Never let it be said that Sepultura are not ambitious. A-Lex is a concept album whose lyrics were inspired by Anthony Burgess' book A Clockwork Orange, which was the basis for the Stanley Kubrick film. And the impressive thing is that Sepultura pull this off without sounding either geeky or pretentious. For all its intellect, this early-2009 release doesn't sacrifice anything when it comes to intensity; this is a vicious, loud sledgehammer of an album, and the kids in the mosh pit will have no problem connecting with alternative metal scorchers like "Filthy Rot," "The Treatment," "Paradox," and "Forceful Behavior" on a gut level. The Clockwork Orange angle is intriguing if one has either read Burgess' book or seen Kubrick's 1971 film, but for metalheads, the bottom line is that Sepultura have no problem bringing the noise -- and Derrick Green's angry lead vocals are an important part of A-Lex's intensity. There was a time when the idea of Sepultura recording without Max Cavalera (their former lead singer) seemed unthinkable; Cavalera played a vital role on pre-Green albums such as 1991's Arise and 1993's Chaos A.D. But the incendiary Green turned out to be a fine replacement after Cavalera left Sepultura to form Soulfly in 1996, and he certainly helps bassist Paulo Jr., guitarist Andreas Kisser, and drummer Jean Dolabella get the job done nicely on A-Lex. Paulo, it should be noted, is the only remaining member of Sepultura's original 1984 lineup. Personnel changes can have a very negative effect on a band, but Sepultura have maintained their vitality all these years -- and that vitality is alive and well on the superb A-Lex.
Performance CreditsSepultura Primary Artist
Andreas Kisser Guitar,Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Fernando Lopez Trumpet
Mario Sergio Rocha French Horn
Alejandro DeLeon Viola
Derrick Green Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Fábio Brucoli Violin
Paulo Xixto Bass
Alex B. Ximenes Violin
Sergio Roberto de Oliveira Bass
Jean Dollabella Drums
Technical CreditsAndreas Kisser Arranger,Composer
Derrick Green Composer
Eric Sanchez Picture
Monika Bass Cavalera Executive Producer,Management
Marco Antonio Piza Artwork
Stanley Soares Producer,Engineer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A-Lex based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
I have an old college roommate and (still a good friend) who is a thrash/speed metal man. During our stint rooming together,there was one day that we sat around drinking a few beers and he broke out Sepultura's Chaos A.D. It was fantastic to say the least. When I'm in the mood for something that makes me feel like I want to drive 100+ mph, Chaos A.D. is quickly in hand. I also bought and listened to Roots but not nearly as much as Chaos. After Roots, Max Cavalera was out of the band and I didn't really follow Sepultura anymore. Oddly enough, I didn't latch on to Max's new bands Soulfly or Cavalera Conspiracy either.
I had heard from my friend that Sepultura really went back to their thrash roots after Max's departure. I'm sure that's true but I'd say with A-Lex they're walking a line somewhere between full-on assualt and the heavy melodic power of Chaos. A-Lex is a concept album based on A Clockwork Orange and I believe it shows through pretty well. A-Lex, by the way, is a modified form of the Latin phrase for "without law" (ab+ lex).
All of the songs titled as "A-Lex" (i.e. I, II, III, and IV) begin with electronic intros, lead into a pounding instrumental, and then transition back out with some electronic sounds. It's almost as if these pieces serve as segues between different portions of a musical storyline and they do so pretty successfully. My only gripe is that the album starts off with one and it was a big of a stutter start to the album. After the first track, "Moloko Mesto" is some blazing thrash. THIS is more of what I expected. The album has a great flow to it. Most of the songs are short and to the point while keeping your blood pumping. The tracks go from thrash to some more melodic metal to a concept song to thrash, etc., etc. When I say more melodic metal, think Pantera's "Walk". The screaming is there. The energy is there. And this ain't no Metallica Black Album. These guys mean business. Then they throw in another "A-Lex" track to remind you that it's a concept album.
There were some songs on here that had a bit of a different feel to them. "Sadistic Values" is the longest song on the album at 6:50 and it has about three minutes of a dark and mellow electronic intro followed by some thrash. "Metamorphosis" seems to have aimed for a much darker sound than many of the other songs. "Filthy Rot" gives you some of those classic Sepultura drums like "Refuse/Resist" did on Chaos. "The Experiment" sounds like it was lifted right off the Chaos album. The only song that really sticks in my side is "Ludwig Van". It has orchestral strings with the occasional guitars thrown in an attempt to make it sould like Beethoven if he wrote for a metal band. My issue is that it ends up sounding more like one of those lame Trans Siberian Orchestra commercials. It flat out bites.
"Ludwig Van" aside, I really like A-Lex even if the title tracks break it up into pieces. I made the comparison earlier in the review and I'll expand on it here. I believe if you take out the "A-Lex" tracks and "Ludwig Van", you have an album that's got a pretty similar feel to Pantera's Far Beyond Driven or The Great Southern Trendkill. You'll see mosh pits in your mind without the music ever getting monotonous in the way that some thrash does. If you liked Chaos A.D. or Pantera, get it.