THE MEDIATOR BETWEEN HEAD AND HANDS MUST BE THE HEART
It's been years and years at this point, and it's astounding to me that there's so many people that still talk about the former vocalist of this band each and every time they put out a new release. It's so silly at this point. I'm the first one to agree that releases like ARISE and CHAOS AD are some of the best that have ever been recorded. For so many though that have just written off Sepultura as "dead without Max", you've missed out on a lot of truly great metal. Two of the very best albums released under the Sepultura name (A-LEX and DANTE XXI) have come fairly recently and were fronted by vocalist Derrick Green. Going back to Ross Robinson to produce it and with more fire than they have had in 15 years, THE MEDIATOR BETWEEN HEAD AND HANDS MUST BE THE HEART is the most blistering release Sepultura has put forth since SCHIZOPHRENIA, MORBID VISIONS or the aforementioned ARISE. This is some seriously punishing metal, folks.
As you make your way through MEDIATOR, you can't help but think that the old fire is back with Andreas Kisser and company. In short, the material on MEDIATOR borders on death metal time and time again, driven in large part by Kisser's maniacal guitar lines. Songs like "The Vatican" are as intense, fast and furious as anything in Sepultura's entire catalog. Kisser is mind-numbingly good on this tune, and most of the others. Vocally, Green is simply possessed by Satan throughout the entire disc. His raging is blood curdling when he roars on material like "Impending Doom". This song is, arguably, one of the best tunes in the entire Sepultura catalog. While midtempo, the riffs gallop along and have your head banging violently throughout. This song also features some old school breakdowns into ethereal ambiance that the old band used to do, which is a nice touch. It's also enhanced by some Robinson magic to make it even more spooky and punishing.
While the performances from Green and Kisser are the headliners of MEDIATOR, enough cannot be said about the immense bottom end created by longtime bassist Paulo Jr. and new drummer Eloy Casagrande. Especially in the case of Casagrande, the sound is huge underneath Green and Kisser. Not that this band has ever had anything short of legendary skilled drummers, but Casagrande is truly great. Listening to his speed and precision on songs like "Manipulation Of Tragedy", it's apparent that Sepultura is once again stabilized by an incredible drummer. He teams throughout with Paulo Jr., who takes more of a follow along approach than on past releases. The band puts it all together on the disc's best and most old school Sepultura-like song, "The Bliss Of Ignorants". This is where it all comes together - a sick bottom end, crushing riffs, and an absolutely evil vocal. In short, this is where Sepultura reminds you just how dominating they can still be.
PITRIFF RATING - 95/100 - I'm happy to call myself a fan of the Derrick Green era of this band. I scoff at people that just badmouth it and have missed so many killer albums. More than likely, those same people will miss out on MEDIATOR, and it's their own damn fault. Give up the ghost and discover something truly intense and great. MEDIATOR kills it.