Blunt Force Trauma
28 March 2011
by Hugh Platt
“Me and Max playing together, that’s the reunion. Out of all the other people who passed through Sepultura, that’s what I consider to be the reunion. I don’t see why there needs to be other people in on it. I’m more than happy to have what I have right now. I don’t need any other kind of reunion.”
That’s what Iggor Cavalera (as he’s spelling it these days) had to say recently on the oft-debated subject of a Sepultura reunion. When you start throwing around proclamations like that, it does kinda put the pressure on Blunt Force Trauma to deliver the goods, doesn’t it?
But you know what? I’d be more than happy if Blunt Force Trauma is as close as a “full” Sepultura reunion gets, and I’ll tell you why you should be too. Do we really want Sepultura to go the way of Anthrax? What do I mean? Well, we’re going to have to get hypothetical for a bit. Let’s say there was a reunion of the classic Sepultura line-up – Max and Ig(g)or Cavalera, Andreas Kisser, and Paulo Jr. For 12 months, the band tours the globe, bashing out a greatest hits set every night to crowds bigger than any member of the band have seen for over a decade. What happen once the dust has settled and the tour is over?
Chaos – that’s what happens. Max is fine – he toddles off back to Soulfly and Cavalera Conspiracy, picking up where he left off. But what about Andreas Kisser and Paulo Jr? Are they really going to go back to Derrick Green – who presumably has been left to sit on the sidelines for over a year while they’re off palling around with the Cavaleras – to tell him that now they’ve finishing trophy-fucking their ex, he’s okay to move back in now?
At the time of writing, Green has been a member of Sepultura for as long as Max Cavalera ever was. True, the albums he has featured on aren’t held in as high regard as the earlier ones with Cavalera, but that takes nothing away from the fact that he’s put in the hours and kept Sepultura alive. Will Green swallow his self-respect, and go crawling back to the two men who ditched him off? Or will he do a John Bush, and tell them to go fuck themselves for prioritising some quick buck with the guy he stepped in to replace all those years ago? Whichever option he chooses, the Sepultura following this reunion is a shattered wreck of a band, lacking unity and purpose. Their fan, slaked on the hype and resurrection-bliss brought by the “classic” Sepultura world tour, lose interest again, and the band eventually split. Max Cavalera continues to pump out a Soulfly record every few years, and everyone continues to be a little bit disappointed every time.
Watch the video to ‘Killing Inside’ by Cavalera Conspiracy:
But speculative rhetoric aside where does that leave Blunt Force Trauma? In many ways, this record does manage to capture the untamed, less refined power that Chaos A.D.-era Sepultura were able to wrestle so well under control. Iggor’s description of Blunt Force Trauma rings true when ‘Rasputin’ pulls out a passage of battering-ram drum work and fret-hopping solo shred, or when the spacious grooves of ‘Lynch Mob’ accelerate into something thrashier and grubbier. Max lyrical shortcomings (most noticeably his tendency to repeat-bark lyrics increasingly sounding like he can’t think of what to say next, rather than repetition for the sake of establishing a vocal motif) don’t come across as clumsy, but instead gets caught up as just anoher enjoyably ramshackle element of the rag-tag rough’n’ready tumble of riffs and rhythms going on.
You know what? It is for the best that Blunt Force Trauma is the closest thing we’re going to get to a “full” Sepultura reunion. Deep done in my blood and in my bones I don’t think Sepultura (or any of Max’s bands) will ever be able to reach the heights they reached from ’89 to ’96. I certainly don’t want to see one of my favourite bands of all times shattered beyond repair when it’s all over with. For that reason – but not that reason alone – I’m happy with settling for the competent but passable stylings of Blunt Force Trauma, thank you very much.
Sounds like: Angry-end Soulfly, Middle-ground Sepultura
Top tracks: Rasputin, Target, Lynch Mob
Cavalera Conspiracy – Blunt Force Trauma tracklisting:
Lynch Mob (ft. Roger Miret from Agnostic Front)
I Speak Hate
Blunt Force Trauma