16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Kairos reveals a particularly direct Sepultura: two songs in and you know where you're at with it. Perhaps the only problem with the last two releases from the band was how overcrowded they were. Kairos has no such problems: at 45 minutes and 11 tracks (excluding interludes) it's a lean, muscular and fat-free effort. If it were a human body it'd be Jimmy `Superfly' Snuka's.
It's hard to say by whom I'm most impressed on this latest record. Two albums in and Jean Dolabella has already surpassed the increasingly disinterested Igor Cavalera in terms of what drumming means in Sepultura in the 21st Century, though on this record his playing shares less in common with Cavalera's than it did on 2009's A-Lex. If anything, his style of filling could best be likened to Dave Lombardo's idiosyncratic rhythmic mannerisms, but really he has a great enough identity all his own. His playing is restrained, yes, but all the more forceful for it: you can tell he's thought about every moment of every track in great, great detail. This is a thoughtful performance through and through, and he is a master of his instrument and one of the most controlled, assured players in modern drumming. Kisser too turns in his best performance in years, with his riffs, solos and arrangements subtler and heavier than you may have learned to expect. Having released his admirable solo outing Hubris between this and the last Seps album, the impression emerges that this is a distilled record, a collection of all of the best ideas and none of the experimentation, none of that jammery that other Sepultura albums have had. You get the feeling on Kairos that it was a record that came together very easily. Sometimes things are just right.
And then there's Derrick. Green has never sounded better, neither with Sepultura or in his assorted extracurricular activities with Musica Diabolos or in his RHCP-alike Outface days. His voice is at its most varied, and its most commanding. It could be argued that he is the true star of Kairos, and this is the album that ought to make people take notice of him for what he can offer without, for once, comparing him to what they'd rather he sounded like.
Producer Roy Z is owed no little praise for his efforts here. Not only has he imbued in Kairos a comparably contemporary sound (something arguably lacking since Roots) but he's shaped the band into a unit of improved precision. I can say without doubt that he's got the best out of the band and if they don't collaborate with him again I'd be disappointed.
If I have one complaint it is this: the cover of Ministry's "Just One Fix" has no place on this album, least of all jammed right in the middle of it. Type O Negative aside, covers in the tracklist always said to me that the band wasn't confident enough in their own material, which given the specifics here is ludicrous: this album is, without doubt, the most confident Sepultura album ever recorded. If it weren't for that one track it would be close to perfection.
Album highlights include the opening pair of "Spectrum " (a slow building groover) and "Kairos" (menace incarnate), some unexpected blasting on "Mask" and a fairly impressive (and again, unexpected) timing arrangement on "Embrace The Storm". From "Born Strong" to "Dialog" and beyond, there's not a weak track on here, and each treads the line between expert modern metal and that distinct Sepultura style with passion and grace.
"Structure Violence" is also worth a particular mention. Though it's a mostly electronic track with sparse vocals, thankfully it's not a misadvised trek through unfamiliar territory but a densely layered exploration of what the band would sound like with a smattering of samples and a dominant keyboard track thrown into their already (and historically) varied metal melting pot. It's an exciting way to close an album that steadfastedly rejects retrospection in an era for metal when's that's so common it's almost expected (not least for this band, whose anniversary has seen them beset with reunion queries in just about every promotional interview for the last year).
I've felt for a while that Sepultura was ready to break free from this almost underground status they've had forced on them over the past few years. Since 2003's Roorback they've not hit a sour note and with their recent signing to Nuclear Blast and an impending high-profile tour with Machine Head, not to mention this monstrous, proof-positive album, I can see things changing for the band in terms of public perception and ultimately an increase in general acceptance amongst the notoriously fickle metal community. If you've been waiting for an opportunity to give this band a chance since the big split in 1997, Kairos is where you want to be. Give it a go and be surprised at least, thrilled at best. This is the one to beat for Sepultura, and for everyone else in 2011.
1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 2 July 2011
This has got grooves, riffs and solos that are what this kind of music is all about. Where there are so many silly metal bands, its great to hear this very important and still relevant band making an album this good. Vocals are sounding great, both bass and drums are tight as you would expect.Shame about the song and album cover.