Sepultura - Live In Sao Paulo - SPV Records 2005
Running Time Disc 1 - 41:52
Disc 2 - 36:39
Running Time: DVD - 140 Minutes
Somewhere in the book of Heavy Metal: Rules And Regulations is written "Thou shalt not release two live albums in a row (unless thou art MANOWAR).". So when I saw the new 2CD/2DVD set Live In Sao Paulo by Brazil's favourite sons, Sepultura, arrive, I was less than thrilled. I mean, sure, 2004's Roadrunner-issued Under A Pale Grey Sky was a needed document of the last Sepultura show featuring the brothers Cavalera, but do we really need another double-live album (and DVD, no less) so soon?
In a word, yes. Filmed/recorded in the band's native city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sepultura seem primed for action even from the intro 'Apes Of God'. Flowing seamlessly into what is quite possibly the Genesis 1:1 of what passes for metalcore today, 'Slave New World', Derrick treats the song as if he owns it, and this humid night in Brazil, maybe he did. As for the music, the band is bursting with energy, doing their damndest to pay musical tribute to the crowd, a good portion of which have followed this band for the past two decades. A hammering 'Innerself/Beneath The Remains' finds the guitar tone of Andreas Kisser to be even more gnarled and "dirty" in the live setting than in the past few albums, where possible over-production left his work sounding slightly processed. For 'Necromancer', the band is joined by the first of many guests, this time the guest being Jairo, bassist of Imminence and guitarist of Overdose. Old-timers such as myself will remember him from the Morbid Visions album, giving the song a bit of a "family reunion" feel. Alex from fellow Brazillian deathlords, Krisiun, joins the band for a hammering 'Refuse/Resist', and local hip hop mainstays take the stage for support in a blistering 'Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos'. Few metal bands would have either the ability or the balls to attempt a cover by either Public Enemy or U2, but when the expansive 'Bullet The Blue Sky' passes the halfway mark, you realize that Sepultura has both...in spades.
Still, all is not perfect here. Derrick's voice still largely lacks the vocal inflections that made songs like the rumbling 'Biotech Is Godzilla' such a standout in the live setting, and he could do a bit more to draw the crowd in as a frontman. Andreas injects a bit of 'Dazed And Confused' into the song's instrumental section, but damned if I could figure out why. Still, it was enough to bring a smile to my face. Ending with the by-now Sepultura classic 'Roots Bloody Roots', the band end the show in good form, Derrick still struggling a bit with the Max material, his vocals being more suited for hardcore shout than metallic roar for the most part. The first DVD ends with a "Making Of" segment, giving the viewer a bit of insight as to the "why" of the second live album in as many years. The other DVD features a Derrick Green-produced documentary, and really acts as more of a tour diary of the past few years than anything else. A bit choppy for me at times, but watchable. A few video clips and live songs bring second DVD to a close. Myself, I'm not a huge fan of live albums, as they tend to not carry the energy over well, and lose the adrenaline seeing a band bashing out their tunes provides. This is metal, not Manilow, you know. Still, Live In Sao Paulo is the sound of a band screaming a sweat-drenched, bellowing "Thank you!" to its fans for the past twenty-odd years of support. And for that, guys, you're very fucking welcome.