The Rapprochement of the Cavalera brothers – Max and Iggor – has everyone awaiting the expected announcement of a Sepultura reunion. Inevitable? Perhaps, at some distant point. But, right now, the guitarist/singer and drummer respectively aren’t thinking about such weighty matters. And to some extent it shows, with a project that definitely doesn’t try to second-guess where the Seps should be in 2008.
Obviously, there’s a great deal of the past locked into ‘Inflikted’. Nobody would suggest that the pair were ever going to remove all hint of their own heritage, and this is very much a return to the raw metal of the late 1980’s, infused with lashings of a hardcore attitude. If you take the Seps’ 1987 album ‘Schizophrenia’ as the starting point, then you’ll get an immediate feel for what’s involved. However, this is far from a retreading of old routes. The foundations might have been set two decades ago, but the power, the atmosphere and the focus belong to the modern age. Together with Gojira’s Joe Duplantier on bass and Soulfly guitarist Marc Rizzo, the Cavalera caucus have created a modern extreme metal experience.
From the moment the riotous title track and the brutal ‘Sanctuary” rise up and bite, you’ll be overwhelmed by torrential post-thrash downpour. And, for the most part, the band do embrace hyper-drive, with ‘Hex’ and ‘Never Trust’ the equal of anything being delivered by the new-generation thrashers currently sweeping through metal. The latter, in particular, makes its mark as Max bellows a list of those types of people whom he has found unpalatable over the years. The snarl of retribution is obvious.
But this is far from being a one-paced blur. Like all top-class metalheads, Cavalera Conspiracy understand the need for variation. So ‘Terrorize’ is built on a concussively supple guitar sound, ‘Black Ark’ is the closest we get to the ‘Roots’ era of Sepultura, and ‘Must Kill’ is an anthemic tirade, with a climactic guitar tornado.
But the most impressive moments come on ‘Heart Of Darkness’ and ‘Bloodbrawl’. The former has a classic metal stride that brings to mind Judas Priest, being multi-faceted, yet never losing intensity. The latter is the album’s masterwork. It veers from uber-mania to a softer rhythm, within a structure that’s both stern yet also intimate. It’s here that the band’s propensity for spontaneity is clearest. They take a basic song discipline and stretch out, reveling in their musical freedom. It’s a monumental achievement.
‘Inflikted’ is a strong start from a new band with a spectacular history. Much was expected, and a great deal is delivered. But the real triumph is that, ultimately, not only have the Cavaleras used Sepultura as a springboard, they’ve made talk of a Seps reformation just a touch irrelevant. For the moment. METAL HAMMER
It’s good to go away, but nothing beats coming home. If Inflikted is what happens when brothers reunite after a decade apart, then just maybe the rift has been worth it – in artistic terms, at least. Cavalera Conspiracy is anything but tokenistic. Remember the first tribal blast of Soulfly, the moment you realized the game might ultimately be up for the previously untouchable Sepultura? That’s the impression you get here. Inflikted sidesteps both Soulfly’s samba percussives and the corrosive distortion of early Sepultura, but at the same time it rebirths that shock and awe heaviness, the streewise riffing of the Cavalera’s first band, adding only a bigger production. That extra studio dynamic merely throws open the doors to let the storm roar in.
Some storm it is too. Max Cavalera’s coals have probably never cut through with more controlled brutality than here. The title-track opens in a squall of synthesized biomechanical feedback, and seconds later Iggor Cavalera’s tubs rifle in, marshalling the familiar crunch of his brothers guitar. This isn’t power for the sake of it – Cavalera Conspiracy (completed by Soulfly guitarist Mark Rizzo and bass from Gojira frontman Joe Duplantier) build songs from rolling, concrete riffs, each pounding out simplistic, upper cut hooks.
“I don’t give a fuck if everybody dies tonight” seethes Max in Sanctuary following a disconcerting spiral of guitar noise, before a churning time change hits you in the gut. Hex and Nevertrust are similarly aggressive, short bull-shaped nuggets of hardcore mangled metal designed purely to stun. There’s more ambition in Black Ark and Bloodbrawl, but Inflikted is an album that never deviates far from its central thrust – a simple equation of heaviness, groove and melody worked to perfection.
One thing that separates Inflikted from previous Cavalera projects is the occasional suggestion of synths. Purists need not furrow their brow – machines drop in only scarce and shadowy embellishments to the carnage up top. Inflikted is not a Fear Factory record. It is a modern spin on an old theme, a polished, updated but no less bellicose take on the Sepultura of old. These are killing fields of metal, a precursor just possibly to a Sepultura reunion, and a fine debut in its own right.
DOWNLOAD: Sanctuary, Nevertrust.
FOR FANS OF: Sepultura, Machine Head. KERRANG
If you are yet to check out the latest material fromMax and Iggor Cavalera, then check out their ARTISTS SECTION ta sample a couple of tracks and you can buy now, online, at the phollowing locations: