On a miserably wet and windy February evening, a handful of dedicated fans brave the elements in the queue outside the Academy to be at the front rail. The last remaining tickets are sold soon after the doors open, and the venue fills with heavy metal fans, not just from Dublin, but from all over the world. Particularly obvious are the hoards of Brazilians who call the city their home from home. The wet weather doesn’t dampen any spirits, however, and there is a tangible sense of excitement in the air. Sepultura are back in town.
Warming up the crowd are two local bands – Killface and Warpath, the latter having already earned themselves a place on the New Blood Stage. at the Bloodstock Festival in Derby last August by winning the Metal 2 the Masses competition, and have built up a loyal fanbase. Both bands put on a great show, but there’s no hiding the fact that the crowd are really here for the headliners and are clearly saving their energy.
The show starts with ‘Trauma of War’ and ‘The Vatican’; the first two tracks as they appear on latest album The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart, and the fanatic audience prove that they are already familiar with, and approve of, this fledgling material. In total, they play six tracks from record; a ballsy decision from the band that still rely on classic tracks from their back catalogue to draw the Cavalera-era fans to their gigs. It is a well-judged decision, and the mix of several Chaos A.D. tracks including ‘Territory, ‘Refuse/Resist’ and ‘The Hunt’ (their rarely performed New Model Army cover) keeps the heads banging and the hair flying.
Interacting with the audience regularly, both in English and Portuguese, the band express their gratitude for the continued support and revel in the energetic displays of appreciation from the crowd. Chants of “Sep-ul-tura” erupt regularly and the moshpits and crowd-surfing are sure signs that the sold-out crowd are enjoying their night.
The encore of two tracks from the still seminal 1996 Roots album sees the venue erupt into a furiously fist-pumping finale. Green plays a floor tom drum for the tribal and predominantly percussive fan favourite ‘Ratamahatta’ while Kisser helps out with the incomprehensible lyrical responses. The set ends on an indisputable high note with the crowd roaring along to a stomping performance of ‘Roots Bloody Roots’.
An enduring band, Sepultura can proudly stand over their reputation and prowess, proving without a shadow of a doubt that they are capable of satiating their fans with classic tracks, but also introducing fresh new material almost without them flinching. Muito grato….