I reviewed the last Sepultura album and I know people were surprised since they aren’t really prog. That said, there was plenty of prog moments on “Machine Messiah.” The title being a reference to the Yessong. They are back on my list again with a CONCEPT album. Now that does not automatically make it prog but once again, Sepultura has some very prog moments all over “Quadra.”
Once again even the title is prog. The concept behind the album is numerology. Thus the album is divided into 4 sections, hence “Quadra.” The 12 tracks are separated into 4 groups of 3. The style of each section is slightly different. Now, this is not enough to make you notice immediately but it’s there. I should mention that Jens Bogren produced this album as well as it’s predecessor.
The first three tracks are classic Sepultura. Heavy, thrashy and more direct. The second set of three adds in more percussion and has a Brazilian vibe. I’ve read that it’s more like the “Roots” album but I don’t hear that. It’s not dog shit like “Roots.” The albums back half is where the magic is for me. That’s not to say that I don’t really enjoy the first half.
The third set of three is the prog section with the instrumental “The Pentagram” being one of the best things that Sepultura has ever recorded. “Guardians of Earth” and “Autem” are my other two favorite songs on the album and they are on each side of “The Pentagram.” What’s interesting is that even with the move towards these proggy tracks, they aren’t THAT far away from the ones prior. The sequencing is like Sepultura is guiding you thru the album itself. Although, there is ONE exception…
The fourth section is still a bit of prog with a slower overall pace to it. The title track starts it and it’s a very cool acoustic guitar piece by Andreas Kisser. Kisser is such an underrated guitarist so it’s great that he can showcase this side. It flows beautifully into “Agony of Defeat” which is has an epicness to it that makes it a great closing track.
But the problem is “Fear, Pain, Chaos, Suffering” comes after it and seems like it’s tacked on because of it. It’s a good song but pales in comparison to “Agony of Defeat.” Additionally, the track has guest vocals by Emmily Barreto which are good but unnecessary. Derek Green is a KILLER vocalist who has a great harsh vocal but also a powerful clean vocal too. I really would have preferred him doing the clean vocal on this. Perhaps the song could have been prior to the title track but that is my only quibble with “Quadra” as a whole.
“Quadra” is very much a heavy album which will not appeal to many of you that are strictly old school progheads. But if you love heavy prog metal, I think there’s a lot about the album that you’ll enjoy. Sepultura have released some of their best music lately and proven that they are very much willing to grow and experiment. “Quadra” is a masterpiece of pounding rhythms, complex riffs and powerful vocals. It’s Sepultura the way that I like them.
2. Means To An End
3. Last Time
4. Capital Enslavement
6. Raging Void
7. Guardians Of Earth
8. The Pentagram
11. Agony Of Defeat
12. Fear, Pain, Suffering
Label: Nuclear Blast
Release Date: 7 February, 2020