Sepultura are the most underrated thrash band in the world. There, I said it. Back in the day they released a collection of albums that have stood the test of time; “Beneath the Remains”, “Arise”, “Chaos AD” and “Roots” are all stone cold classics – and you will never convince me otherwise – and even though the second half of their career after that point has been uneven to say the least, they have always been reliable live.
Today seems like it is going to be no exception and, with only a limited set to play with, the band has to pick and choose wisely what to cram into their time. They hit a high point by throwing ‘Arise’ into the set and it stands up well against the two tracks they play from their most recent album – 2013’s “The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart” – when they throw ‘Ratamahatta’ into the mix. It’s a welcome, albeit unnecessary, surprise before the band finish on the obligatory ‘Roots bloody Roots’
First of all, you notice that the set seems to have gone in the blink of an eye, which makes the pacing and the inclusion of newer material seem off, as naturally you would think a short festival set means all the hits – Wham! Bam! Job done. Apparently not, but you also notice that Sepultura, more than ever, seems to be lacking conviction nowadays, as if it is a brand more than a band and there seems to be very little in the way of passion or energy coming from them. There is a sense of a band rattling through songs just to get offstage as quickly as possible, which is a far cry from the band that tore the main stage down at Bloodstock two years ago. Maybe they are burnt out or maybe the curtain is about to drop on the band’s legacy but either way it’s disheartening to see one of thrash metal’s best bands limping along like some kind of decaying zombie waiting to rot.
Photo credit: Andrew Whitton