Whatever possessed the organizers to change the venue for the Brothers
Cavalera's London homecoming remains a mystery, as tonight the LA2 is
packed well beyond its capacity. The turnout is certainly no surprise: this
marks the first occasion that Igor and Max have shared a stage in the Capital since 1996, when the _Under a Pale Grey Sky_ live album was recorded at the Brixton Academy. Needless to say, the level of anticipation is palpable.
My rag-tag crew and I arrive shortly after August Burns Red has opened the evening's frivolities, but judging by the look on many an exhausted
punter's face, I may have missed a trick by opting for dinner instead of their brand of heavy. Far less sterling are the efforts of local boys, Hostile. They start off with a feint hint of promise, thanks in no small part to the hook dangling from the chorus to their first tune. From there it rolls rapidly downhill, and the decline in song quality goes hand in hand with the increasing sense that their vocalist may potentially be a complete douchebag, decked out as he is in the sort of garb Rob Halford would feel uncomfortable wearing. Imploring the crowd to "throw some fucking horns" generates about as much excitement as a half-price sale on worn underwear, and their tepid death rock fares no better, particularly in the face of tonight's main event.
As soon as the Cavaleras hit the stage and the opening chords to
"Sanctuary" echo over the house PA, the LA2 morphs into a human
tumble dryer. The band -- as you'd expect -- are clinically tight, and although there's really no guessing which two band members are held closest to Londonders' bosom, guitarist Marco Rizzo in particular more than holds his own next to the seasoned showmen. Plundering the _Inflikted_ track list, you'd think that songs like "Bloodbrawl" and "Must Kill" were the most exhilirating pieces of music the assembled throng had ever encountered in their lives.
That is, until the Sepultura classics are wheeled out. "Territory" hits first, and it all threatens to get out of hand as at least three unfortunate (read: idiot) souls are carried to safety by their cohorts. "Inner Self" garners exactly the sort of response you'd expect -- utter chaos -- as does a medley of "Arise" and "Dead Embrionic Cells". But the real highlights come in the shape of a bowel-churningly heavy "Refuse / Resist" and a take on "Troops of Doom" that sees one of the young 'uns in the Cavalera clan deliver a pitch-perfect guest spot behind the drum kit.
Tonight leaves little doubt that whatever legalities may be surrounding the moniker, the spirit of Sepultura lives and dies with the Cavaleras. And coming from someone who thoroughly enjoyed the last few Sepultura outings, that is a mighty big shout indeed.