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Review of the Album A-Lex by Brazilian Thrash Metal Band Sepultura

Updated on March 10, 2023
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Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

This Album's Title Has Some Real Significance To It

Sepultura is a band that took some time to grow on me musically as I listened to the albums that were recorded with Derrick Green on vocals. “A-Lex” is this group’s 2009 studio album and this one is worth a listen and review especially since I was able to establish a better feel for their 2003 album Roorback. The album’s title has particular significance to it. The album’s title means no law or without law. The album is also based on the book “A Clockwork Orange” by author Anthony Burgess. Sepultura still has a variety of acoustic parts in addition to their heavy parts.

Why A-Lex Is Such a Varied Album by Sepultura

So through the first listen of 2009’s A-Lex I would say that it is a better album than Nation or Roorback so Sepultura 25 years into their career by this point in 2009 show that they can still sound good and have perhaps the most varied thrash metal album at least that I have heard up to this point. But if we really want to dig deep and to really review an album, we have to listen though it really good at least twice. Obviously, A-Lex is not as good of an album as Arise back in 1991 but it is a much more varied album than that one. The reasons for A-Lex being a varied album are because it is a concept album, it has 4 Sepultura created instrumental songs plus a redo of at least 2 songs by the great German composer Ludwig Van Beethoven.

A First Analysis of the Album "A-Lex"

After the first heavy instrumental song, immediately Sepultura starts their speed fest with the fast song Moloko Mesto. Filthy Rot is a song that Sepultura uses constant, incessant picking and they kind of switched back to what we would have heard back in 1993. “We’ve Lost You” is a heavy song that reminds us that death is a part of life as if we already didn’t know that. The song starts with a beautiful acoustic part as well. A-Lex 2 is the second instrumental song in this album and this one has atmospheric instrumental sounds for a little while before the heavy groove filled guitar play starts. Sadistic Values has a very heavy groove influence in it but is it a good groove? It depends what you are looking for. A-Lex 3 is the third instrumental song in this album and once again, we have this heavy groove in this album and for some listeners, this groove and heavy guitar can get kind of stale. Derrick Green sounds kind of like a hardcore metal vocalist, sort of different from the way that Max sang when he was in this band. Max Cavalera had that rough voice that sounded more like death metal so that’s why Sepultura felt like they were more of a death metal band but Sepultura can be considered a thrash and death metal hybrid in the musical sense. A-Lex 4 has some atmospheric sounds that make it sound like a video game but it is still beautifully written.

"Moloko Mesto" With the Intro Part In It

Derrick Green of the Band Sepultura Back in 2007


The Usefulness of Vocalist Derrick Green Is Shown in A-Lex

By the time we get to the song called “The Treatment” there is a weird repetitive sound but one of the riffs is good enough to be pretty darn good for these Brazilian guys and one American. In fact, the website AllMusic gave their perspective, saying that there was a time where the idea of Sepultura recording material without Max Cavalera seemed like an absurd idea or a long-shot. They described Green as a fine replacement.

Derrick Green Is a Good Enough Replacement for Max Cavalera Because

Well, I would agree with this assessment to a point. Derrick’s accent is easier for many people to grasp compared to Max and for the more groovy thrash metal style that Sepultura used after they recruited him he is a good replacement for Max.

A-Lex Is a Much Better Album Than Many Might Give It Credit For

This concept album by the best thrash metal band in Brazil’s history is varied, interesting and at times really good! When I say interesting, there is one part of this album that may catch some listeners off guard. There is a song called Ludwig Van in which Sepultura does their own variations of 2 of Ludwig Van Beethoven’s pieces including the one called The Marriage of Figaro. There are obviously going to be people that wonder why a heavy metal band like this would do a cover version of 2 classical music pieces when this is a very heavy groovy thrash metal album. The concerns are understandable for those that thin doing 2 classical song covers would hurt an album but in this case, these performances actually help give this album a better musical standing. It gives our ears a much needed break form the constant heavy, groovy thrash metal that we hear on this album. The strong songs in A-Lex are many including Moloko Mesto, Filthy Rot, We’ve Lost You, and A-Lex 4 as well as the classical song covers.

Final grade for Sepultura’s A-Lex: 85 points out of 100

© 2019 Ara Vahanian


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