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Satisfying and Highly Dynamic Metal - 88%

halfassed, January 27th, 2009

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.