Review Summary: Heavy enough that drops of lead cling to each and every song…
Following the highly successful ‘Arise’, 1993’s thrash fans witnessed Sepultura experimenting with their well-established sound and delving ever-deeper into their roots. Dabbling with a more traditional sounding Brazilian tribal influence, Chaos A.D. features some incredibly thematic instrumentation and inspired song-writing. Not ones to forget their humble beginnings, and in a move that might seem cliché for other bands but is perfectly natural here; Chaos A.D embraces a strong tribal influence which harkens back to the Brazilian ethnicity of the band members. From the excellent drumming to the atmospheric lyrics dealing with subject matter very close to home for the band members, this album is an obvious tribute to the country and people that made them who they are. Now from this information you might be expecting some patriotic lyrics and glowing positivity with all of thrash’s enthusiasm, but you’d be dead wrong.
Now that Brazil’s forgotten underbelly has a voice that screams to be heard over the oppressive blanket of politics, and a conflict inducing rhythm pushing it onwards, nothing is going to stop the machine of truth. The way these thrash metal legends have decided to pay back their country of origin is by exposing the horrific and inhumane acts that have been inflicted on the innocent. Yes, this is a political stand! This album is a protest! A protective shield and a spear head. The country that shaped these musicians had some truly disturbing secrets buried in it’s past, left untold until now. Secrets that have made the entire band seethe with an intense rage previously unseen. Pretty strong inspiration.
Throughout the album, examples of this concept of anti-government, awareness-raising exposure are everywhere. From the very beginning of ‘Refuse/Resist’, (the very title invokes thoughts of lashing out against control and confinement), Max’s rage is evident. The drumming is urgent and sounds suspiciously similar to ‘war drumming’ patterns. The guitars are in a frenzy, and the bass sounds low and ominous, building a sense of impending violence that extends beyond that of the warring drum beats and guitar attacks. What is obviously the centrepiece of this all-out attack are Max’s harsh, screamed lyrics which paint a picture from innocent blood, depicting his disgust at the Brazilian government, at the corruption. The entire song, from title to content, is a rally for rebellion, and no other track could do a better job at opening this disc.
The rest of the record follows a similar theme, albeit in differing levels of intensity and myriad diverse musical techniques and song structures. The most intriguing part of the entire process is the inclusion of heavily Brazilian-influenced tribal instrumentation, particularly with the drums. This aids in making the attack seem like an organized rebellion which includes the entire Brazilian population against a common enemy. A clever and effective method creating an “us against them” mentality. The best example of this tribal influence is on the acoustic track ‘Kaiowas’ between the sampled sounds of seagulls screeching during the songs inception to the heavy drumming pattern and melodic acoustic guitar strumming throughout, it is a refreshing break before the chaos once again reigns supreme. Even the tracks name is derived from a tribe that resided in the forests of Brazil and committed a mass suicide as a protest against the government that attempted to steal their rights of land ownership.
This disc is laced in tribal drumming and archaic sounding vocal delivery, making the album feel even rawer and darker than would be possible otherwise. Even the guitars have a very…interesting sound to them, one of a bucolic production. It really is the perfect vessel for the message that is supposed to be conveyed on this album. The album lacks the crisp, hospital level sterile production level that many albums have, opting for a more primitive style that compliments the music uncannily well.
The ever-present bass guitar builds the ominous mood on every track. There is always an underlying and unpredictable sense of violence, even in the slower parts of songs like ‘Propaganda’. Max’s lyrics, while simplistic, are insightful and descriptive. Far from taking away from the impact, the simple lyrics deepen the emotion that Max seeks to convey with his powerful vocals. The guitar work is exceptionally heavy and each and every track pounds its way through your eardrums. Ranging in length from under 2 minutes to the 5 minute mark, the tracks deliver their fast paced and unforgettable messages in a blur of speed and power. A large portion of the songs rely on catchy and powerful single word or single lined sentences repeated a few times in the form of a small chant. While simplistic, one cannot argue with the effectiveness of such a technique, particularly on tracks such as; ‘Biotech is Godzilla’, ‘Nomad’ and ‘Refuse/Resist’.
Despite any personal views a listener may have on the subject matter, the music speaks for itself. This piece of thrash art is the collective intensity collected from the aversion from a group of hate filled musicians. 12 tracks of pure repugnance infused with beautifully crafted musical masterpieces. What a stunning combination.
*Biotech is Godzilla
Add this stunning example of thrash history to your collection for its unbridled hate and inspired concept. If you enjoy some tribal influences there are a plethora of instances throughout this album that are undoubtedly enjoyable.