Sunday 9 February 2014

Live Review - Sepultura :The Ritz, Manchester, UK, 5/2/2014

I have a confession to make. I arrive at tonight’s show, the band’s penultimate UK appearance of their current European jaunt, knowing nigh on nothing of the band. From the snippets I’ve heard of the band, now into their third decade as a band, my ears haven’t been particularly aroused.

Tonight then, is about setting that straight. There is no better opportunity to see what a band is all about than seeing them in the flesh, right before your very eyes where their miracles and mistakes have nowhere to hide. I know little about the culture and history of the band which means I can judge the band on where they are today and not where they once were with the Cavalera brothers still a part of the battalion.

They take to the stage in a venue I’ve seen fuller, but one which tonight plays host to a rowdy, excited crowd; the set Sepultura unleash on them is of a similar nature.

Locking into tight, low-end grooves they get heads moving instantaneously and by the end of set-opener Trauma of War frontman Derrick Green is already caked in sweat. He pours his heart and soul into every growled word while commanding the crowd with a domineering presence; a single rauise of the arm is enough to have the crowd roaring like a general riling up his army before battle. “This is the real fucking Sepultura,” he proclaims before they tear into the anarchistic of Propaganda. While there may still be plenty of doubters out there, the band put forward a damn convincing case in their favour.

Elsewhere Andreas Kisser flaunts with killer riffs rich in groove and stamps venomously on his wah pedal like a pissed off bull during his solos. Refuse/Resist, Territory and Roots Bloody Roots reinforce his already revered reputation as a brilliant guitarist. These are savage cuts of the sternest of metal. With leanings towards punk, old school thrash and, with the tracks from new album The Mediator… a slightly more experimental sound, his diversity as a songwriter is to be admired.

Many tracks, most notably encore song Ratamahatta include hints of the samba style native to the band’s home country, which bolster the songs impressively. Live, it gives the songs a huge weight which gets people moving, pits open up around me, swallowing those nearby. The heavy percussive sound gives the band a defining characteristic and as a consequence, you often find your eyes fixed on sticksman Eloy Casagrande who plays with a precise yet animalistic abandon.

In the end, it’s a case of mission complete. The band’s prowess is here proved across a 90 minute span of relentless metallic poundings. It may not go down as the most memorable night for everyone here tonight, but only a perfectionist could really critique the set.

This is the real fucking Sepultura.    

Words by : Phil Weller

You can read our review of their latest record here

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