Sepultura at the Academy, Dublin, 4th February 2014
Brazilian metal legends Sepultura are one of those bands that raise the ship of Theseus paradox. In other words, how many of the original line-up can depart a band before it’s no longer the same group? But even if both founding brothers Max and Igor Cavalera have moved on to other projects, this hasn’t slowed Sepultura down.
Their wild, aggressive sound – equal parts death and thrash metal, with just a pinch of groovy Brazilian percussion that leaves their songs far catchier than music this heavy should be – remains alive and well. American lead singer Derrick Green is a huge stage presence with an even bigger voice, bouncing non-stop on his toes with boxer-like poise throughout, as Sepultura unleashed a brutal avalanche of pummelling noise upon the audience.
Fortunately, the Academy had been warmed up for this level of auditory fury by two home-grown death metal acts: Killface and Warpath. Both bands took the opportunity to road test some new material, showcasing themselves as ones to watch out for in the future. Warpath in particular pushed the venue’s sound system right to the limit with their furious guttural vocals and leviathan drumming.
Sepultura fire the first cannon-shot of their set with the blistering Trauma of War from new album ‘The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart’ (a not-quite concept album that takes its name from Fritz Lang’s 1927 German expressionist sci-fi masterpiece ‘Metropolis’).
After an obligatory opening barrage of newer material, Sepultura move back to the Max Cavalera-fronted era tracks, particularly drawing from the career defining ‘Chaos AD’ and ‘Roots’ albums. Following the 20th anniversary of ‘Chaos AD’, the band have added their cover of New Model Army’s The Hunt to their live shows, injecting the punk song with the requisite amount of heavy metal ferocity to make it sit comfortably in the within their set.
The fact that Sepultura seem genuinely buzzed to be in Dublin may have had something to do with the fact that more than a few Brazilian ex-pats had turned out to see their countrymen, as evidenced by the flags and the distinctive yellow of the Brazilian football jerseys that dotted the venue.
Green thanked these fans directly in Portuguese before dedicating the samba-metal fusion of Ratamahatta to them. This segues into a resounding finale of Roots Bloody Roots that had the entire venue almost drowning out Green’s muscular vocals while roaring along to the chorus.
Not only do Sepultura deliver everything their enthusiasts deserve, they manage it despite lacking both of the Cavalera brothers. It may have been a fairly by the numbers show, but for fans of the Brazilian metal veterans it didn’t disappoint.
Sepultura Photo Gallery
Photos: Yan Boruke