The pressure of writing a great SEPULTURA album, years after Max Cavalera departed, has certainly been a daunting one. After getting back on track with A-Lex, the new offering, Kairos, has its moments of “classic SEPULTURA” elements, but the aggression and speed are stripped away. There are heavy moments with catchy riffs, but for the most part, what you will find on Kairos is a mixture of mid paced and mediocre tracks.
“Spectrum” starts off slow with a groovy and simple riff that sounds decent, and the listener expects the speed to increase somewhere within the song, but the tempo never picks up. The pattern continues, as the title track starts off well and shows great potential only to decrescendo and slow down again. “Relentless” finally shows some spirit, as the beginning riff is reminiscent of the slow, catchy, crunchy style of early OBITUARY, and finishes off with an Arise era solo. The album starts to wear thin as songs like “Dialog” and “Born Strong” drag with their slower beats and rhythms. Aside from the occasional slow double bass, drummer Jean Dolabella does not let loose, and takes a “simpler is better” approach.
The start of “Mask” contains a riff and vocal pattern that is interestingly very similar to CAVALERA CONSPIRACY’s “Inflikted,” with Jean finally showing aggression and blasts in the song. There is a tasty solo towards the end - showing that there are a few good tracks on Kairos. The short and thrashy “No One Will Stand” and “Seethe” sound like classic SEPULTURA and help liven the album up. However, the pace of the other tracks outweigh these thrashier songs. SEPULTURA has never been afraid to experiment, and “Structure Violence (Azzes)” is an interesting collaboration with the French percussive group, LES TAMBOURS DU BRONX, but at the end of the day, most fans would probably skip this track.
Kairos includes the MINISTRY cover “Just One Fix,” and while the original sounds great, this cover would have been better suited for a future EP release. The digipak CD/DVD version of Kairos includes their cover of THE PRODIGY’s “Firestarter,” and is easily one of the best tracks the band recorded during the Kairos sessions - it’s aggressive, catchy, and the solo by Andreas is amazing. The other bonus track of the digipak version is “Point of No Return,” an aggressive song which sounds like a mix of A-Lex and Chaos A.D. Why the band chose to leave these tracks off of the normal version is an enigma, as these bonus tracks would have spruced up the album immensely.
The concepts and lyrics on Kairos are interesting and very well suited to the current incarnation of SEPULTURA. Derrick Green still does a commendable job on vocals, and Andreas puts in an amazing effort in terms of bringing back remarkable Arise-like solos throughout the entire album. Although Kairos is an above average record, most of the songs may be too slow and bland to keep the listener interested throughout the entire voyage. While some Max-era SEPULTURA purists have missed out on some great albums such as Nation and A-Lex, Kairos offers more variety and melody, but a lot less aggression and speed than the new CAVALERA CONSPIRACY. (Nuclear Blast Records)