t noticed they’ve come out with a new album called ‘A-Lex’. It is based on a similar premise to ‘Dante XXI’ – a groove filled hardcore/thrash album intertwined with a concept and some artistic flair; this time it is based on Anthony Burgess’ ‘A Clockwork Orange’. There are some differences but there is one other important parallel to be drawn: it is the work of a tight unit, one that truly knows what it is doing.
The song title ‘Filthy Rot’ does, in many ways, sum up the aesthetic and feel of this album; it’s very dark, very dirty and quite a grotesque beast to get your head around. However, that’s the way Sepultura has always been, so any fan will probably be used to it. The performance of new drummer Jean Dolabella is absolutely crucial to holding the album together, but thankfully he, as Igor did before him, lets the band become so powerful in their chemistry that it doesn’t even matter that we’ve heard most of these riffs many times before. It is so typical of Sepultura for a collection of simplistic, groovy riffs to come together so well on the coattails of a stellar collective performance and, it should be noted, a fantastic production job that brings out the crunchy low-end of Paulo Junior in exquisite fashion. In typical concept album fashion, a lot of songs do not seem completed within themselves; instead segments of this rotten, clockwork fruit are joined together as if they’re the results of a very refined jam, beginning and ending with the transitional ‘A-Lex’ tracks.
As you may have noticed if you’ve ever owned a good set of ears, Derrick Green is a damn good vocalist. His domineering presence on a Sepultura record is only beaten by his absolute destruction of a live venue. Just as well, then, that he is only clutching your neck proverbially through a set of computer speakers. He is certainly far beyond the point of having anything to prove over his predecessor (though for the record, he is infinitely better than Mr. Cavalera), and it shows on his fifth album for the band. Lyrically though, this one’s a bit of an oddball. A set of lyrics based on ‘A Clockwork Orange’ isn’t too far removed from the agitated ‘Rebel Yell’ politics that often come attached to a Sepultura album. Maybe experts on the novel and Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation will be able to comment on accuracy and loyalty to the concept, but for the less well-read of us I will simply say that these lyrics are an interesting read.
‘A-Lex’ does bog down a little towards it's middle, but as always with an album like this there’s that conveniently placed track that absolutely rips your gonads off right when you were thinking that the best (or worst, depending on how you look at it) was over; in this case that track is ‘Conform’. Even though the aforementioned grouping of tracks is important to the flow of the album, there are definitely some songs that stand out, namely ‘Strike’, ‘We’ve Lost You’ and, as I said, ‘Conform’. The body of work as a whole though is solid provided you can excuse the peculiar ‘Ludwig Van’, and learn to realise that these four guys play music just as well as anyone who may have preceded them in this band.
Sepultura died a long time ago. I believe many, many folks in our fantastic metal community can agree they’ve been down and out since “Roots,” and haven’t put out anything worthwhile since 1991, although improving a little during “Dante XXI,” but still no cigar. However, hasn’t that vile consistency morphed into the gift that keeps on giving? After all, Sepultura waddles on with their loyal tribe of semi-stupid fans proudly creaming over whatever shitty record this awful group shoots out. So what’s left? Try a few Brazilian assholes rolling in wads of cash once another abomination is created. What a shame. Sepultura inspired countless bands throughout those glory years, and now, we always prepare for the worst, as we shall most likely receive it.
Is there any hope for this Brazilian (plus one American) faction? Why yes! It’s the same band that popped out “Beneath the Remains” and “Morbid Visions,” and YOU dare doubt their abilities? “Dante XXI” showed new characteristics emerging within our good friends…still groove-laden dung, but improvement is still improvement, and now they’ll carry it over throughout “A-lex” with utmost power. But hold the fucking phone, there’s more: it’s a concept album about Clockwork Orange! So now we celebrate the illusion that writing a concept album instantly grants a flavorful effort like so many tools suppose! Oh praise the gods!
Don’t be shocked to know the truth: “A-lex” is a steaming dump. Wow, what a surprise: it’s STILL groove metal without any sense of intelligence! Now someone trying to defend Sepultura in this situation (and they’ll try, trust me) will respond by saying the following:
“No way, faggot! The riffs are heavy as shit, drums are cool, and I JUmPDAFUCKUP!!!1!”
