Album Review: Sepultura – ‘Quadra’

Never too late to peak a second time

Sepultura have nothing left to prove. They’ve done enough for metal on a global scale that they do not owe us anything more. They’ve survived a break-up that would have crippled a weaker group of musicians, and not only did they rebound 21 years ago, they have gone on to create vital, inventive new music that—while not as influential as their first six albums—still fully deserves to be recognized as important pieces of work. Led by guitarist Andreas Kisser, the last decade has yielded music of startlingly high quality, starting with 2009’s A-Lex and continuing with 2011’s Kairos, 2013’s The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart and 2017’s Machine Messiah.

Quadra continues that steady upward trajectory with a dozen tracks that boast a tremendous amount of creativity while still retaining that primal thrash ferocity that began with Morbid Visions 34 years ago. As is always the case with post-Cavalera Sepultura, Kisser’s dexterous, muscular rhythm riffs lead the charge, ranging from the straightforward intensity of “Isolation” to the crazed progressive leanings of the spirited “Autem” and fascinating instrumental “The Pentagram.”

The tremendous Derrick Green provides his expected formidable lead vocals, but the real ace card, again, is drummer Eloy Casagrande. At only 28, he is one of the best drummers in the entire genre, and he brings so much range to the record, from astonishing power to nimble jazzy interludes and more Brazilian-inspired passages. Quadra is so strong, it makes one feel as though Sepultura are on the cusp of a second career peak.

Review taken from the March 2020 issue of Decibel, which is available here.