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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sepultura - Dante XXI, 22 May 2006
By 
This review is from: Dante Xxi (Audio CD)
`Dante XXI` is SEPULTURA's 4th offering since their fallout with figurehead Max Cavalera back in the late 1990's. The album follows 2003's `Roorback`, a strong record that showed SEPULTURA still had something left in the locker. The question is, can SEPULTURA keep up the good form?

`Dante XXI' is a concept albuminfluenced by the epic poetic masterpiece "The Divine Comedy" written by Italian author Dante Alighieri in the early 14th Century. The three main components of "The Divine Comedy" are Dante's descriptions of Hell, Purgatory and Paradise.

The frist 2 tracks act pretty much as an intro. The 1st is actually called `Intro` while the second track `Dark Wood of Error' comes in at under 2 minutes, most of which are fileld by a powerful drum intro from Igor Cavalera. The first real track is `Convicted in Life', a scorching thrasher to set the ball rolling style, a blueprint follwed by next song `City of Dis'.

News has recently spread that there would be orchestration on the album, certainly a first for SEPULTURA. Although prominent in the 3 `intros' on the album, the first hint of orchestration in a fully fledged song is on 5th cut `False` before it is used to wonderful effect on the album's strongest moment `Ostia'. This one may not sound too much like the SEPULTURA we know, but the orchestration is used delicately and adds a great feel to a great song.

Stuck in between the 2 aforementioned tracks is another standout. `Fighting On' is a straight ahead thrasher, but has a strong chrous to boot and acts as a new anthem for SEPULTURA who quite rightly are still fighting on despite all the bad press they have recieved since the departure of Cavalera.

`Buried Words' and `Nuclear Seven` are the highlights of the 2nd half, with the latter having the nihilistic feeling so brilliantly pulled off in the band's early days, along with similar thrash pioneers SLAYER.

Hardly worthy of mention is the albums closing number `Still Flame' which is 99% instrumental, 99% soft and unfortunately a 99% poor end to what was otherwise a tremendous album.