To tame this profoundly retarded argument, simply begin musical dissection. First off, you’ll need to point out that every song throughout “A-lex” has only one simple riff consisting of a few notes per cycle, lasting for minutes on end. Likewise, some little kid they selected for percussion duties proves his worthlessness as any beginner on the kit could easily perform everything performed by junior here. Overall though, Sepultura’s poor gamble bankrupts their identity even more than before, because ”A-lex” starts awful, stays awful, and ends awful. And yes, the guitar distortion is heavy. Big fucking deal.
From this point on, Derrick Green will now be known as Peniscake. Since entering the picture after “Roots,” Peniscake has transformed Sepultura into a groove/hardcore faction responsible for such abominations as “Nation” or “Against,” with “A-lex” continuing his otherworldly storm of diarrhea, now mightier than before. Peniscake’s shouts reek of a poor hardcore vocalist stuck in a tough-guy tone, almost like he’ll slug someone for no reason. It works pretty well for about two seconds, that is, before Peniscake becomes laughably bad. You’ll laugh, find him annoying, and wish Sepultura had gone six feet under after the golden days were over. Thanks for kicking a dead horse, Peniscake.
To my amazement, “A-lex” occasionally provides good, honest passages that actually represent a real band playing music instead of a sell-out bucket of crud practically touching the scrotums of those modernized idiots following Sepultura. For instance, “Moloko Mesto” has a real thrash riff kicking off the record quite noticeably. Sure it’s dull and generic, but for modern Sepultura, that’s a step into the unknown. And I guess “Ludwig Van” deserves a shout for its loopy expenditures and symphonic edge, even despite (you guessed it) the obsolete instrumentation rendering the entire concept of an orchestral cover useless. Ah Sepultura, you never fail to fail so hard.
If you were expecting some incredible rejuvenation of Sepultura’s glorious pastime, forget about it. This album is a powerful contender for the worst item this faded group has ever conceived, even on par with “Roots” and “Nation” in terms of piss-poor ideas. “A-lex,” on one hand, provides a slight stint of musical improvement throughout thin sections, but what doesn’t look good really blows, even for Peniscake-era standards, which frankly demonstrates how awful this whole recording is during all eighteen tunes that preach worthlessness instead of concrete substance. Basically, it’s modern Sepultura doing what modern Sepultura does best: sucking like a hooker with an anteater trunk.
This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com
For who, like me, personally lived the enormous shining success of Sepultura, the "Cavalera bros band", in the middle nineties, it's very hard to review this "A-Lex", first album without any of the mentioned Cavalera bros.
Indeed the common voice wants the true Sepultura to be Cavalera Conspiracy, whose shows are filled up with Sepultura songs. The quarrel will last for long, since as it seems Andreas Kisser and Paulo Jr. don't seem too willing to reunite, but what really matters is music; and on "A-Lex" there's a lot of music, and very good too.
Actually the post split Sepultura have always released nice albums (all in all even "Against"), with the single exception of "Roorback", while Soulfly spent half their career in the total flatness; but we must admit that, maybe after "Nation", this new work is the best outfit they've ever written. Once again we're talking of a concept, better managed if compared to "Dante XXI", maybe because the background theme is more fitting their sensibility: indeed the album is inspired by the famous "A Clockwork Orange" book, from which Kubrick realized a huge cinematographic masterpiece, and that gives the album its title ("alex" is the name of the protagonist, but also means "without law").
And so the 18 tracks of the album are as many bullets with a short length, no matter what their rhythms are (only "Sadistic Values", very articulated, and "Ludwig Van", an atypical symphonic metallic collage, are over 5 minutes), and we're not surprised to know it's the result of 3 months of jamming.
It's one of the most various albums in their whole career, including fast thrash core attacks ("Moloko Mesto", "The Treatment", "Forceful Behaviour", "Enough Sai", "Paradox"), typical grooves ("What I Do!", "Metamorphosis", "The Experiment"), and some atypical solutions ("Filthy Rot" is a successful Meshuggah syncope, "Ludwig Van", as said, a symphonic track, "Sadistic Values" in its first half a melodic slow lullaby).
At times something does not roar at full throttle, but undoubtedly the album is very nice, under every point of view, and grows a lot with the listens going by. No matter who's playing the drums or guitars.
