SEPULTURA — Revolusongs (review)

SEPULTURA — Revolusongs album cover EP · 2002 · Groove Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Vim Fuego
Ever wondered what rocks Sepultura’s world? Yeah? Check this out.

The liner notes to Revolusongs say “We are a band that always played covers from the groups we liked; we learned a lot from them and had a lot of fun doing that.” And that’s what this is – a collection of songs getting “sepulturyzed” (their word, not mine).

First and foremost, Sepultura is a metal band, so you’d probably expect a decent dose of metal here. Sepultura made their name initially as an underground band in the tape trading scene and Hellhammer’s demos were a cornerstone of that scene, so the opening track “Messiah” is a fitting tribute to those days. While it was a reasonably fast track for Hellhammer, it’s a comfortable groove for Sepultura. Derrick Green’s gruff vocals are perfect for the track, out-graveling Tom G. Warrior. And most importantly, this song shows that a then-20-year-old riff still holds up decades later.

The next metal track is a rip through Exodus’ “Piranha”. The tune is absolutely vicious, like the nasty little fish it’s named after. Igor Cavalera absolutely nails the drum intro to this thrash classic, while Andreas Kisser puts his own spin on the Holt/Hunolt solo trade-offs.

The disc closes out with a spontaneous jam through the intros to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” and “Fight Fire With Fire” - just a bit of silly fun which is cool to have on record.

Over the years Sepultura has taken metal into places far beyond their death/thrash roots. Checking the other tracks here you’ll see why. Paolo Jr is often the forgotten man of Sepultura, but without him, the band’s groove would be a bit thin and, well, grooveless. He’s absolutely to the fore in “Angel”, a Massive Attack cover. It’s a powerful song which builds on his massive bass foundation.

Sepultura flirted with hip-hop in the mid-90s while Max Cavalera was still in the band. The cover of Public Enemy’s “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos” shows that hip-hop fandom didn’t depart with him. The song features guest vocals from Brazilian rapper Sabotage, and additional scratching and programming from Ze Gonzales. Many metal fans aren’t particularly comfortable with hip-hop, but even if they aren’t this track spices it up with enough metal to keep it interesting.

In the past, Sepultura had covered punk bands like Discharge and Dead Kennedys and Ratos De Porao, and this made a lot of sense. After all, it’s not a huge jump from full on thrash to hard out hardcore. But Devo? “Mongoloid” was a weird little song even for the electro-punk new wavers. Here it has been given a full metal make-over, complete with crushing guitars and a blast-beat ending. Weird but fun. (Note: the name of the song is not seen as very politically correct these days, but the lyrics are a positive story of a man with Down syndrome living in a world where no one notices he's any different.)

“Mountain Song” was the first song alt-hard rock band Jane’s Addiction ever wrote, even before the band name existed. It’s perfectly titled, with a cascading avalanche feel which Sepultura nail perfectly. The biggest difference is in vocals, because Derrick Green’s voice isn’t within a million miles of the same register as Perry Farrell’s. No matter, it’s all transposed and beefed up to suit the rest of the song.

Now, I hate U2’s music with a vengeance. I find it to be mediocre and annoying beyond words. I can’t stand Bono’s po-faced political posturing, even though I have to admit he’s often making some good points. I find The Edge’s guitar playing to be pretty damn dull. And the other two blokes? Yeah, they don’t even register. And U2 have sold nearly 200 million albums, been streamed half a billion times, and are one of the most successful touring acts of all time, so what the fuck do I know? Sepultura obviously see something I don’t. And grudgingly, I have to admit, the cover of “Bullet The Blue Sky” is good. In fact, it’s really fucking good. Yes, Sepultura succeeded in making something I find wonderous from something I really hate.

Fuck, they’re good.
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UMUR wrote:
5 days ago
Yeah that Massive Attack cover is pretty great. Love the original too.
Vim Fuego wrote:
6 days ago
Yeah, that video for Bullet The Blue Sky is brilliant.
Tupan wrote:
6 days ago
Their version of Angel is amazing, and Bullet the Blue Sky was a radio and MTV hit in Brazil back in the day!
UMUR wrote:
6 days ago
This is actually the release I have gotten to on my tour through Sepultura´s discography, so I´m currently listening to this EP too.

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