Let’s face it, if Max and Igor Cavalera are doing a band together, we might as well just call it Sepultura and move on. Unfortunately in 2008, Andreas Kisser was still (and still is) dragging the Sepultura name through the mud without a founding Cavalera member apart of it. So with the name being used the Cavalera’s came up with the next best thing in their mind. Blending sounds of every Cavalera project into one, the metal community considered it the real follow-up to the Roots album in the band’s debut record, Inflikted. There was a less than stellar follow-up in 2011’s Blunt Force Trauma but the band is back with their third full length Pandemonium.

When Max Cavalera said in interviews earlier in the year that he was listening to a lot of grindcore and wanted the next CC album to sound like Nails, my brain started to melt. Not that there is anything wrong with Nails or grind. In fact, I’m a big fan of both. However, in the 30 years that he’s been making music, he’s never put out anything remotely close to a grind record. It was also rumored that the entire record would just be written by the Cavalera brothers again much in the same way that they wrote the Blunt Force Trauma record. Leaving Max to himself to be solely responsible for coming up with song structures, riffs, and lyrics in 2014 isn’t necessarily the best of ideas. For all the good things that Marc Rizzo brought to the table on the debut record, they were all discarded for the follow-up and it resulted in a mediocre record with only a handful of songs I would consider good. Well good news for everyone and Rizzo was included in the writing process for this record and Nate Newton (Converge/Doomriders) was recruited as the band’s new bassist. With these two elements brought into the fold for the completion of the new record, a style similar to what Sepultura was doing on the Arise and Beneath The Remains record has returned. It’s been years since Igor was forced to just play straight thrash beats instead of settling into the groove beats that have been his signature style since the Chaos AD record. It’s not to say it doesn’t show up from time to time but Max and Rizzo keep Igor on his toes for most of the duration of the record.

Even though I praise Max and Igor for going back to the sound that made them popular and has metal fans holding records like Arise, Beneath The Remains, and Schizophrenia in high regard, the album still comes with its own set of flaws. While Marc Rizzo is a worlds better guitarist than Andreas Kisser and writes better riffs and definitely better solos, they are unfortunately not nearly as memorable as what the duo of Max and Andreas were able to come up with in the late 80’s and early 90’s. The songs on this record are good and the album will continue to grow on me over time but nothing has jumped out and packed the punch as the first time I heard songs like Mass Hypnosis or Dead Embryonic Cells.

Another flaw comes in Max’s vocal delivery. After all this time, why switch your vocals up? It’s been 30 years and now you decide to death metal like gutturals. It’s a minor complaint and he only does them on half the songs, which in itself makes no sense, but it’s something that stood out immediately and I had to check that Max was actually singing on this record or just playing guitar.

So to sum up the TLDR review, what we have here is essentially the Sepultura record we’ve been waiting for, for years. It mostly pulls from the Arise era but with the tuning of Chaos AD and is a solid outing throughout but not nearly as memorable as its comparable albums. Still light years better than what the band that calls themselves Sepultura is currently doing. Recommended.