Originally written for Silent Scream http://www.silentscreamzine.com/Home.asp?Lang=ENG
I guess that I am one of the few (and the proud) who actually likes Sepultura post-Max (I also like Max-era Sepultura and Soulfly). I thought that Against and Dante XXI were great albums, and A-Lex is of similar quality. In fact, the only post-Max Sepultura album that I was disappointed with was Roorback. I’ll admit that Max Cavalera was a better vocalist than Derrick Green because of his personality and charisma (and talent). However, Green is no slouch. His vocals on A-Lex (and previous releases) are of high quality. The range of his vocals on A-Lex is quite impressive. He often sounds fairly similar to Max Cavalera (like Max without a thick accent), but he also employs occasional death metal-style vocals and other types of singing.
A-Lex is a concept album, but I don’t care about that. What matters is if it is enjoyable, compelling, and interesting. It is. A-Lex is dynamic. It includes dramatic variations in tempo, musical style, and volume. As a result, it is never boring. Every instrument is employed with abundant variation. Andreas Kisser’s guitar performances are particularly impressive. His best guitar work on the album occur when he employs simple riffs inside a heavy groove. Although this album does provide occasional surprises, it is comprised primarily of straight-forward metal that is fast, heavy, and intense. In fact, if it wasn’t for the five instrumental tracks (out of 18 tracks total), I would have had no idea that this was a concept album at all. Although the instrumentals are quite good and are strategically sequenced on the album, they sometimes do more harm than good by breaking the flow and momentum of the songs with vocals (which are faster and heavier).
The lengthiest instrumental track is dramatically different than the rest of the album. It is comprised of music composed by Beethoven and is given a (partial) metal makeover, reminiscent of the classical/metal sections of Savatage’s Dead Winter Dead album. Overall, A-Lex is a very satisfying slab of post-Max Sepultura that should appeal to those who enjoyed Dante XXI and other Derrick Green albums.
A-Lex is Sepultura’s 11th album and is due out later this month. It‘s based on Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange and A-Lex means “no law” in Russian or something like that. Now, I haven’t heard the band since Against came out but I did see them live in 2007 and they put on one hell of a show and kicked a lot of ass. Derek Green had a commanding presence on stage and new drummer Jean Donabella seemed like a worthy replacement for Igor Cavalera.
I was expecting another dull retread of past glories mixed with modern trends in the vein of Cavalera Conspiracy and the last Soulfly album but A-Lex caught me by surprise. The album has some great songs and sounds like the work of a band that had something to prove. There’s a fair mix of older sounds and newer directions and the band sounds tight and focused. There is a fair bit of the percussive tribal element from Roots, there’s also the thrashing of Schizophrenia and Beneath the Remains although that’s in the minority, there are a lot of fat grooves aka Chaos AD and there’s even some Meshuggah style dissonant chug. It all works quite well together and it’s all held together by a sterling performance from new drummer Jean Donabella.
Stand out tracks include Filthy Rot which manages to mix up some tribal sounding vocal chants with Meshuggah style riffing, The Treatment which has a lot of Chaos AD and Roots in it, Metamorphosis is a slow burning mid tempo thrasher that sounds great, Sadistic Values is the longest song on the album is a moody heavy song with a cool tempo shift halfway through and Forceful Behavior sounds as old school as anything they’ve done in a long while. There are no bad songs here. The only complaint is that at just a little less than an hour’s worth of music and 18 songs, it’s a bit long to take in one sitting and the album could have been shortened a bit. Ludwig Van is Beethoven’s 9th Symphony played by Kisser and the band and while it may have been essential to the concept and they must have had to include it, it does break the flow of the album, especially coming as it does after the aggressive and punchy old school vibe of Enough Said.The only real problem with A-Lex is that there a few too many songs on it. The second half of the album especially feels stretched out and like it may not ever end.
Having said all of that, this is a pretty good album and way better than what I was hoping for. It’s an album that’s going to grow on you the more you listen to it and it is far superior to the last Soulfly or Cavalera Conspiracy albums. It’s also remarkably free of any of the currently fashionable trends. Check it out. You just might be pleasantly surprised.
