While walking to college the other day, I decided to trow the ol i-Pod on shuffle and try and find some new music that may have gotten lost in the fold (see how I avoided the obvious pun there!). It was a decision I wouldn’t regret as immediately a song so aggressive and heavy almost knocked me off my feet. I quickly snatched my i-pod from my pocket to see who it was that almost gave me heart failure and it was the name of an old friend that greeted me: Sepultura. However, it was the album that caught me off guard: The track was “Moloko Mesto” from their latest album “A-Lex”.
Now, Sepultura are one of my favorite bands but, like many others, I amn’t a massive fan of their post Max output. I still “bought” their albums but ad been left unimpressed with the likes of “Roarback” and “Nation”. I ad heard that “Dante XXI” was meant to be good but, to be honest, I didn’t really give it much of a chance. The same with “A-Lex”. However, my opinion was completely changed once I listened to “Moloko Mesto”.
Suitably impressed, I decided to listen to the album in full and found an underrated gem. The first 5 tracks off “A-Lex”, which for your trivia buffs is the first Sep’ album not to feature a Cavalera brother, are among some of my favorite Sepultura tracks and have the aggression and groove that made Sepultura famous in the first place. Andreas Kisser, who I firmly believe deserves WAY more credit than he gets, is on fire and provides groovy yet heavy as a heard of elephants riffs, beautiful flamenco passages and hypnotizing, disorienting solo’s that sound like the kind of solo’s Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman would play had they ever learnt their scales.
Derrick Green, who I was never a massive fan of, does a great job on vocals and spits out his words wit a venom I’ve never heard from him before. If he ad roared like this on all those other post Max albums, they definitely would have garnered more success.
“A-Lex” is also the first album drummer Jean Dolabella, who does a fine job filing the gap left by Igor Cavalera, providing some great drum-beats that compliment each of Andrea’s riffs and keeping the tribal feel very much alive throughout the album.
Another cool thing about “A-Lex” is that it is a concept album, with the entire album based on the book “A Clockwork Orange”. The track’s “A-Lex I- IV” do a good job of separating the story into it’s separate parts and, being a concept album, the guys have a huge amount of room to experiment , something Sepultura ave never been afraid to do. The mixing of classical music and metal on the tracks “A-Lex” parts I-IV and the deadly “Ludwig Van” do a great job of capturing that books essence and atmosphere and its also great that the guys haven’t sacrificed their tribal sound on the record either.
Also wort a mention is the incredible cover art. Te twisted image does a fine job of capturing the disturbing themes at the heart of “A Clockwork Orange” and is definitely a cover that makes you do a double turn and look at it closer to see every inch of it.
At 18 tracks, not every track is going to be a blinder but “A-Lex” provides enough quality and unique, fresh ideas that it deserves to be heard by more people. So do yourself a favor and track down this underrated album and get ready for a healthy dose of Beethoven and ultra-violence.