Well, after spending the last two days studying this album closely, I just want to say I think the band deserves more credit than I initially gave them. So it doesn’t sound like old Sepultura. Why should it? Without their mighty leader, without Max, of course they’ve had to change. The Roots/Chaos A.D. direction continues with Max in Soulfly, but Sepultura actually hasn’t done a bad job here. The album is more simple than previous Sepultura releases, as far as its lack of frenetic guitar rhythms, pace changes, and solos is concerned. But the guys have compensated for that with more experimental ideas presented in a wide variety of textures: while there are some more subtle, relaxed instrumentals focusing on ethnic Brazilian and Japanese music such as “Tribus,Kamaitachi” and “T3RCERMILENNIUM,” there are plenty of punk-based and groove-oriented songs, with a handful of thrash tunes featuring Jason Newsted and old friend Joao Gordo thrown in. Overall, this album doesn’t have the intensity Sepultura flaunted with Max. But make no mistake, this is still metal. As for Derrick, I think it’s amazing a guy from Ohio was brought into the world’s most famous (formerly) Brazilian band. Guess they’re 1/4 American now, huh? I bet he is honored and is trying very hard to earn his place in such a demanding role. Give him a chance. I think the lyrics he’s contributed have even influenced the songwriting to create an American feel for some of the songs. He clearly has a strong set of lungs and can sing just fine for this kind of music. Please don’t jump on him. If he’s who the band wanted, don’t you think they know what they were looking for in a vocalist? After all, it was THEIR decision, whether you like it or not. In sum, this is obviously not a technical speed fest like Arise or a slow-crunch/power chord work like Roots or Chaos A.D. But like I said, it doesn’t need to be. “Against” marks a new era for Sepultura, apparently one with wide horizons and plenty of time and space for creative heavy metal, and the production is solid. If you don’t like the new style, that’s cool. But I’m finally getting what they’ve done here, and you know what? I dig it!