Hard Reviews
by Martin Popoff


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Fresh Metal

Sepultura - Nation
(Roadrunner)

Been living with this album for a while now, had two interviews with Andreas about it, months apart, and like with Against, it's just one of those records that will never, for me, contain those individual tracks I play over and over. Instead it's like a meandering, wary trip up the Amazon, lots of dynamics, extremely tribal, Derrick sounding like a rasta shaman (not sure what he's doing on a boat up the Amazon with me). I also find the album browner, more human, earthier, less cluttered, the production job of Steve Evetts being porous and wallowed, allowing war-beater Igor to play his drums like a lead instrument, sort of the Keith Moon of global thrash (see One Man Army, Border Wars or Sepulnation). Performances are subtly sophisticated and then subjugated into the puffy mix. Andreas turns in a plethora of guitar sounds and Derrick answers with some Mike Patton-like crooning in between his indignant old school call to arms. Plus the peaks and valleys are enough to cause loss of cabin pressure (The Ways Of Faith sounds like the friggin' mellow beginning of Sabbath's Megalomania, or perhaps the parched creaky boat list of Maiden's Rime Of The Ancient Mariner). This butts up against the pointless but thankfully brief punkcore blast of Revolt. But elsewhere it's just hot, hypnotizing mid-day waves of ancient cave-dweller riffs swirling in a mantra of mud hut metal. Lyrically, the Seps have turned in a conceptual unit all about the forming of this single, positive nation built of (ironically angry and loud; maybe worse than ironic: the wrong tool?) fresh new benevolent values. What lifts and imposes itself on your room after the album's ripples subside is the unarguable idea that Sepultura have their own uncommon sound, a distilled, stripped down, Indian ear-to-the-rail (train coming) presentation of the Roots idea, wayward, organic, highly interesting, and all their own, vaguely thrice removed from the permutations of hardcore that infect nu-metal, but other than that, man, this band stands alone as the godfathers of the nu folks, or maybe just the mysterious fossilized bones of music's all-encompassing spiritual totality, somehow older than Sabbath through residual ancestry and blood.
Rating 8.5

Event - Human Condition
(InsideOut)

There have been a number of bands that have restored my faith in progressive metal, writing well-crafted songs within the genre that deliver hooks and dabble successfully in pure progressive or jam band realms. But for the first time in a long time, here's a band that reinvents the form, I mean, completely upsets the apple cart. No surprise it took a bunch of Berklee College Of Music guys to do this. It's a pretty heavy task. This is the band's second album and I haven't heard the first (Electric Skies from '98), so I can only comment on the colour explosion at hand, Human Condition delivering something akin to an industrial or dance-tinged version of King's X. Remember It Bites or T-Ride or Dan Reed Network? Didn't think so, but those are also apt comparisons, Event finding that very professorial place between thumping power chords in odd time signatures and electronic layerings. It often gets theoretically artistic and not emotionally so, but over and over, one gets very vigorously snapped back into the band's spider-fingered critical mass, Event moving forward like a large mechanical praying mantis. But one never gets the feeling that Event are part of any foreign alternative nation. They are very much a musicianly band carved with great difficulty out of art rock academia and the end effect is a stunning collage of mensa music for the discerning.
Rating 8.5

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