Four minutes into an intro encompassing the opening sounds to all their albums, including the comically belching vocal that kicked off their long-ago "Bestial Devastation" EP, plus the acoustic interlude from "Beneath the Remains", the point couldn't be more plainly stated. After twenty years, and nearly a decade with their current lineup, SEPULTURA has not only changed the face of metal, but remains a potent force in extreme music today. Though some fans may disagree, the intro seems to state the position that this is the same band that destroyed us with "Chaos A.D." and helped ignite the tribal side of nu-metal on "Roots".
No argument here — the song selection is impressive, with songs from every era of the band's storied history, and a whopping two discs to hold all the "hits." It's easy to forget sometimes how many important songs this band has had, until a document like this comes along and fans, especially those who jumped ship when Max Cavalera left to form SOULFLY in 1997, are reminded what anthems some of these tunes are.
Unfortunately, while the performance sounds suitably fiery, and the crowd seems into it, the mix on "Live in Sao Paolo" is, to put it mildly, for shit. It's muddy, muffled, the drums are loud to the point of distortion (a near-fatal flaw when you have a percussionist as busy as Igor Cavalera), and the CD as a whole sounds unmastered — throw it into your changer and hit "random," and you'll notice the volume is lower than the other discs in your mix. It sounds like a bootleg — whether this was the desired intent or not, it's gonna be a sore point for diehards shelling out twenty bucks for the double-disc set.
It's a goddamn shame, because SEPULTURA — as a whole, and particularly the Derrick Green-led incarnation — deserve better than this. This lineup has enough trouble getting past the hordes of Max stalwarts and proving its worth to the world, without being cut off at the knees by a shitty-sounding, fatiguing horsepill of a live record. Those fans already dedicated enough will get this, force their way through the leaden sound, and may even be able to get past it to enjoy the performances. But they deserve better too, for sticking by their band when the fair-weather fans bailed on them.
What happened here?