Album Review: CAVALERA CONSPIRACY Psychosis
Most of you reading this are likely intimately familiar with the convoluted and sordid history surrounding Sepultura and both current and former members. No need to really get into that whole thing. Yeah, it sucks. Yeah, we want a reunion. Yeah, right. We'll see. In the meantime, we make do with what we've got. It's strange to think that it's been just over twenty years since the original incarnation of the band ceased to exist. If you've been counting, in that time we've been hit with approximately 24 post-Roots releases – a combined total comprising all the various projects. That's a lot of damn tunes. Some of it good, some of it not so much.
With each successive release – be that a Sepultura or Cavalera bros. effort – it becomes increasingly unlikely we will ever see that much-anticipated reformation of the original lineup. Why? Well, it's clear both camps have moved in completely different directions if the last Sepultura, and this latest Cavalera Conspiracy, are any indication. As it relates to the latter, the music is reaching near boiling point, encroaching on the unholy zenith of early Sepultura epic-ness!
Celebrating just over a decade of brotherly love, Max and Igor Cavalera are back with their fourth full-length Cavalera Conspiracy effort, aptly monikered Psychosis. Where the previous three albums didn't stray too far from Soulfly-like territory: an odd-yet-welcome mix of jumpdafukup groove, death/thrash, and grindcore riffing – this latest adventure prefers instead to revel in the effrervescent days of the late 80's through mid 90's.
In perhaps the album's most ferocious moments – the death/thrash hysteria of openers "Insane" and "Terror Tactics" – the guys have quite literally patched together a pair of songs comprised of the best bits littered throughout 91's Arise. Just as was heard in the caustic opening notes of "Arise", right through the crushing mid-song breakdown of "Dead Embryonic Cells", all the way to the chest-exploding, downstroked gallop of "Altered State", 2017 sees the Cavalera Bros. arise from the chaos, unearthing their roots buried for far too long beneath the remains.
Moving away from the face-ripping ferocity of the album's first two tracks, we find the guys opening their history books once again – this time flipping straight to the chapter on Chaos AD. To be more specific, "Impalement Execution" and "Spectral War" (tracks three and four, respectively) are a pair of songs that – in another dimension paralleling our own – could comfortably exist as bonus tracks on Sepultura's pioneering '93 effort. Both tracks are built around a caustic, paralyzing death/thrash attack mixed with the slightly subdued anarchy-groove found on classics such as "Territory" and "Slave New World". This is the kinda groove that only the brothers Cavalera can pull off: crushing-yet-danceable (in a tribal dance sorta way). The latter track, "Spectral War", is the definite highlight of Psychosis. In much the same way as songs such as "Troops Of Doom", "Inner Self", "Arise", "Territory" and "Roots Bloody Roots" defined each era of Cavalera Bros. songwriting, so too does this song. It's a literal homage to their formative years; though, presented with a contemporary-yet-crushing sheen. The outro solo alone is enough to qualify this song as an anthem. Yes, it's that good. In fact, I think it's safe to say that Max and Igor have intentionally unearthed an ancient Brazilian sepulchre – if the artwork accompanying the "Spectral War" single is any indication (that font, and its orange iridescence, are a carbon copy of Beneath The Remains' iconic typeface).
Winding one's way through the album's mid-section proves to be even more archival, as audibly witnessed within the songs "Hellfire" and "Judas Pariah". The first of two is an unmistakable ode to Max's mid-90's industrial metal project, Nailbomb. The Godflesh, Ministry, Fudge Tunnel-isms are present in spades, sounding like a newfangled version of Nailbomb's "World Of Shit". The song is certainly a lone duck when stacked-up against the album's massive wall of extremity. Nevertheless, it's a welcome reprieve. In a completely mindblowing turn of events, "Judas Pariah" digs even deeper into the vaults, unearthing the blackened death metal attack of Sepultura's debut full-length, Morbid Visions. The song is constructed around a particularly violent proto-black metal riff, one that weaves itself into an incredibly brutal Napalm Death-like fabric. This thing is fucking vicious, evil, and all-consuming in a Harmony Corruption meets Sarcófago kinda way. Stunningly ferocious.
Quite honestly, one would be hard-pressed to find fault with Psychosis. It is, by far, the best post-Chaos AD material to be released by any former, or current, member of Sepultura. It is the album many of us have been waiting patiently for: a spirtual successor to those long ago days when Max and his Brazilian compadres were on top of the world. Psychosis reiterates how incredibly important both Max and Igor are to the entirety of extreme metal, nay, metal. It is now more apparent than ever that Cavalera Conspiracy are Sepultura. Welcome back, fellas.