Review by Yiannis (John) Stefanis
There are many bands out there, claiming to play high velocity Thrash Metal, but only a handful can do so with the energy and conviction which characterise the legendary Brazilian quartet Sepultura. When Andreas Kisser & Co are in town, those who choose to part with their hard-earned cash for a ticket to see them are guaranteed an excellent time.
This promise, as well as the fact that I had a pre-arranged interview with the band’s axeman, found me excitedly wandering around the backstage area of the O2 Islington Academy on the evening of the 6th of February.
Said interview, which will soon be featured on our pages, took place uncharacteristically late, meaning I only caught the end of the second opening act’s set, which seemed to be met by a lukewarm reaction from the hordes of Sep’s loyal fans.
It took the road crew twenty or so minutes to prepare the stage for the headliners and, by then, any idea of personal space had long evaporated at this sold-out show. Suddenly, all of the venues’ main lights were turned off and Paulo Jr’s arrival at the centre of the stage was met with a massive roar from a clearly excited crowd.
I have seen the Green-led incarnation of Sepultura many times since the towering front man first joined the band back in 1998 but I still find myself somewhat in awe when in his presence. Sporting a massive smile and jumping around like a man half his age, Green introduced us to the band’s latest offerings, “Trauma of War” and “The Vatican”, before addressing the crowd of his “UK friends”.
With the band’s latest album “The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart” being so widely and warmly embraced by Metal fans worldwide, no-one was really surprised when Andreas Kisser made an announcement that the first half of the show would predominantly feature material from this record.
Belters, such as “Impending Doom” and “Manipulation of Tragedy” sat very well next to classics like “Propaganda” and “Dusted” – the latter introduced erroneously by Green as the subsequent “The Age of the Atheist”, much to his own amusement.
I am sure that every old-schooler who was in the crowd would agree that the show really took off from the moment “Dead Embryonic Cells” was heard. Like a man possessed, Andreas Kisser executed one killer riff after the other and gave his neck a good workout through constant head banging, while unclad torsos could be seen thrashing around during the performance of classics, such as “Inner Self”, Territory” and “Refuse/Resist”.
The band’s main set was concluded by a killer rendition of “Arise”, after which the crowd’s thirst for more classic material was voiced without hesitation. Moments later, the band obliged by returning to perform the much loved “Ratamahata” and “Roots Bloody Roots” – by the end of which the gathered crowd’s energy was well and truly spent.
It was an epic journey to get to the O2 Academy on that day, owing to to tube strikes and atrocious weather, but I can safely say that it was all worth it!
Rather than being a simple case of a nostalgia trip, attending a Sepultura show is a must: guaranteed is a top quality performance from a technically gifted and highly professional band that still has a very active fire burning in its members.
Somehow the words “Under a pale grey sky we shall arise” have never before felt as relevant as they did tonight…
Sepultura Set List:
- “Intro – Trauma Of War”
- “The Vatican”
- “Impending Doom”
- “Manipulation Of Tragedy”
- “Convicted In Life”
- “The Age Of The Atheist”
- “Intro – Dead Embryonic Cells”
- “The Hunt” (New Model Army cover)
- “Da Lama Ao Caos” (Chico Science & Nação Zumbi cover)
- “Inner Self”
- “Roots Bloody Roots”
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In this show, first broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on 2 February 2020, David Randall plays a selection of tracks from some of the artists who impressed at this year’s Giants Of Rock event in Minehead (24-27 January).
Featured Albums w/c 17 February (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 NEWMAN Ignition (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 BLACK SWAN Shake The World (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 CORMAC O CAOIMH Swim Crawl Walk Run (indie)
Power Plays w/c 17 February (Mon-Fri)
SHAKRA Turn The Light On (AFM Records)
THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA Transmissions (Nuclear Blast)
RYDERS CREED Lost Soul (Off Yer Rocka Recordings)
FRAMING HANLEY Puzzle Pieces (Thermal Entertainment LLC)
ROBERT HART Mysterious (Escape Music)
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