For those of a certain age, seeing Max and Igor Cavalera sharing a stage is something to get very excited about. The first time I saw the two brothers touring together, they played in Brazilian metal superstars Sepultura at a club in Manchester where the temperature was off the scale. Considering that we’re barely a few miles from that no longer existing venue, it seems strange that the Academy in Manchester is only just three-quarters full by the time the Cavalera brothers walk out onto the stage to perform their classic Morbid Visions / Bestial Devastation set.
Keeping it in the family, opening on the tour are Arizona thrashers Incite a band fronted by Richie Cavalera, Max’s stepson. “We’re Incite, and we play heavy fucking metal,” announces Cavalera as the Arizona band kicks off their set. It’s a blunt statement but, witnessing the band pummel through the next forty or so minutes, it’s not far from the truth. There are no airs and graces about their material; it’s route one metal taking the groove of Pantera and glueing it to the sledgehammer delivery of Lamb of God with Cavalera encouraging everyone to “smoke fuckin’ weed” as he bids his farewell.
Formed back in 1984, Sepultura hit their peak from 1989 to 1996 with their four iconic albums, Beneath The Remains, Arise, Chaos A.D, and Roots, setting the bar for extreme metal for all future bands. Of course, we all know the acrimonious split which has dogged the various members since the news broke of their split. Both parties have gone on to different levels of success, but, judging by the similarity between the Cavalera logo and the original Sepultura logo, the band is still something extremely close to the frontman’s heart.
“This is the real Sepultura,” snarls the vocalist as the quartet hurtles into “Antichrist” from the Bestial Devastation side of the set. Delivered with venomous rage, the guitars buzz, the dreadlocks fly about, and the frontman spits out the lyrics. It may be 2023, but close your eyes for a minute, and it almost felt like being back jostling for a space in that grotty Manchester nightclub again. Recreating that raw energy, Cavalera smashes through the likes of “Necromancer” and “Crucifixion,” embracing everything that brought these denim and leather-clad thrashers to the attention of the world in the 1980s.
While most fans would be happy to see both parties bury the hatchet, judging by the comments at the beginning of this night of metal, that would be as far from happening now as it was back in the day. It’s a sad state of affairs, and, while we should be grateful that metal fans get two for the price of one, experiencing the Cavalera brothers like this in full flow, it keeps on showing us what we’re really missing out on.