Sepultura, ‘Machine Messiah’ – Album Review
For more than three decades, Sepultura have been flying the flag for Brazilian metal. Machine Messiah is their 14th studio album, and the eighth of the Derrick Green era. This time around they worked with producer Jens Bogren (Opeth, Kreator).
As to what inspired the lyrical theme for the album, guitarist Andreas Kisser says, “The main inspiration around Machine Messiah is the robotization of our society nowadays. The concept of a God Machine who created humanity and now it seems that this cycle is closing itself, returning to the starting point. We came from machines and we are going back to where we came from. The messiah, when he returns, will be a robot, or a humanoid, our bio-mechanical savior.”
Sepultura have always explored a lot of different styles and genres, and that trend continues on Machine Messiah. They throw a bit of a curveball with the album opening title track. Instead of blasting out of the gate, they stroll slowly, easing into things with a mellow intro and reserved melodic vocals from Green. The song does eventually kick in and incorporate potent growls.
The second track “I Am The Enemy” would have been the obvious choice for an opener, a ripper with galloping riffs, passionate vocals and a run time just over two minutes. Throughout the album, Sepultura shift from straightforward old-school grooves to more progressive and experimental compositions.
One thing that doesn't change is Kisser's skillful guitar work. Whether he's blazing along at maximum velocity or exploring progressive territory, it's creative and flawlessly played. Songs like “Alethea”and the instrumental “Iceberg Dances” that incorporates acoustic parts really showcase his chops. This is drummer Eloy Casagrande's second album with Sepultura, and he has stepped up his game this time around.
When it comes to Green's performance on the album, Kisser praises his bandmate: “We talk about everything a lot, especially when it comes to the lyrics and finding the best way to express what we want to say. Derrick did his best job on this record. His voice sounds amazing and he can really sing! He really took over the lyrical part this time, too.”
The cinematic “Sworn Oath” has Green's harsh vocals front and center, while “Vandals Nest” features some excellent singing along with his growls. The closing track “Cyber God” incorporates a plethora of vocal styles and metallic grooves.
While there are some epic moments on Machine Messiah, it's relatively streamlined at 47 minutes. The disc is a step up from 2013's The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart, and it is one of Sepultura's best releases during Green's time with the band.
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