Phantom Self

It’s Friday and today that means it’s Sepultura day!

I saw the band a bunch of times early last year when they supported Kreator and it’s been easily twelve months since I last listened to their Machine Messiah album. Surprisingly they played quite a bit from the record on their support slot and it wasn’t overly memorable at the time, but I was there for the Germans and the Brazilian tribe was just an added bonus. Now I’m geared up for a Sep’s show I’ll be more embracing of the newer material.

Once again the band are on a UK tour and yet again the “no Max and Igor no Sepultura” brigade are raising their heads from the woodwork like clockwork.

Max walked out on the band in 1996 – more than two decades ago. His brother followed in his footsteps ten years later, so it couldn’t have been all that bad. In a new interview online l saw last week, Max is still bitter about the split and wishes he’d kept the name. I’m still a bit curious how some one who leaves a band can lay claim to the name.

All this rubbish about it still can’t be the band if certain members or founding members are no longer in the band really frustrates me.

Last week heavy metal legends Judas Priest released probably their strongest record since Painkiller surfaced in 1990 to critical acclaim. From the five members who recorded Firepower only bass player Ian Hill is still in the band from the original 1960’s line up. From the line up that released the 1974 debut album Rocka Rolla three of the five are on the latest album. By the time I next see the band in an East Midlands field in August that three will be a pair with the recent announcement of guitarist Glen Tipton stepping down from live duties.

That’s one original member in Judas Priest, the same as Iron Maiden. Slayer, another band who suffer from this garbage, have half their original members the same as Metallica who don’t have the calls to quit based on band members, just plenty of people who don’t recognise anything released post Cliff, or depending on their age Jason.

Grind innovators Napalm Death have a new album on the horizon and like Sepultura it will feature not a single original member, but much like Firepower I’m sure that release (if it’s any good) will be lauded by the press and fans alike and many a blind eye will be turned regarding the line up.

Granted, Sepultura haven’t released an album of the calibre of Arise or Beneath the Remains during the Derrick Green era, but the Cleveland native has done more justice to those classic tracks in his stint with the band since his arrival. Having seeing Max Cavalera on stage several times in the past two decades doing some of his Sepultura history, Derrick does it much better.


Refuse / Resist

This week marks my twelfth and thirteenth time seeing Brazilian / American thrashers Sepultura. Even though the sixty minute set list I’ll be seeing twice in three days leans heavily towards this years Machine Messiah release I keep going back to the classic era of the band, that’s why the video for Refuse / Resist is below. This is the opening track from Chaos A.D., the album that will be a quarter of a century old next year. 

I should have already reached the dozen mark with my last trip to Holland, but I had to miss their show at Liverpool’s Royal Court with Paradise Lost on December 4th 1993 because I fractured my leg in a drunken stupor after a local gig by The Almighty. 

I was celebrating my birthday with friends at the rearranged show at the Victoria Hall. I drove to my friends house and we all caught the bus up to town. We were swigging from a half bottle of rum on the way there, so it was never going to end well.  The Almighty, The Wildhearts and Kerbdog all played well, then it was off for last orders in the Borough Exchange. That was the one and only time I ventured into that place and I think it’s now a gay club called Gossip!

A taxi back to my friends, but we all thought it’d be “fun” to kick an inanimate object in the shape of a metal garage door. It was just some drunken high jinx. I ended up on the floor and thought noting more of it. 

Roll on a few hours when I woke up abd the alcohol was wearing off, the pain in my ankle was agonising and it was the size of a football (maybe a slight exaggeration). After hobbling the gauntlet to the bathroom then to the front door all overseen by a hungry looking Rottweiler, I don’t know how, but I managed to drive home. 

It was my birthday on the Sunday, but that morning heralded a trip up to A&E in my uncles car for X-rays and eventually a plaster cast up to my knee. It wasn’t my first cast, but touch wood it has been my last. Back home at my parents modest terraced house my grandmother was living with us at the time.  Less than an hour of getting home she’d stumbled past my overhanging leg and knocked it hard. I may have swore!! On the upside though I missed three or four weeks of work and college. 

