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It was generally assumed among most that without guitarist/vocalist Max Cavalera, Sepultura would choose not to carry on, but the remaining members added vocalist Derrick Green (who often sounds much like Cavalera) and recorded Against. The results are much better than one might expect from a band that's lost its leader, as Andreas Kisser, Paulo Jr., and Igor Cavalera prove they're no slouches themselves. But the problem with Against is that it seems to lack a clear vision or direction; the band seems unsure of whether to return to the controlled, hard-hitting brevity of Chaos A.D. or the epic, experimental sprawl of Roots. And while the group's trademark ethnic fusions are present -- most notably the Japanese-flavored instrumental "Kamaitachi" (featuring the percussion troupe Kodo and some lovely flute) and the violin-centered "T3rcermillennium," two of the album's most intriguing tracks -- some of the songs don't really experiment much at all. As a result, the fusions sometimes sound forced, and some songs are too standard a brand of hardcore-tinged thrash'n'bash to match the highest points of the Sepultura catalog, even with Jason Newsted co-writing and playing on the track "Hatred Aside." So all in all, Against finds the band regrouping and struggling to recalibrate itself, which is to be expected given the circumstances; even if it's somewhat disappointing compared to the group's best work, it's much better than one might hope, and there are enough flashes of the old Sepultura brilliance to suggest that great things are still to come.

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