Those wishing it was 1991 again should find solace in the aggressive nature of “Mask,” “No One Will Stand,” and “Seethe.” The riffs are sharp, Derrick Green growls and screams like a man being lit on fire, and Andreas Kisser shreds like he’s 20 years younger. This is Kisser’s breakout performance as a lead player, especially after letting his leads flounder over the years. He hasn’t sounded this loose with his solos since the early ‘90s.
The fans that were jumping up and down for “Roots Bloody Roots” in the old days will be impressed with the brief skirmishes into tribal/industrial. “Structure Violence (Azzes)” jams out with an assortment of percussion, samples, and acoustic guitars. It’s a heavy tune brimming with attitude, a quality passed over from the band’s strong rendition of Ministry’s classic “Just One Fix.” An added lead break from Kisser is a solid addition to the cover.
Even listeners of the modern groove/hardcore sound will be left satisfied. “Born Strong” and the title track have a stomping tempo to them, though with a thrash edge missing from Against and Nation. It’s like the band learned what worked for them (the aggression, the prominent rhythm section) and what didn’t (the guest spots, the nu-metal aspects) and applied it to Kairos. These tracks, as well as most of Kairos, are boosted by the great production job of Roy Z.
It’s tacky to say something like “Kairos is the best record since this one or that one,” so that statement will be disallowed in this review. However, Kairos has a focus and energy the whole way through that has been lacking from Sepultura in the past decade. Usually, a modern Sepultura album has had a few great tunes and a lot of mediocrity; that’s not the case with Kairos. The debate still rages on about the Max era compared to the Derrick era of Sepultura, but Kairos makes that argument a bit more interesting.
(released July 12, 2011 on Nuclear Blast Records)