Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: January 13, 2017
At this point, you know whether you enjoy post-Max Cavalera Sepultura or not. If you don’t then you should continue to listen to Soulfly and Cavalera Conspiracy because this album won’t convince you otherwise. If you enjoy the intellectual, almost Djent sounding beast that this band has become over the last nearly twenty years then Machine Messiah is going to blow your face off.
While I have enjoyed nearly all of the band's storied catalog (starting with Arise when I was a wee lad), I prefer the Derrick Green years as frontman. The band is so much thicker and more interesting with him as the frontman but the last couple of albums I have found to be bogged down by plodding sounds that blend together and themes so deep that you have to be an intellectual to follow along. And then came Machine Messiah.
This album is the beast fans have been waiting for. While not a concept album, the songs are themed around man’s absurd obsession with technology as a savior for its problemed morals. It’s really more of an observation than a concept. For me, it’s the musical structure that gets the blood pumping, though. Musically, Machine Messiah captures the same energy as the band conveyed on albums like Nation and Chaos A.D.. The sound is big, anthemic, progressive, energetic, and each instruments’ place is crystal clear (which, in turn, really allows each of their performances to shine through, unlike the last albums’ “wall of sound” approach).
It’s hard to pick highlights here because this is the band’s first start to finish record since Nation in my opinion. Of course, “Phantom Self” is a standout with its mild tribal percussion, dark strings, and Sepultura bounce (nice job Paulo, Jr.!). Green slays the machine overtop of the music screaming “Transform / I’m someone else/ I’ll face my phantom self…” while Kisser weaves in and out of the anthemic bits with his progressive guitar work.
“Resistant Parasites” is another personal favorite of mine, reminding me of the stomp that the band displayed on Nation and Roorback without retreading the path specifically. The nearly six-minute title track is a journey all to itself as well, building slowly with clean vocals and emotive guitar work. The song plows through its second half with screaming vocals and heavy as hell rhythm work.
If you are a fan of Heavy Music then you need to own this album. Machine Messiah is not just a spectacular album, it’s an aggressive reminder that Sepultura’s best days are not behind them. This is every bit the classic Sepultura that fans have been clamoring for more of. From the themes to the artwork to the music, this is going to be a hard album for anyone to top in 2017.
Reviewed by mark1340