Release DetailsLABEL SPV
RELEASED ON 11/8/2005
Live in Sao Paulo (DVD)
posted on 12/2005 By:
A live DVD with sub-par production and the unenviable task of appealing to fans of newer Sepultura material.
There’s a point during the documentary found on the second disc of this set where Sepultura vocalist Derrick Green is talking about the extensive touring the band underwent shortly after he became part of the group. He’s talking about all the shows they played and all the challenges they faced, and he says, “We wanted to show the world what WE were about.” That line is striking because, Sepultura, more than most bands, became something entirely different after the loss of their original singer, Max Cavelera. This DVD, while showcasing its fair share of classic Sepultura material, is very much geared toward fans of what this band has become in the post Cavelera era.
Sepultura stopped writing great albums somewhere around Chaos A.D., but what this DVD shows is that they never stopped being a very solid band. The new material, while nowhere near as inspiring as anything found on their devastating five album streak between Morbid Visions and Chaos A.D., is performed passionately and coherently. That’s not very sexy, I know. But, pulling off metal live convincingly is terribly difficult, and these guys do it well. The old stuff sounds better, but not quite as good as it used to. Derrick Green is a fine vocalist, but a mediocre guitarist. Songs like “Inner Self” and “Beneath the Remains” sound incomplete without the trademark Kisser/Cavelera duel guitar attack. Worse yet, most of the older songs are abridged to hide Greene’s deficiencies as a guitarist. Gone is the haunting intro to “Beneath the Remains,” as well as the Hammett inspired solo on “Inner Self.” However, what Greene lacks as a guitarist he makes up for as a vocalist, especially on the newer material. “Apes of God” and “Come Back Alive” are some of the finer tracks to be found on 2003’s Roorback, and Greene definitely sounds more comfortable performing these songs. However, it’s the cover of U2’s “Bullet the Blue Sky” that really displays Greene’s full capabilities as a front man and a singer. Sepultura have always had a knack for executing covers without sacrificing either the song’s or their own integrity, and this track is a good example of that.
Here are the main problems with this DVD. The stage is too big, and the guitars are too quiet. Metal, in my view, is most affective in uncomfortably intimate settings. If all I’m seeing is four guys on a stage, then what’s the point? It’s the intimacy that compensates for the fuck-ups and the shoddy sound. Without it, I’d rather just listen to my studio albums. The band does spice things up by bringing out some buddies to lend vocal and guitar assistance. However, what I really want to see is more crowd interaction. Of course, the real clincher here is the lack of heft coming out of Kisser’s rig. Sepultura, at their best, is the purest kind of thrash band. If the riffs aren’t punchy as they need to be, the entire operation falls apart. Kisser’s floppy, bottom heavy tone works well enough for the chord-centric tunes found on the later albums, but it’s entirely inappropriate for razor sharp riff fests penned during the glory days.
I enjoyed this DVD well enough. But, I love this band, and, more importantly, I didn’t have to pay for it. There are better Sepultura DVDs out there, namely Chaos DVD, which captures a brighter time of their career in with a much darker and appropriate atmosphere. This is for ardent fans of post Cavelera Sepultura, whoever you are, or completists who will probably just toss this on a shelf next to their Paulo Jr. bobble-head doll.
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Live in Sao Paulo (2 Disc Set)