After losing the talents of the Cavalera brothers, with Max leaving in 1996 and Igor following suit a decade later in 2006, Sepultura
have felt like they're just barely hanging on, chugging along without the brutal streak that powered their early work. As the band has continued to release albums, there's been the feeling of waiting for the sleeping giant to finally wake up and wreak havoc on the countryside, with that old spark always seeming like it was possible, but just a little bit out of reach. On their 13th album, The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart
, it would seem the giant's alarm clock has finally gone off, and he's not at all happy about oversleeping. While it's not exactly the Sepultura of old, the band feels revitalized, shaking off the slower pacing of 2011's Kairos
in favor of a faster, more savage tempo that allows the band to really recapture some of its former power. This especially comes through in the vocals of singer Derrick Green, whose distorted growls serve as a vehicle for some old-fashioned metal menace. And while Green's vocals might not have the bellowing authority of Max Cavalera's signature shout, they deliver the kind of raw, unbridled hostility that established Sepultura as a band that was not to be taken lightly in the '90s. Without the Cavaleras on board, it's hard to call The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart
a true return to form. That said, it's a damn solid album from a band that's been having a hard time steadying the ship, and any fans who might have written Sepultura off should definitely consider giving this one a chance.