A new album from Cavalera Conspiracy means another opportunity to debate which seminal Sepultura albums it comes close to sounding like. Does it take a hint from the ghastly Arise? Or the tribal groove of Chaos A.D.? Or the death-meets-thrash scope of Beneath the Remains? Or, somehow, does it separate itself from a legacy that Max and Igor Cavalera have had trailing every creative outlet they’ve been a part of? The answer is all of these, none of these, some of these; the kind of non-answer that’s a determent to this review.
Because that’s what people want to read, the “Arise Meets Chaos A.D.” or “Return to the classic Sepultura sound” tagline that can be plastered all over the Internet and on the cover of dusty compact discs. We’ve been programmed to have these kind of questions answered from the words of writers who ask the same questions out of the pieces they read. Sepultura and the Cavalera brothers will be linked forever, even if it’s been over a decade since either brother has had any association with that group.
But this is an album review and as an album review, there are certain bullet points that usually have to be checked off. What does it sound like? Does it do anything different from previous albums? Does it have some of that good old-fashioned “thrash” we remember from 1991, when most of us were having lively discussions on the merit of Heathen’s Victims of Deception in the expansion of progressive thrash metal in-between bottle feedings?
And that answer is yet another non-answer, a wormhole that feeds off of itself until our opinion is based around blanket statements and flashy adjectives. Because calling Psychosis a “return to form” for Cavalera Conspiracy or a “throwback to a forgotten era of thrash” is an insult to the years Max Cavalera and company have spent with this band trying to make it its own entity away from their suffocating past.
Psychosis is a great album, the best one Cavalera Conspiracy have written together. Hell, it’s the best album Max Cavalera has performed on since Soulfly’s Dark Ages. It does everything you’d want a thrash album to do: excite, perplex, engage, infuriate, annihilate, condemn, and transcend genre stereotypes. None of that has to do with any association to previous glories or a retread into desecrated grounds that have had its resources drained from once-rich soil.
So what is Psychosis really about, after all these hundreds of words? It’s relevant thrash metal for a generation lost on what thrash metal is all about. Yes, it’s basically still PR jargon, but this jargon also happens to be authentic, for once.
(released November 17, 2017 on Napalm Records)
Heavy Music Headquarters Rating:
Listen To Cavalera Conspiracy – “Spectral War”