Originally written for http://www.kvltsite.com
With all the respect due to this band, Sepultura is not the same band after Max left. I know, I can be monotonous and this point has been already touched by many but the differences from the first to the second period of the long history of this band are just incredible. Actually, even with Max in the line-up we could already notice changes in the sounds, if compared to the primordial violence of the early albums. Chaos AD and Roots were representative of this choice to change direction, filling the sound with tribal influences and lots of genres coming form outside, like hardcore, groove and even a bit of industrial (a thing that Max decided to use on bigger quantity on the Nailbomb project).
Max’s influences on the band were undeniable, his image will always be related to Sepultura and now that even Igor has gone away from this band to join the brother, I think Sepultura should change the name.
I respect Paulo Jr. and Kisser (let’s remember the innovations this lead guitarist brought after Morbid Visions) but now it’s time to change. If till Dante XXI the fans could have been a bit in trouble in “choosing” the band to follow (Soulfly, Sepultura and now Cavalera Conspiracy), I think they now have the definitive occasion. However, let’s remind that few of the old school fans are still there and I consider myself one of those. I’ve decide to constantly listen to the old efforts, the real ones by Sepultura. Since Against I’ve always tried a quite logical and mature approach to this new Sepultura “version” but any time I listened to something new, my disappointment was too big. Even this time I tried a mature, objective approach to this new album A-Lex but this mission has not been accomplished.
It’s a pity because even the cover artwork was bounded to an older conception of it. The logo was like the one on Beneath the Remains and the “sculpture” in the centre reminds the ones on Chaos AD or Arise; unfortunately the music is quite distant in quality and aggression from the one on those albums. If Dante XXI was remarkable for its acceptable length, despite the quite lame music inside, the new album points on the length and on the number of the tracks. I’ve always sustained and I will always do that the perfect length for an album like this one should not surpass the forty minutes. Here, we have almost sixty minutes of music and you all know how it is difficult to maintain the same level of songwriting for the entire album. To this, let’s add the music itself (grooving hardcore) and the scenario is complete.
“A-lex I” is an intro with gloomy sounds from beyond as the first riffs come in. The distortion is quite acceptable because quite raw and pounding. For the drums we can say the same thing and so far nothing wrong. “Moloko Mesto” has a truly brutal beginning with lots of up tempo and riffs. The production on these faster parts is quite messy and the sounds melt down in a confusing progression. The stops are full of tribal and weird passages. The vocals by Derrick Green are simply not adapt for Sepultura even if they are OK for the new direction. However, I can’t stand them. “Filthy Rot” displays the very first evident groove elements, stop and go by the guitars and the artificial noises. The clean vocals parts are just terrible in their will to be ritual and tribal.
What is quite enjoyable here is the way they succeeded in creating a quite occult and dark atmosphere. “We’ve Lost You” follows more progressive and groove patterns with lots of weird passages like also “What I Do” that, by the way, is a bit more on speed. Fortunately all the tracks on this album are quite short. “A-lex II” is again groove on the second part before the heavier but always quite annoying “The Treatment”. Some good up tempo parts and more classical riffs are to appreciate but forget the stop and go. “Metamorphosis” features arpeggios and always grooving structures with slow patterns and weird sounds. The same can be said for the following, longer “Sadist Values”.
“Forceful Behaviour” has something stranger for the vocals and the riffs are always quite fast, detaching a bit from the drumming that is fast just on some sections. The return to the hyper annoying groove is called “Conform”. “A-lex III” features again dark sounds before the mid-paced overtures and the almost rap vocals on “The Experiment”. Some sections feature fast restarts but they last for few seconds and they are submerged by high doses of groove. “Strike” is always similar to the other songs with plenty of mid-paced section, groove riffs and distorted vocals. “Enough Said” contributes in raising the violence and the speed before the violins and the doomy, weird structure of “Ludwig Van” as tribute to the great composer.
“Alex IV” features calmer notes with a strange, distorted break by the middle before the faster “Paradox”, featuring thrash riffs and up tempo sections. However, they don’t forget the groove influences by the middle and we finish this album in this way. To pay homage to A Clockwork Orange, Sepultura put out another pointless release. This band should simply change name if they want to go on like this, but maybe it’s not my business. My only recommendation is to let you know that here there’s almost nothing of the old school brutality and don’t be taken in by old school oriented cover artwork. I don’t want to slander this band but this is enough, and acting like this they’ve already ruined the memories of a shining past.
However, for those who loved the more recent efforts, this one can be good for you but, old school fans, avoid A-lex.