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Left with only one original member in the fold (Andreas Kisser for those keeping score), Sepultura continues to trudge on Cavalera-less with the entity's latest release A-LEX, a conceptual album based on cult novel A CLOCKWORK ORANGE by Anthony Burgess. This 18-track affair attacks with the fervor this act has championed since the split in 1997, audibly conveying a commendable slab of the throbbing tribal stomp and unabashed heaviness this band helped to invent back in the early '90s ("What I Do", "The Treatment"). Sounding as sharp and blistering as ever ("Sadistic Values", "Strike"), especially vocally thanks to Derrick Green's seething submergence into venomous death metal pits of despair ("Moloko Mesto"), there's even a few of the band's trademarked nuances revisited here ("Filthy Rot", "The Treatment", "The Experiment"), properly placed to efortlessly flow into the group's current paradigm. As with virtually every concept album, A-LEX suffers from some bloat (the off the mark classical homage "Ludwig Van" seems too self-indulgent even though it fits storyline wise), yet the good outweighs the bad here long enough to keep the skip button from getting hit. Sepultura will probably never be the same as the glory days sans a full-on reunion, but this incarnation's noble flying of the flag and willingness to take risks overall renders a rewarding listening experience for those tuned in to this trailblazing troupe's new directives.
- Mike SOS