Review of the Album "Nation" by Brazilian Thrash Metal Band Sepultura
How Is the Album Nation?
Brazilian thrash and death metal band Sepultura came out with an average album called Against in 1998 which was their first album without lead vocalist Max Cavalera. Their 2001 studio album is called Nation. You would think that after a decent opening song called Sepulnation the album would be a fine thrash and death metal album with the band showing that they could thrive creatively without Max. Nation is a decent album but clearly Sepultura was a better band with Max Cavalera’s guitar play and techniques. At least that’s what I thought at the time of this review. They would be forced to prove that they could carry on a good legacy and with Nation, they were able to hang in there and create a somewhat decent release.
What Does the Album Cover for Nation Symbolize?
Also, let’s keep in mind that these thoughts about the album were after the first full listen. Some albums really grow on you as it happened with Metallica’s St. Anger. The album cover for Nation is similar to that of St. Anger except there are several human fists clenched which is a sort of representation of national pride. However it has been proven throughout history that excessive nationalism can lead to destructive consequences.
The short song called Revolt has heavy shouting and it is like the band tries to be a modern version of Canada’s thrash band Annihilator but again the effort comes up short. The next song called Border Wars sees vocalist Derrick Green trying to sound like Phil Anselmo in 1992 when he sang the song called “No Good (Attack the Radical).” The album Nation is a mixture of good and not so good songs but upon further analysis or having a more open mind, I would be willing to give Nation higher marks than the album that would follow it called Roorback.
The song One Man Army has clean vocals that sound like Fear Factory combined with the incessant shouts by Derrick of “one man army." The album has the tribal style of drums in it as well. The album was so poor that it felt like it was on a level of Pantera’s The Great Southern Trendkill. This was after the first full listen through the album but it definitely is not this poor as I listen to this in 2020.
Nation: the Second Half of the Album
The song Saga is another example of the lyrical themes of the album which are about war and politics.
Uma Cura has the tribal drums. The song addresses that humans must find a cure for their sick minds. It is a sick mind combined with an aggressive need to dominate the globe. This is the kind of mentality that led to the Cold War between the US and the former Soviet Empire. Nation is not quite as good as St. Anger but it is decent even for Sepultura’s standards.
The song Tribe to a Nation describes the fact that those people that survive the political upheaval in nations must be prepared for the end which will come. Change is one of the biggest certainties in life which we must be prepared to face. The song called Politricks is a song that describes all the hard work and sacrifices that are required to create a new nation. And what we have here is clean vocals, laughing, and a heavy bass guitar sequence. The song called Reject is a song about rejecting the notions that by working hard and breaking our backs for a buck that we will be wealthy. Just because a person works hard does not mean that they will be wealthy but that’s what modern society tries to tell us. The instrumental song Valtio with the violin is a decent song.
Final Thoughts About Nation as an Album
The strongest songs in this album are Sepulnation, Vox Populi, The Ways of Faith, Uma Cura, and Who Must Die? In other words, Nation has some decent grooves on it but it cannot compare to Arise or Chaos AD. The song called Water is a soft song about being skeptical about what we read. Just because we read about something in a book or if we hear a certain piece of information from someone does not mean that what they said is true. The song encourages people to become more socially and media literate. The bottom line is that after the departure of Max, Sepultura had an okay album in Against, a decent album with Nation and their weakest album called Roorback after that. It still has some of the old-style riffing that we heard in the 1990s though which is a plus so they have not totally abandoned their old ways in this album. However, there are many fans that may be turned off by the harsh shouting in this album and fans should have been prepared for change following the departure of Max Cavalera. Nation is one of those heavy groove metal albums that takes a long time to even get used to and thus, patience is required to hang in there. Listening to Nation in 2020, it still doesn’t feel like an old album in the literal sense even though it is 19 years old. Stylistically. this sounds like a heavier version of System of a Down mixed with thrash metal. Songs such as One Man Army show that the old guitar riffing and sound is still there so there’s a consolation for some of the fans that prefer the band’s older material. It is said that we fear what we don’t know. Change is a constant and in music, bands sometimes change their style of play either for trends, exploration or to reinvent themselves. Sepultura changed as a band possibly to explore but they reinvented themselves.
Rate the Album Nation by Sepultura
© 2017 Ara Vahanian