Max and Igor Cavalera continue their brotherly brutality on Cavalera Conspiracy’s fourth record, Psychosis. Sepultura fans can rejoice as Psychosis is primarily based on Arise and Chaos A.D. with its fusion of hardcore, groove and thrash. There is even a smidgen of industrial to liven things up. Album opener “Insane” is a thrashing blitzkrieg with riffs that can slice through a tank. This track is relentless and annihilates everything in its path. “Terror Tactics” continues the metallic assault with maniacal drumming and skull splitting riffs. The song’s tempo abruptly changes into a nice groove with stomping riffs to conclude this track. “Crom” pays homage to the world of Conan the Barbarian. This ode to the Cimmerian god opens with tribal drums before Max breaks out a pummeling riff and Marc Rizzo plays an ear piercing solo and then chaos breaks loose. Rizzo’s hellish solos perfectly fit Max’s cacophonous rhythm guitar. The record takes an industrial detour on “Hellfire” with its repetitive robotic drumming and hypnotic guitar samples. This track seems slightly out of place halfway through a record of straight metal, but hats off to the guys for bringing in Justin Broadrick of Napalm Death and Godflesh to deliver vocals. Luckily, this is a brief detour as “Judas Pariah” is a mix of grindcore and groove metal that works quite well. Of course, a Cavalera album is not complete without a track rife with tribal percussion and we get that on the title track. This four minute instrumental is an amalgamation of tribal beats and electronica that is both mysterious yet uplifting. Oftentimes people underestimate how musically diverse the Cavaleras are and can compose very good world music. Album closer “Excruciating” is pure butchery as are privy to an endless firestorm of fast, sharp riffs and drumming. The track’s midsection then switches gears with a slower tempo and disturbing sound effects that concludes the record in haunting fashion.
Psychosis encapsulates everything fans love about pre-1997 Sepultura with its successful blend of metal and hardcore. The songs transition seamlessly from break neck speed to mid-tempo head movers. Max, Igor, Marc and bassist Andy Rizk can play in the pocket when necessary and then breakout without hesitation. This should not surprise anyone as Max and Igor have played together for over 30 years and made some of the most influential albums in heavy metal. One of the album’s few weak spots is the lack of lead playing from Marc Rizzo. Marc’s guitar work in Soulfly is incendiary and diverse, yet he is afforded few spots on Psychosis to showcase his playing. Hopefully he will show off his chops on the upcoming Soulfly record.
Ultimately, this album is a crusher that will please fans of Sepultura and extreme metal in general. It is Max and Igor Cavalera afterall, yet these brothers do not rest on their laurels and clearly put their hearts and souls into making this record. Psychosis is a lethal dose of thrash, hardcore, grindcore and industrial making it an unpredictable, but exciting listen from beginning to end.
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