was the beginning of what I like to call the "Sepultura in Name Only" era. Max Cavalera had left the band following the death of his stepson and a dispute with the band, and soon formed Soulfly
. Replacing Max is punk vocalist Derrick Green, with members Igor Cavalera, Andreas Kisser and Paulo Jr. remaining. If you don't look at this as a Sepultura album, there are some impressive moments to be found here.
Continuing where Roots
left off, Against
is the most hardcore punk-influenced of Sepultura's discography. As opposed to the Brazilian tribal experimentation of the previous LP, some of the more interesting moments on Against
turn up in the form of elements influenced by the music of Japan -- once again with emphasis on the vocalization and percussion of these musical styles, with, again, a strong focus on politically-oriented lyrics.
Beginning the album is the hardcore punk-influenced title track. "Old Earth" fuses groove metal with tribal influences. "Floaters in Mud" opens with Taiko drumming before fading into groove, crossing into thrash, into world music, and back to groove again. "Tribus" is largely percussion-oriented. "Common Bonds" begins with a strong focus on percussion, crosses into groove before jumping firmly into hardcore territory. Ratos de Porão vocalist João Gordo turns up on "Reza". "Kamaitachi" incorporates flute melodies and the performance of Japanese Taiko group Kodo. Metallica
's Jason Newsted appears on "Hatred Aside". The violin-fused "T3rcermillennium" concludes the album.
While some listeners might be tempted to disregard Against
simply because of Cavalera's departure, I have to say that it's not nearly as bad as you might think. While it is not as good as Sepultura's best albums, such as Chaos A.D.
or Beneath the Remains
, it is as intriguing as Roots
, and it does turn up some worthy moments. Against
is a flawed album, no doubt -- the production here is not as good as that of Roots
, and some of the headbangers don't seem nearly as interesting as the group's interest in world music, but if you found Roots
interesting, you might feel the same way about this one. Green is a strong vocalist, even if he doesn't have the leadership skills that Cavalera had (this is apparent by listening to Nation
, which is quite poor).
is fairly inoffensive. It is not the disaster that I had feared, and it actually does contain some interesting moments. There are far better albums in Sepultura's discography, but it's not the worst album the band has put out.