In February 2020, Sepultura released one of their strongest albums in years, Quadra. Then the world shut down, leaving the band unable to go out and support the album as originally planned. Faced with the downtime, the band decided to ask some friends and fellow musicians to collaborate on re-recordings of material spanning the majority of their almost 40-year career.
The songs were released on YouTube in a series of videos and are now presented here, newly mixed and mastered by Conrado Ruther. Beautiful artwork by Eduardo Recife accompanies the release. While some notable musicians are present, their additions don’t necessarily add anything to these songs to make them stand out. There are some exceptions. Devin Townsend adds his unique character with a fantastic guitar solo and vocals to Mask (originally from 2011s Kairos). Rafael Bittencourt of the band Angra provides a beautiful counterpoint to guitarist Andreas Kisser for a version of Kaiowas (originally from 1993s Chaos A.D.). It’s also great to hear Phil Campbell playing lead guitar on Orgasmatron. Sepultura originally covered the Motörhead song on the B-side of the single for 1991s Dead Embryonic Cells. The real star of the whole record is drummer Eloy Casagrande. Since his addition, he has elevated their live performances and studio work. The energy and bombast he adds here continue to be infectious. Seven of the tracks here are from the Max Cavalera-led era of the band. Vocalist Derrick Green does one of the best performances I’ve heard from him on these older tracks. More importantly, it’s great to have a fresh take on the material post-1997 that he’s been a part of up to this point. Fans that have disregarded some of this material may be surprised to hear it in this context with the older songs. While I will admit, I also have great nostalgia for Sepultura’s older work, this album shows the band has succeeded in composing some exceptional material over the last twenty-odd years.
Whether or not the guest musicians bring something that stands out, there is a sense they were having fun and showing their appreciation for the material. It makes the album a fun listen for fans but hearing these versions of the songs shows that the real stars of this album are Sepultura themselves.
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