Another Sepultura album with Derrick Green, another worldwide bundle of screams from unimpressed die-hard fans wishing that Max Cavalera would just hurry up and rejoin the band together as if 1996 never ended. Well, while this may in part be true due to circulating rumours that Cavalera had even considered rejoining the band for a touring cycle, the band’s latest album, the conceptually titled “The mediator between the head and hands must be the heart” basically does exactly what “A-Lex” or “Dante XXI” did, and nothing more. Sepultura’s thirteenth studio album focuses on the concept of Metropolis, a world which would soon become one controlled by robots and heartless machines.
However, as interesting or indeed thought-provoking as this concept may appear, the end product does not prove worthwhile. The solid instrumentation is there in spades on ‘Manipulation of tragedy’, ‘Tsunami’ and ‘Obsessed’, and few would argue that the tribally influenced ‘The bliss of ignorants’ is anything but a noteworthy return to the “Roots”-era of the mid 90s. Yet there are unfortunately a multitude of flaws, perhaps overlooked by the band in their growing ambition to make the concept album of their career, which hinder the album’s overall quality from becoming greater than it actually is. The production is often clouded, making the instrumentation sound unclear and often shrouded in fuzzy, distorted background noise, and Derrick Green’s vocals simply don’t reach the same heights as they did on earlier albums with the same vocalist.
It really is a shame, because without these two problems, songs such as otherwise furious and eccentric opener ‘Trauma of war’ would be pretty much flawless. Even the best songs can’t hide the fact that Green’s voice needs to be more suitable to this style of music. That said, his voice shines through the mellow and laid-back nature of ‘Grief’, a song which shows the band’s often uncovered melodic side, also proving their musical variety to the many naysayers who believe they are a band still living in the past. Again though, these few glorious moments are sadly deterred by songs such as the horribly messy ‘Impending doom’ and unnecessary ‘The Vatican’, the latter of which introduced by an unnecessary two minutes of classical or industrial sounds.
Therefore “The mediator…” is simply another Sepultura album, and however hard the band have tried to make this the best of their career, there’s just too many flaws to stop that. The concept is believable and is strongly brought across in pretty much every song, and solid instrumentation is what Sepultura have naturally always succeeded at, but with an unbalanced and inconsistent side to this album that simply takes half of the album up, the band’s thirteenth album often leaves the listener wanting much more.
1. Trauma of war
2. The Vatican
3. Impending doom
4. Manipulation of tragedy
6. The bliss of ignorants
8. The age of atheists
10. Da lama o caos