On Machine Messiah Sepultura continue their blend of thrash, modern metal, experimental metal and tribal percussion, and they do this in such a way on this release that they sound revitalised, energised and fresh.
The band’s albums are frequently exploratory and tentative in nature, with a mix of straightforward metal tracks and more experimental ones that see them pushing the envelope and trying new things.
In reality though this is not as binary as I may have made it sound. These two approaches are frequently heard within single songs, as well as manifesting more fully as individual tracks of one style or the other. Ranging wide from punk to progressive metal, Sepultura cram a lot of influences into their sound, and I have to say that unlike some of their patchier albums, on Machine Messiah it all comes together in some of the best ways.
A new Sepultura album is always an interesting and adventurous listen, because although you know broadly what to expect, due to their penchant for experimentation and world-music flourishes they always take you on quite a journey. I feel this is the reason they can potentially be quite hit-or-miss with some people, as I suppose a lot of people would just prefer them to stick with their thrashier, more metal side and be done with it. Although I can understand that sentiment, Sepultura would undoubtedly be a lesser band if they did this.
I feel that Machine Messiah is one of Sepultura’s more coherent and ultimately better offerings. The album’s mix of heavy, groove-based metal, faster aggression and more atmospheric experimental elements is judged just right and has resulted in a well-balanced and very satisfying album. The length also supports this – with a 46 minute duration it gives you more than enough meat to chew on without becoming too much.
The playing and musical delivery is as flawless as you would expect, and I love the frequent atmospheric enhancements that populate the album. The various solos are worthy of particular note and are extremely enjoyable. I’m also very pleased to report that their singer gives probably his best overall performance ever on this release too.
Different sounds, instruments, ideas and varied performances all make for an interesting and engaging listen. I always like an album where each song has its own firm identity and the tracks are easy to tell apart from one another. Machine Messiah is definitely one such album, with all of the songs earning their place in the running time and having something individual and substantive to offer.
Machine Messiah sounds like a very complete album; it’s a holistic listening experience from a band that have weathered a lot of different experiences over the years; here they have successfully channelled all of this resultant energy into the music to great effect.
With a production that’s warm and spacious, allowing everything to flow and breathe, (as well as crush when necessary), Machine Messiah is definitely one of the strongest Sepultura albums of the last two decades or so.
Impressive. The more I listen to this the more I like it. There are a lot of different aspects of Sepultura’s sound to enjoy and on Machine Messiah the band have ably demonstrated the best of themselves.
Okay, I’m just going to say it – best Sepultura album since Roots.
Based on this album 2017 could very well be Sepultura’s year.