Kreator – Tilburg, O13 – 2.3.17

My first chance of the year to spend plastic coins at Tilburg’s 013 venue and my first chance to catch the thrash metal juggernaut that is Kreator as they begin their assault through Europe taking no prisoners.

A relatively early start saw Belgian death metal stalwarts Aborted kicking off proceedings with a half hour visceral assault on those who bothered to turn up early. For an opening band they had a great sound afforded to them – and probably the best shirt on sale tonight with their Ghostbusters inspired attire. But I just can’t get into this band. Musically they’re exceptional, but the high pitch screechy whistling thing isn’t for me.

This venue is pretty impressive size wise – great views from all over the hall floor and it’s tiered standing, and the back stage area must be almost as big again. Each band used their own drum kits and with them set up out of sight there was the briefest of change overs before Swedish heavy weights Soilwork stormed the stage. Another fantastic bunch of musicians giving it their all, but as usual with me I was left bored rigid after their 40 minute set concluded. For me they just don’t seem to have that one anthem to get things going or look forward to.

One of Brazil’s finest exports graced the ever expanding Dutch hordes with an hour to impress. Their latest collection of songs is a pretty solid affair so I’d have expected them to kick off with something new and throw in another one, maybe two. Four new songs in the first six was a bit of a hard slog and the crowd didn’t really embrace them until Desperate Cry rumbled out of the PA. A few more Machine Messiah tracks were thrown in for good measure and before I knew it Territory, Refuse/Resist and Roots Bloody Roots drew their time to an end. It was a bit of a disappointing end as I was probably expecting a more classics set with the time constraints they had.

It’s The Teutonic Terrors were afforded a half hour change over and as per usual with modern day Kreator the stage set was pretty impressive especially for what you’d usually expect for a thrash metal band. There was so much attention to detail that time was taken to remotely align the on stage spot lights for optimum effect.

German precision was not met tonight with their shoddy time keeping – the Choir of the Damned intro tape rolled a minute early by my watch – and a deafening Hordes of Chaos kicked off proceeding to a hall filled with thrashers many covered in ticker tape from the get go. Crowd favourite Phobia followed before a pair of new songs – Satan is Real and Gods of Violence. An omission from recent sets in the shape of People of the Lie proceeded Total Death from their debt album for all the original die hards, a song that hasn’t been played live in thirty years.

A mix of new tracks, some from their more recent past and their 80’s heyday rounded out the main set before Civilisation Collapse closed the first 70 minutes. Flames, smoke and streamers were all in an abundance. At one point though it looked like some flames leapt from the stage unannounced. The glare frontman Millie Petroza gave to the side of stage could have killed, or caused serious damage at the very least.

A four song encore of Violent Revolution, Flag of Hate, Under the Guillotine and the punishing Pleasure to Kill left the 013 a fiery wreck and the hordes left suitably impressed.

The first three hours or so of the evening were a bit of a let down but Kreator more than made the admission price worth it. The five new tracks slotted in to the live area a seamlessly as if they’ve been there for years and some will be in future Kreator productions for as long as these road warriors continue. The Manchester Academy show can’t come quick enough. Only six hours until the next adventure begins.



This week ends with a double dose of thrash metal when I catch the Destruction European tour when it passes through Manchester and London. 

Opening up on this Euro trek is Brazilian all female thrash metal trio Nervosa. Following their exploits on Facebook you have to wonder if they know where their homes are when they eventually get back to São Paulo. They played Britain last year – unfortunately I missed out on seeing them in Birmingham, Liverpool and Evesham. 

Over the last two years since their first shows outside of their native Brazil they will have played close on 200 shows and covered most corners of Europe and everywhere in between – they’ve even visited the tiny Mediterranean island of Malta – along with a substantial amount of time spent in the United States and Canada, and I’m sure more to come in the not to distant future. During all that time on the road they’ve also managed to release their sophomore album Agony back in June. 

