Thursday, October 23, 2008

Album of the Week -- 10/23/08

Album of the Week is a feature just like Song of the Week; it’s that simple. Hopefully, we’ll stay on top of this one much better than we have with Song of the Week, and even better, blogging.

Album of the Week – 10/23/08: Chaos A.D. – Sepultura

This week in music there’s homage being paid to the 20-year anniversary to MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball, which obviously got its feet wet in 1988. Like the music video hot-spots of today that drive album sales and overall notoriety for a lot of artists, Headbanger’s Ball was that and then some for the metal genre and has been so for now 20-years. When it started, glam metal was a main-stay, with the occasional sprinkling of “One” and other underground thrash/speed vids. Today, it’s littered with the now dominate style of heart-pounding cookie-monster vocals instrumented by young bands that are paving the way for the future. During the early years of HB, bands like Sepultura got some playtime, with notable videos for “Territory” and “Roots Bloody Roots”, songs off various albums they released during the 80’s and 90’s before cutting ties with original vocalist, Max Cavalera. Since that disbanding, Sepultura has gone on to release some more albums, none of which to most metal fans and diehard ‘Sep fans enjoyed thoroughly.

But that’s not the focus, bad albums and all… the good ones are, and that one is Chaos A.D. Released in 1993, it was the fifth album by the band, with notable classics in Arise and Beneath the Remains pre-dating it. The Brazilian thrash band had a thing for playing fast and wild with its first few albums – Chaos seemed to have more focus, more maturation in its musical progression, including slower tempos, grooves, and even harmonies – more notably, an acoustic instrumental. With the power of Cavalera’s brutish vocals and a new-found direction musically, Sepultura was able to amplify their politically laced lyrical themes ten-fold on Chaos A.D.

“Refuse/Resist” starts the record off with a forward-march battle cry, literally. The opening tribal drums set the stage for a driving riff, thus opening the flood-gates for a hail-storm of music that lasts nearly 60-minutes. From tracks about protest and roarings about the war between Israel and Palestine – to censorship and massacres – to the notion that technology, and biotechnology more specifically is Godzilla. (Humorous moment of the album: the growling that sounds like a grown-man reverting to his childhood stays at the zoo)

The album blazes along, combining moments of guttural riffs and vocals, grooves, chugging, and sped up guitar sessions in order to siphon the listener with the answer to how pissed off Brazilians like them are. There are plenty of angry metal albums out there – they’re as prevalent as a woman in a hip-hop video -- but there aren’t too many that have any validity and reasoning for it. Lots of times, it’s just angry for the sake of being angry. Chaos A.D. dismembers that stigma on metal and chokes it in their “Clenched Fist”.

If you are having a bad day or just want something way off the deep end to experience, definitely try this one out. I guarantee you’ll need a glass of water afterwards.

Must Hear Track: Territory

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