In all honesty, I was never really a big Sepultura guy. I mean, who didn’t own Chaos A.D. at some point, right? But since that album didn’t exactly thrill me, I never bothered to purchase anything else. Their thirteenth studio effort The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart is set for release on October 29 via Nuclear Blast Records. Crazy title, right? So I will be judging this album as merely a stand-alone effort, and I am doing so mostly because my dear friend who didn’t like the album wanted me to check it out to make sure he’s not crazy! Well as it happens…he’s not. This is a flat-out bad album. I don’t even know if I can come up with anything good to say about it, but let’s see what happens.
First bad thing right off the bat is the production. I cannot BELIEVE Ross Robinson is responsible for this mess. The band sounds like they are playing in a studio made of tin, and vocalist Derrick Green sounds as if he’s singing in a tin barrel in said tin room. Anyone who dared to bitch and complain about the mix on Metallica’s Death Magnetic and is fine with this mess needs a check-up from the neck up, quite frankly. It’s torture for the ears, I tell you.
Now, the songs. After 40 seconds of I-don’t-know-what, the first song “Trauma of War” is pretty much all thumbs. Again, the mix is just awful. Next is “The Vatican” complete with church bells and everything. Gee, that’s never been done before. Once we get over that mess, it’s actually not a bad song, but I don’t think we needed the first minute and a half. I did like the opening drums and steady pacing of “Impending Doom”, however, so I had a glimmer of hope starting to appear. Alas, that faded quickly as “Manipulation of Tragedy” is just a muddled mess.
Things don’t get much better with “Tsunami”, either. I found myself wishing to be swept away by one for much of this album. At this point we are five songs in and I’ve liked one and a half. No bueno. Then, as if from nowhere, “The Bliss of Ignorants” comes in with a pummeling fury! This is the kind of song I can get behind, and was a welcome change. I also enjoyed the drum patterns on “Obsessed”, which really enhanced things for me. That Eloy Casagrande kid knows his way around a drum kit, that’s for sure. Closing number “De Lamo Ao Caos” really struck my fancy for some reason. I don’t know what it is, but it jumped out at me right away and was one of my favorites.
As I said before, this is NOT a good Sepultura record. Hell, it’s not a good record by anyone for that matter! Out of ten songs I liked four and a half, and maybe an occasional riff here and there, but this is one I won’t be spinning again anytime soon. Big-time swing and a miss.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “The Bliss of Ignorants”, “Obsessed”