Sepultura Dante XXI

Brazilian thrash/death legends Sepultura always throw a few curveballs at us with each album, but mainly it’s always unmistakably Sepultura. With Dante XXI, the band have streamlined things quite a bit and it works: no-frills Sepultura is the best Sepultura. Although hints of the band’s percussion-based roots metal remain, there are no extended experimentations here, which, really, is welcome. For the most part, mid-tempo (with some good forays into speedy thrash), heavy and quite intense, this latest full-length is based on the 14th Century epic The Divine Comedy, but Dante XXI has none of the usual concept album trappings. It does have the usual Sep trappings though: that no-hope feeling of mid-everything (tempo, range and emotion) that their albums all too often fall into is once again all over this one. But there’s still more energy and vitality here than the band have seen in quite a while, making this one perhaps their best post-Max offering. (SPV)