SEPULTURA have now reached their Derek Green era peak. `Dante XXI' is overall a very good album and matches the qualities shown on `Roorback`, whilst taking the sound of SEPULTURA to new avenues along the way.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece, 8 Mar 2006
This review is from: Dante Xxi (Audio CD)
Did you like Roorback? Did you hate Nation? Did you care for Against? Was Roots an abomination?
Regardless of what you answer on these questions, a new Sepultura album always deserves a chance. Sepultura have the strong tendency to evolve within the areas of heavy music. From their death metal beginnings, soon adopting a thrash sound, on to experiencing with more hardcore and some groove, on the edge of nu-metal with Roots, swaying away from that to an underground fusion of metal and hardcore on Against to more experiments with Nation. Shorter, more simple and heavier on Roorback. So what's the next step taken?
I don't like to compare Sepultura's albums to each other because it's virtually impossible due to the difference in genres throughout their career. But if I have to describe Dante XXI in terms of previous Sepultura albums I say this: Take a basis of Chaos AD, add some of the best elements of Nation and Roorback to that, then add some thrash that falls somewhere in between 1991 and 1993: thrashier than Chaos AD, but not really like Arise. When you're thinking that we have a nice mixture here... also add some total fresh new elements - horns and strings on less than half of the songs.
After the intro, Sepultura kick into Dark Wood of Error, and one thing becomes clear: No compromise. In a Meshuggah-ish intro of palm-muted riffs and double-bass kicks it becomes clear that Sepultura are not going to hold back this time. The clear and raw production is a true danger to your ears and the whole album sounds way heavier than Roorback or Nation. After almost two third of the song Dark Wood of Error kicks into some pure thrash. Raging vocals by Derrick Green, who once again expanded his versatilty, sounding different on almost every song, adapting his aggressive (and sometime more or less melodic) roar to the atmosphere of every song. No clean vocals on this disc except for some background vocals to enhance the atmoshpere of darkness.
Next up is Convicted in Life wich is an ideal song to be played live, reminding me of Slave New World when I hear the main riff accompanied by the typical Igor drum pattern. But it doesn't stay there, it goes way faster than anything on Chaos AD (except Biotech, but hey, that's hardcore, not thrash) and after the first two songs we can conclude that Andreas rediscovered the palm-muting technique again.
City of Dis feautures this palm-muted riff with the enormous double-bass under it that reminds of Propaganda. False has this kind of punk-thrash vibe before kicking in to an omnious slow, palm-muted riff accompanied by some dissonant strings. Awesome.
Fighting On begins with a soft intro.. of a few seconds, then a huge and heavy (doomy perhaps) riff enters, and it is clear that Sepultura mean business. No time to rest - we keep fighting on. Literally.
A second intro, this time of classic instuments starts as we enter Purgatory (Yes, we just travelled through Hell, ask your ears), and once Ostia kicks in, you will know that this will be an epic song of unsurpassed magnitude. A great riff by Andreas, while Derrick roars "The Skies Are Open Before Me! The Crowd Of Souls In Sudden Flight!" What an epic. What a heavyness, what a lyrics, what a song. After a middle part of now and then an chord strummed by Andreas, some cellos and a piano (?), the volumes rise again, the main riffs kicks in while Derrick screams "Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeell!". You know that this is how it's supossed to be done.
Buried Words doesn't let down, especially the chorus, with Derricks rasping (is that a word?) vocals. Another highlight on the album of highlights is Nuclear Seven. A great atmosphere is created by Andreas' riffing and Derricks melodic roars doubled by some very low vocals.
repeating the Horror sees Derrick in the end peforming alone with the drums, he screams at the top of his lungs, higher than we're used to, wich creates an eerie atmposphere that perfectly transmits the title 'Repeating the Horror', not intended to be liked by your ears.
Crown and Miter is a fast song, with Derrick showing his versatality by perfectly adapting his voice to the type of song.
As the last song we have Still Flame, wich is an experiment. Probably not liked by everybody, but hey, it's the last song, let them. Imagine a crossing between Sepultura and Massive Attack, and you got it. Some beats accompanied by the guitar, and in the end also some strings, building it up to an epic end where Derrick roars the song title along before the track suddenly ends at its high point. A perfect show intro as far as I'm concerned. I imagine this as the intro tape, and as it ends Sepultura kick into Dark Wood of Error/Convicted in Life.
Andreas does some kickass leads, rediscoveres palm-muting and churns loads of kickass riffs. Igor holds back on the flashy drumming a bit and gives us some more straight-forward thrash drumming with a lot of double bass throughout the album. Paulo as always puts some accents here and there. And Derrick really shines here. Staying within the boundaries of screaming/roaring he uses a great variety of different types of roars wich absolutely degrades the next metalcore Phil Anslemo or Max Cavalera wannabe to a pile of dust.
All in all..
A great album. Those who don't like Sepultura anymore since Arise or Chaos AD or Roots or Against or Nation or Roorback should all defenitaly try this one, because its once again fresh. More metal, more thrash, better solos, and a bit less simple than Roorback.
An amazing album by Sepultura - featuring some classics that are easily on par with any of the earlier classic songs.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An upraised fist of an album, 26 Mar 2006
By 
Monkey God (portsmouth, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dante Xxi (Audio CD)
On this album, Derrick sings with all the power and passion that you would expect of Sepultura at their best.
An interpretation of Dante's Divine Comedy, this album takes us on a journey through the depths of hell, and then upwards, to climb the mountain of purgatory, and finally ascend to heaven.
It is a marvellous representation of alienation, and the fact that Catholicism (and Government) gives us a peculiar way of internalising our own pain, and casting us into hopelessness and despair, so that we might conform all the more.
It is a death cry and a cry of hope, heavy at times, uplifting at others, melancholic and an upraised fist of an album. It has all the stuff that makes Sepultura so unique. It has chunky riffage, samba-style drumming and double-bass pedals, orchestras, weird intro's, soaring guitar solos, compelling lyrics. Do not miss out on this - in my opinion one of their best albums to date. It is not as cutting-edge as Roots, but it is more mature and insightful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sepultura's return to great, brutal, metal, 18 Mar 2006
This review is from: Dante Xxi (Audio CD)
Most of sepulturas stuff post chaos ad hasn't really been to my liking. Most of the stuff since post max era seps has been mediocre, I've still listened to it and liked it, but there was always some kind of lacking I found.
This record however, combines a bit of all sepultura work, with a great sense of musicianship appearing, with all of the songs flowing very nicely together, without sounding similar. I find that there are also no filler songs to bump up the record time as well; each one having a nice unique, heavy feel to it. All the records have a kind of thrashy feel to it, but don't be expecting arise style songs.
I said earlier how igor has been becoming an even better drummer over the last 10 years. Well, this record shows the brazilian madman continues to improve. Hardcore sepultura fans will easily be able to tell his trademark bass drumming, but he also places some really good fills here and there. There is also andreas work, which has some great solo work (unlike the last few records, where he would just play with the tremolo). Some of the riffs are plain out amazing, with a good mix of ringing and palm muting picking used. Derreck as a vocalist continues to impress me as well. Although his shouting can sound slightly hardcore at times, the aggression and brute force of it can rival any thrash metal vocalist, past or present. There is a huge originality seen in his voice, just take the second track, dark wood of error.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dante XXi, 18 April 2006
This review is from: Dante Xxi (Audio CD)
First off, yes, thank goodness, Sepultura's latest effort DOES see the band return to a sound you can truely call METAL; it far surpasses everything produced in the last few years or so.

