SEPULTURA have kicked-off their post-Cavalera journey with a face-altering boot to the face. New drummer Jean Dolabella plays with a vibrancy that injects a much-needed shot of adrenaline not matched since Max and Igor Cavalera were both in the band. Meanwhile Paulo Jr.’s bass sound is fat and kicking, cutting through the mix with precision and confidence. Together with their “jam session” approach to crafting the songs on A-Lex, SEPULTURA have produced their most resonating output since 2001’s Nation album.
The album itself is based on Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange. A-Lex is a play on the name of the protagonist and a Russian expression meaning “no law.” A lengthy 18 tracks encompasses the album. There’s a fine balance of thrash, death metal, and hardcore that SEPULTURA have been striving to achieve since bringing on frontman Derrick Green. A-Lex is certainly what they’ve been aiming for all this time. The second and third tracks are immediate standouts, “Moloko Mesto” and “Filthy Rot”, respectively. “Filthy Rot” has a bit of tribal flair which is always enjoyable by SEPULTURA. Track 16, “Ludwig Van,” is an interesting interpretation of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. A very melodic and metal rendition, though something you would expect from SYMPHONY X, not SEPULTURA. Though somewhat out-of-place, it’s certainly well executed and musically satisfying.
Despite the praise, it’s not to say SEPTULTURA have created a timeless masterpiece. It will ultimately be up to your ears to interpret their post-Cavalera era output. Still, these Brazilians are a far different beast than they once were. Despite their long history, we must remember that they are a far different band than they once were. (SPV)