I don’t know whether or not it’s because I heard Roots first, a few years ago, or because I have heard so much about this record, but upon first listen to this, I was kind of thinking “What’s the big deal?” Sometimes it’s hard to cast your mind back to another time, especially when I wasn’t listening to metal back then, and especially since I’ve heard its far more risky sequel. But in comparison to Arise, this is a pretty big departure.
This is thrasy groove metal with a fair amount of additional percussion (though not necessarily as much as I was led to believe by reviews). I don’t know, really, when Groove Metal first came into existence, but I’m pretty sure it was well before this record. (If memory serves, Pantera was doing it at least a few years earlier, but apparently I can’t be bothered to look that up right now.) The innovation is the (somewhat slight) incorporation of Brazilian music into the genre, which hadn’t occurred to anyone else at the time. It’s a unique enough twist though, as I noted at the outset, I knew about it already from reviews and from the sequel and so I feel like expectations got the better of me.
But lest you assume that the metal aspect of this record has somehow been tamed by the fusion, rest assured that is not the case; only one track here backs away from Sepultura’s punishing sound which is probably why it’s this record that gets all the positive reviews. (Also, it came first.)
At the moment my expectations are getting in my way of enjoying this fully but I understand that the record is a big deal. I think with time I’ll probably come to enjoy it as much as I enjoy the sequel but right now I can’t help but wish there was more percussion and more weird detours.
8/10 I guess