Review Summary: Less Thrash, more Change.
Review: Sepultura, Chaos A.D.(1993)
Less Thrash, more Change.
A distant beat gets closer and closer throughout the opening seconds of a song. A heavy riff explodes. And...Tribal drums!?! What on earth has happened to Sepultura? They changed for the better,that's what.
Yes, as fans of Sepultura back in 1993 will tell you, Sepultura seemed to have a major shift in sound from the excellent thrash tendencies of Arise, to the much more tribal approach of Chaos A.D., finally using background influence, courtesy of genuine Brazilian instruments. Of course, society, protests and misuse of technology was the recurring theme for Chaos A.D.
That's not to say that this album didn't match up to the likes of Beneath the Remains or Arise. Chaos A.D. did just that, and much, much more,thankfully. 1993 was a year in which thrash metal had either lost its brutal force, or had been taken over by the masterful empire of a genre once called Grunge, but some bands, such as Sepultura, were about to die fighting, if they ever did die,that is.
The obvious mastermind behind Sepultura is Max Cavalera, now well known for his Post-Sepultura act, Soulfly, and sometime later, a collaboration with his brother, Iggor Cavalera, forming the even more brutal, Cavalera Conspiracy. But let's not forget the other members of the Sepultura of 1993. Iggor Cavalera's use of Brazilian percussion and his very own drum style helped to mould the new Sepultura, that would make more and more use of this in later releases, without the aid of Max Cavalera. Andreas Kisser makes for a great rhythm guitarist and Paulo Jr. thunders along with his bass, making for a unique style of metal.
Onto the songs then, and whilst the previous part of the review makes it obvious this album is something special indeed, the songs themselves are in no way remnants of Sepultura's past. We have the MTV hits Refuse/Resist, Territory and Slave New World, blasting out of the speakers as loud as possible, before a journey into a different style sees Sepultura using some echoed vocals, acting as a narrative, before a thundering collection of guitars, bass and drums reveals the true art of the new Sepultura, aided by Amen.
Not everything here is as brutal as, say, 'Biotech is Godzilla'. Kaiowas discovers completely new ground, with some Brazillian percussion and acoustic guitars being mixed in with a seemingly melodic atmosphere, helped out with the use of tribal instruments. What is even more interesting is that this song was recorded live in a medieval castle in Chepstow. Could they get any more interesting? Of course they could.
The content, as mentioned before, is mostly concentrating on protesting riots and war, with a brief introduction to the mishandling of biotechnology. Aptly titled Refuse/Resist focusses on riots and protests, and if anyone has seen the live MTV version of Sepultura playing this song, you can see a direct link between the fans and the meaning of the lyrical content. Biotech is Godzilla, once again, is obvious that this isn't going to be the nice melodic instrumental that Kaiowas was, instead clocking in as the shortest song on the album at 1:42 minutes long. And Cavalera roars insanely throughout.
We who are not as others displays a unique song title, obviously referring to the differences between races, tribes, even the fine line between politicians and rioters. This is further explained by the incoherent laughing used right at the end. Sepultura really have outdone themselves this time, haven't they?
I could go through every other meaningful song on the album, but I would basically be going back to the fact that Sepultura had changed by this time for the better. Unfortunately, for me, they wouldn't even touch the quality or indeed the impact that this album had, on later releases, but that's not to say that the album hasn't lost its touch ever since its release. In fact,it has probably grown on a bigger and bigger population of musical fans throughout its aftermath. Buy with an open mind if you have listened to Sepultura releases prior to the release of Chaos A.D. If not, prepare for some truly generic metal,partly crafted from the heart of Brazilian civilization. Chaos A.D. Indeed...