First single Convicted in Life is an instant standout with an introduction of speedy drumming and then a huge riff & some great roaring vocals. This pretty much sets the tone for the whole album, but displays it the best.

And that's the thing; all the other tracks definitely are good metal songs; simple yet brutal, and with tracks like Buried Words and City of Dis this is hardly an album you can knock... but for me there's something missing... that one extra something that keeps Dante XXi just a few too many steps away from greatness; it hasn't got the edge that Chaos AD or Roots had and it's just a little hard to see Sepultura ever being at the top as one of the most notorious names in metal ever again.

A good come-back, but never a classic/masterpiece.

NEVERTHELESS! a good album the whole way through and worth any Sepultura fan's money.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I´m so surprised!, 21 Mar 2006
This review is from: Dante Xxi (Audio CD)
Sepultura is back for good!!! After releasing three unsuccesful, though decent albumns, Sepultura has finally made it. Dante XXI is a brutal yet extremely creative album with influence taken from Dante´s Inferno. We´re living on the 21st century and yet Sepultura manage to produce something quite unique in the self repeating metal world. A definitive must for all the fans of new AND old Sepultura fans!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another step forward for the mighty Sepultura!, 29 Mar 2007
This review is from: Dante Xxi (Audio CD)
Dante XXI

What a fantastic album! A huge achievement by a band that continues to produce excellent music despite a huge amount of criticism from fans of Cavalera-era Sepultura.

It's surprising that people can't get over the fact that Max Cavalera left a whole decade ago. Since then Sep have moved on and I doubt they would have made Dante XXI had Max still been at the helm. Frankly, bands should be applauded for pushing the boundaries of themselves and their fans. If you follow a band, it's sometimes worth having a little faith in them, I feel. I guess we fall in love with a band after hearing a couple of albums and that those albums become the band. But the band themselves have a totally different perspective! The music they produce is a product of the dynamics of the members of the band, their abilities, relative strengths, experience, musical preferences etcetera. All of these factors can change over time; indeed SHOULD change over time. Hence, aspects of Sep's music have changed also. How sad would it be to say that Sepultura had learnt nothing new in the last 10 years? That their music had been influenced by nothing that has happened to them? Why would anyone want them to keep copying the sound of their earlier work? Would you really want Sepultura to just regurgitate Arise and Chaos AD tracks? Wouldn't that just put them on a par with bands like Status Quo? How utterly tragic that would be.

When playing live, they play a huge number of older songs because they know we want to hear them too. So, if you want older stuff, don't expect it on a new album - go see them live. They're better live than on a disc any day!

Dante XXI is certainly more consistently thrashy than their other post-Cavalera output. (So, if you've been missing that aspect of Sepultura: here it is!) Green's vocals are awesome; there are terrific riffs and fantastic rhythm. It's hard to pick a favourite, but if pressed, I'd recommend you listen to 'Fighting On' - and turn it up VERY LOUD!

With Dante XXI, Sepultura continue to successfully broaden the musical boundaries of both themselves and their fans.

So, set aside your preconceptions and give this album a good listen - you'll love it.
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Dante XXI
Dante XXI by Sepultura
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