Sepultura is a name in its own right; ask any metal fan about a Brazilian metal band and chances are these guys will hit the top of the list. After releasing eleven studio records the groove/thrash titans bring us their 2011 release Kairos (being number twelve). Throughout Sepultura’s career there has been some up and down’s in terms of quality. The absence of Max Cavalera left many uncertainties about the group ever returning to its previous form found on records such as Roots and Chaos A.D.. The follow up album from his departure, Against, certainly affirmed most of the metal community’s thoughts. However with Kairos, Sepultura are lifting the overall standard of their releases and this in turn should make a few fans remember the good days.
Members of the band have stated that this is very much a concept album. Guitarist Andreas Kisser adds in an interview that;”It’s a collection of ‘kairos’ that [got us] here. It’s being inspired by our own biography, but mostly [focusing] on what Sepultura is today”. A theme that has been shaped by the bands changes, both internal and external.
Kairos opens with Spectrum, a track that shows much of the bands signature sound. The opening lyrical linings: ‘With these eyes, we shook the world’ describes the impact Sepultura had on the hard rock and metal industry and while it holds the typical Sepultura sound the track itself is plagued by some repetitious riffing and lyrical phasing, making this a slow start for the album in terms of the bands energy. The title track Kairos brings back much of the band’s former glory. Fortunately for Kairos (album), the positives outweigh the negatives, especially in that of the instrumentation. Vocalist Derrick Green compliments each track well and creatively has a rhythmical vocal phrasing that further increases tracks playback values. Whether it be the typical gruff screams or contrasting deep spoken word sections that can be found in Dialog there is a solid vocal performance throughout the album. The guitars are much of the same old recipe used by Sepultura i.e. crunchy guitar riffs with solid, driving tempos, but adding to the bands technical presence is the solos. Fast, utilizing many bends and some sweeps helps maintain the listener and draw them further into the song. The drum work of Jean Dolabella is fairly consistent and provides the tribal influences at various stages of the album. The drums do not over power the other musical elements and provide the perfect back bone for the band. Paulo’s bass work here blends well with the band gives the guitar work a more solid sound. It’s not always the first thing passing through the listeners ears but it makes its mark on the record and in a good way.
Experimentation is shown by Sepultura, most notably in Structure Violence (Azzes). Effects are layered over a rather industrial but tribal blended sound. Even though this is a contrast from the rest of the album there is still a solid “Sepulturian” sound that can be found here. Unfortunately this track creates a blend in the album as some ideas are repeated and sections progress for too long. This shows Kairos’ good ideas that are poorly executed.
Overall the thrash/groove titans show much of a quality record but lack some of the band’s former standard. This is a step in the right direction and shows that the groups ideas are not completely used up. Kairos makes for a welcome return of the former Sepultura quality. Fans of the genre and band alike should find something they like here.