Seeing the Cavalera brothers resurrect their early Sepultura works has been a contentious topic for a lot of people leading up to this tour. Some people have been jumping out of their skin to see this live finally after never getting the chance, and others have been brutally judgemental of the brothers and fully expected them to come out as flat and lifeless versions of their former titanic standing of 20+ years ago. There was one thing for sure though, we were going to get to see the early material from their benchmark speed metal albums ‘Beneath The Remains’ and ‘Arise’ performed live and without polish, and that for me was enough to want to check it out.
Once again thanks to the perils of Melbourne CBD peak hour traffic, I managed to turn up a song or two into the support act ‘Primitive’. I will openly admit, as well versed in the local Melbourne metal scene as I am, I had never seen nor really heard of this band going into the show. Their style is somewhat reminiscent of, I would say, Machine Head blended in with some Mastodon and some Testament for the extra thrashy moments. They were tight, engaged and energetic and they really enjoyed being a part of this show and the quickly gathering crowd was very appreciative of their work.
Once the stage went dark, my 14 year old self took over and the excitement started to build in the room. I don’t think I saw a single person that looked under 30 years old in the sold out crowd, but there was a room full of smiling faces once Igor Cavalera mounted the kit and the intro to ‘Beneath The Remains’ started. The expectations of this show going in were pretty limited, and I’ll admit I was one of the ones that thought this might very well be “just a bit of nostalgic fun” and that Max and Igor may not be up to the capacity required to nail these songs live. Oh boy… was I wrong. Max was energetic, Igor was playing fast and tight. The biggest highlight outside the obvious though was the flawless playing of Marc Rizzo filling the role of Andreas Kisser for this tour. He is a phenomenal player, and was spectacular in replicating the solos from the albums exactly to the note.
Pummelling through the majority of the tracks on both ‘Beneath The Remains’ and ‘Arise’ with little to no breaks, there was no doubting that even if the brothers are no longer playing in Sepultura, they are still the absolutely undoubted heart and soul of the songs and the essence of the band from the glory days. “Beneath The Remains” lifted the room to frenzy level from the get go, “Desperate Cry” was almost an entire room of collective karaoke, “Mass Hypnosis” was frantic and super heavy. There were no doubts now that we were in for a show at a level worthy of these classic albums. It was awesome to finally see songs like “Primitive Future” and “Altered State” live as well.
Once the final notes of “Infected Voice” echoed out, we were treated to some covers and a few bonus treats. Tributing both Lemmy and Bon Scott, they ran through ‘Orgasmatron’ and their own version of ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’ with a thrashed out ending especially for the Australian tour. Closing with ‘Troops of Doom’, ‘Refuse/Resist’ and a short medley of the earlier played tracks, the crowd were all smiles and excitement. Everyone left the venue openly and loudly discussing how awesome a show it was. Maybe their teenage selves were still present at the time too, and as excited and satisfied as I was.
Where: 170 Russell, Melbourne
When: Thursday 21 March
Reviewed by Chris McEwin
Photographed by William Adam Russ