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Underrated and Underappreciated - 80%

corviderrant, February 27th, 2007

So sue me, I'm open minded. While everybody else thinks that Sepultura effectively died after "Arise" (a classic album of theirs, I agree), some folks are being unfair to this album. This was, for me anyway, the last gasp of Sepultura as a thrash-oriented band before they went into nu-metal/fellating Ross Robinson mode, and instead of a gasp it's more a final bellow of defiance, if you ask me.

Yes, they began incorporating the tribal elements more, yes, they slowed down the tempos more, but there is still plenty of aggression to be found here, plenty of speed still. The title track is one of the slower ones, but to me it reeks of attitude, and is a statement of "Hey, get off your ass and do something! Don't let 'em grind you down!", and likewise for "Territory", which is powerful and solid, a good strong headbanging groove. The latter also features a sweet little otherworldly solo break from the underrated Andreas Kisser.

"Nomad" brings the groove some more, as does the only other throwaway track here, "We Who Are Not As Others"--I could've done without that one even years after the fact. And "Manifest" is an abrasive and lurching industrial-flavored track with screeching atonal guitar parts and distorted spoken vocals that I still think is quite creepy. But there's still lots of speed and aggression, as I already mentioned; "Biotech is Godzilla" is a frenzied heads-down charge through hardcore punk territory, and "Slave New World", while not thrash per se, delivers a slamming up-tempo jolt as well. The New Model Army cover is pretty close to the original, actually, but tuned down a little lower and with Max' guttural yelling instead of Justin Sullivan's smooth and passionate baritone, and while it's not essential to the album I like it anyway because it shows they have good taste in music other than metal, for one thing.

Their sociopolitical commentary became even more pronounced on this album too, with songs like "Manifest", an account of a Brazilian prison riot fuelled by police brutality, and "Biotech is Godzilla" which ends with the inflammatory statement "Biotech...is AIDS!" in case anybody was wondering. "Nomad" speaks of indigenous tribal peoples being sold out and ripped off by the "civilized" world as imperialism continues to this day, and the brief break of tribal chanting and percussion near the end is haunting. "Kaiowas", while intriguing, is another throwaway ultimately as it really doesn't do anything for the album's pacing or atmosphere.

In the long run, this album holds up well enough to count as a good effort that showed Sepultura still had the potential to rouse the punters. I still like it just fine, myself, and I'd encourage people to at least give it a chance and be open minded about it before trashing it.