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Album Reviews : Sepultura – A-Lex

By on February 18, 2009

When I first heard that Sepultura were going to be releasing a new album this year, I was a bit skeptical at first as I wasn’t the biggest fan of the band since their major shift with Derrick Green on vocals back in 1998.

Sure, I can admit to the band putting out some solid singles throughout the years after the departure of Max Cavelera, the bands former lead singer.

Like many other old school Sepultura fans though, I wasn’t majorly impressed in the direction the band was heading after Derrick Green joined. It seemed unthinkable for a time being that anyone could ever replace Max Cavelera.

Having said that, over the years Derrick Green has become a well respected member of the band and has bought a new found level of integrity to this well oiled machine we know as Sepultura.

Band members may have come and gone over the years (aside from bassist, Paulo Jr who is the last remaining member of the original 1984 lineup) as well as the band completely revitalizing their entire sound , but Sepultura‘s sound has far evolved from the early days of ‘Beneath the Remains‘ and ‘Arise‘, and has become an ever greater entity in the heavy metal universe.

To my surprise though the new album is quite impressive. Not only does it push new boundaries for the band, but also entails a concept which follows the story of one of my favorite book to movie adaptations of all time, ‘A Clockwork Orange‘. The title itself of the new album even makes reference to the anti hero of the story, Alex with it’s translation of a Russian expression meaning, “no law”.

To describe the new album in no more then three words would be; short, fast, loud. The majority of songs are no more then 2 – 3 minutes long, but quickly add up to almost an hour worth of material.  Not only does the new album follow Sepultura‘s traditional infectious grooves with hints of Brazilian musical influence; with songs such as ‘Filthy Rot’, ‘What I Do’ and my personal favorite ‘We’ve Lost You!’. It infuses a much darker tone which clearly sets it aside from the bands previous material.

Throughout the album we come across the track ‘A-Lex‘, which is a four part series of songs. Each song is an instrumental track and is quite clearly a reference to the original soundtrack of ‘A Clockwork Orange‘. We are overcome with dread and foreboding when each track emerges and get a glimpse of the inner workings of Alex’s mind, as we once did with the original ‘A Clockwork Orange‘ soundtrack by Wendy Carlos and various other artists.

One track I was quite surprised with, was ‘Ludwig Van’ a homage to Ludwig van Beethoven, with Sepultura‘s rendition of the ‘Ninth Symphony, Second Movement‘. Sepultura infuse a new twist to this classic masterpiece by incorporating their hallmark aggressive sound while also infusing classical elements.

At first,  I actually thought I was listening to the new Uli Jon Roth album. The beginning of the song gave off; in a sense the same vibe as ‘Under a Dark Sky‘, the new album by Uli Jon Roth.

Having said that though the song does progress and becomes a lot heavier while still maintaining a classical feel. If you’re a lover of classical music such as myself, you’ll easily appreciate this songs value.

I found the album to be very enjoyable. Each member brings a certain element of aggression and power, both lyrically and musical.

The album just seems stripped back though from any major production, as I’d clearly label it more of a garage band album then anything else. Not saying that’s a bad thing though as its clearly quite different from the bands previous work in recent years, as it also see the introduction of Sepultura‘s new drummer Jean Dollanbella.

I was quite impressed with the majority of the album, but there were moments though when my attention was taken away, yet was quickly sustained with my love for ‘A Clockwork Orange‘ and the bands rendition of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. All up ‘A-Lex‘ is a vast improvement from the bands recent releases, for me personally.

I wouldn’t consider ‘A-Lex‘ a classic album nor ground breaking, but I’m sure it will turn the heads of many new and old Sepultura fans, respectively. 7/10

For fans of: Soulfly, Machine Head, Biohazard, Nailbomb

Tracklisting:

Band: Sepultura
Album: A-Lex
Year: 2009
Genre: Groove Metal
Label: SPV/Steamhammer
Origin: Sao Paolo, Brazil
www.myspace.com/sepultura

1. A-Lex I
2. Moloko Mesto
3. Filthy Rot
4. We’ve Lost You! <- Reviewer’s Choice
5. What I Do!
6. A-Lex II
7. The Treatment
8. Metamorphosis
9. Sadistic Values
10. Forceful Behavior
11. Conform
12. A-Lex III
13. The Experiment
14. Strike
15. Enough Said
16. Ludwig Van
17. A-Lex IV
18. Paradox

About

Anwar is the editor-in-chief of Metal Obsession.net. When Anwar isn't busy promoting tours, interviewing bands and reviewing awesome music, he loves to collect metal vinyl and play video games. Follow Metal Obsession on Twitter and Facebook