Label: Nuclear Blast
I confess, somewhere along the line, I lost my faith in later-day Sepultura. I have soft spots for Against and Nation, but from Roorback onwards, nothing had grabbed me. It’s not that they’re not the same band as Max-era Sepultura – they might as well be different entities completely now – and I’m longing for the old days. It’s just that the albums weren’t that, well, good. So, imagine my surprise when Machine Messiah didn’t so much change that streak as it did grab me, shake me around, and realise just how great their prog/thrash/groove combination can be. Their best album since Chaos A.D? As far as I’m concerned, yes.
It opens up slowly; the opening title track is a fairly long, slow tempo prog-metal near-ballad. It’s an odd start, but one that kind works. From there, the album takes in two minute, groove/thrash ragers; tribal drumming (of course); progressive twists and turns; and creates the impression of a band utterly confident in what they are doing, no matter what the nay-sayers claim. There’s a solid argument to be made that maybe this band should change their name, given how far they have moved (in terms of sound and personnel) from when Max departed; but either way, Machine Messiah is great, and the best thing Derrick-era Sepultura have done.