This is quite easily Sepultura’s best album in a really long time. Sure, I’ve enjoyed the last 3 but nowhere near as much as this one. Perhaps is has to do with the quartering up of the album and that they’ve got 4 distinct transitions of style to go with the theme of 4, which they explain better than I could, so feel free to read up on that on your own.
The album starts up with the first single, and it’s definitely in the vein of Sepultura from 30 years ago. “Isolation” is fast, aggressive and as thrashy as they’ve ever been. While it builds up slowly with a choral and orchestral feel to it, once the slow heavy drumming steps up to become manic, the guitars and rapidly spat out vocals contain as much venom as ever, but with subtle hints at melody before going even faster and having a lead break over blast beats.
On his third album now, Eloy Casagrande has certainly been let off the leash and his flair and dynamic tribal rhythms come to the fore on “Means To An End”, just before heading straight back into simple but full on attack mode.
Keeping the tempo high with fast footwork, “Last Time” also has Derrick Green showing a range of vocals abilities, from low death growls to higher pitched roars and deep nearly clean crooning whispers after Andreas Kisser’s well placed lead break.
Slow and deliberate drum pounding gives “Capital Enslavement” a mid-90s feel, as do the heavier but slower guitar rhythms interspersed with Paulo Jr.’s buzzing bass and the squealing guitar bends and false harmonics.
The guitars may be going at full pelt, but the drumming on “Ali” is almost half the pace for the majority of the song, and this give it a heavier feel but still allows the guitars to chop and change rhythmic riffs without disturbing the overall feel.
“Raging Void” is mid-tempoed, with the guitars matching the drum pace until the chorus where the soaring vocals and lighter melody take the song down a different track before returning to the original riffing for the verse.
Acoustic guitars and drums usher in a gentle choir before the distortion kicks in, upping the pace and then aggression as the vocals join in, before the “Guardians Of Earth” choral chorus mellows it out once more and lets Andreas’s majestic lead truly shine.
A couple of catchy guitar riffs are played over varied drum rolls and rhythms before plenty of lead breaks are thrown into the mix during the instrumental “The Pentagram”, giving the song an ever changing quality that keeps you listening attentively.
Flicking between mellow and melodic then furiously fast and back, “Autem” is an interesting one because it also conveys the emotions in the vocals to match the musical background.
The short instrumental title track “Quadra” leads us to the mellow outro of the album starting with “Agony Of Defeat” where the light rumble of bass is the heaviest thing in the song, as Derrick’s clean vocals are all anguished as the guitars follow the steady drum rhythm and violins and choir fill out the sound when the kick drums come into full effect.
They end the album with “Fear; Pain; Chaos; Suffering”, where unfortunately I am unable to tell you who sang the female vocals, but they work wonderfully as a contrast to Derrick’s, but it’s really Andreas’s lead that elevates the song as the gentle pace driving the stomping rhythm home fades out.
Definitely a mature album, but not lacking in energy, aggression or melody at all. Making the reason it’s been all I’ve listened to for the last week easily understandable and non-problematic at all.
(8/10 Marco Gaminara)