Sepultura – review

The Ritz, Manchester
Sepultura rock on with a dogged determination in their third noisy decade

Brazilian thrash-metal giants Sepultura are the band that refuse to die. Not even the departure of the founding Cavalera brothers – singer Max and drummer Iggor, in 1996 and 2006, respectively – has dented their ability to make an enormous racket. Nowadays, they're fronted by Derrick Green, a shaven-headed giant of a man who boasts rippling muscles and a guttural growl from the bowels of hell (or, at least, the nearby Manchester Victorian sewage system).

Admittedly, the band's appeal has waned since the days when 1991's Arise and 1993's Chaos A.D. piled up platinum album awards like dinner plates. The mid-sized venue is noticeably less than full. "Truth only lies where you are now," says Green, which means that on Monday the truth lay in Bristol's intimate Fleece.

Nevertheless, the faithful's chants of "Sep-ul-tura!" are rewarded by tracks from last year's The Mediator Between the Head and the Hands Must Be the Heart. Packing their vintage fury, The Vatican handily coincided with this week's UN report into Catholic church abuses, while The Age of the Atheist may have resonated with any passing vicar suffering dwindling congregations.

Nevertheless, the earlier material audibly and visibly ups the ante. With guitarist Andreas Kisser whipping up the crowd like a cheerleader, Arise and Inner Self are brutal but tuneful thrashes that send grown men (and a refreshing amount of women) scurrying for the mosh pit. If something went with the Cavaleras, it's the spirit of innovation that brought Brazilian tribal rhythms to 1996's Roots Bloody Roots, and especially the immense Ratamahatta, which sees Green doubling up on extra drums for a Glitter Band-metal wall of voodoo. Still, when the frontman thanks the crowd for 30 years of support, band and audience celebrate their indefatigable endurance.

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Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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