A 100% female thrash band appears to be a pretty rare thing, even a wholly female band within the metal spectrum is a rare beast in this extremely male dominated genre. There are plenty of front women in the metal community that spring to mind – Doro with Warlock, Sabina Classen and Holy Moses, Dawn Crosby who fronted Détente and Fear of God, Cara McCutchen fronts Mortillery with Miranda Wolfe on bass, and theres a whole host of others, but all backed by male musicians.

After the Runaways, Girlschool and Rock Goddess in the 70’s came bands like Vixen and L7 the following decade and the 90’s offering us bands like Kittie and Drain STH. There were a few bands with a more thrash slant to their sound – namely Ice Age from Sweden who seem to have a cult status without actually releasing an album, and Meanstreak hailing from Westchester, NY. 

There seems to be a small pool of rock bands and death metal bands, but besides Nervosa and tenuously Hysterica from Sweden, I can’t think of any other female bands playing thrash orientated metal who’ve left a mark on the record buying public. I can trawl the Internet for demo bands like Dracena another Swedish outfit, Jenner from Serbia or Poland’s Recon By Fire – who will hopefully break through in time. If there are others I would love to be proven wrong. 

I’ve got two chances to see Nervosa this week so I’m hoping to catch them at least once. I’m not sure what time they hit the Manchester stage, but in London it’s supposed to be just before 6pm as the venue swaps to a club night on Fridays and Saturdays. 

This track is from their debut album Victim Of Yourself release in 2014 by Austrian label Napalm Records.  



Twenty Eight hours from now and I should be watching Sepultura tear up the Club Academy stage in Manchester. I’ve been listening to the band since I first heard Beneath The Remains, their first major label release, whilst still at school in 1989.

I saw them twice with frontman Max Cavalera, the final time with Max was at the Manchester Apollo in 1996 – one of the bands last appearances in the UK with him.

I have no idea why, but between 1996 and 2011 I only saw them twice, both at festivals. I think it’s because the intervening releases weren’t as good in comparison to their early output.

In December 2011 I went to Hamburg to catch the second edition of Thrashfest, a European festival tour opened by Mortal Sin, followed by Heathen, Destruction, Exodus and closed out by Sepultura. I remember thinking “I’ll give Sepultura half an hour and head back to the hotel“. I was captivated. Derek Green’s delivery of the old stuff was immense. They’d come on in leaps and bounds since those two festivals in the preceding 15 years. Tomorrow will be my fifth time seeing them in 4 years, they are that good.

Subconsciously I think I was in the No Max No Sepultura camp, and if I was I’m glad to have been proven wrong.

Sepultura 2015 consists of one founding member – bass player Paulo Jr., and a “classic era” member who’s been there since 1987’s Schizophrenia – Andreas Kisser. Over time the other two founding members – the Cavalera brothers – have decided to leave and be replaced. It’s been 18 years since Max left, they are celebrating the bands 30 year anniversary (it was when the tour started, but now over 31 years). So by my maths the current vocalist has been in the band longer than the original (well actually second as Max didn’t sing in the earliest line up)

To me all this “so and so isn’t in the band so no band” keyboard warrior stuff is nonsense. I’d hazard a guess that every band so far featured in this blog doesn’t feature the original line up at some point in their career. There is NO original member in Napalm Death but they are hailed as all conquering heroes! Slayer, Metallica, Voivid, Obituary, Iron Maiden have all had members pass away, leave or be fired but they still go on with little hassle – apart from Slayer.

Since when should a band call it a day when a member dies or leaves? And why do so many “fans” feel the need to bang on about the fact they should call it a day? If you truly believe a certain band is no longer relevant in your life then just ignore them. Don’t buy anything. Don’t go and watch them. More importantly, don’t waste your time telling others they should either.

1991 album Arise might just shade it as my favourite Sepultura release, but ask me in a few weeks and it could well be Chaos A.D. or even Beneath The Remains!