“Live In Sao Paulo” is Sepultura’s fourth release since Derrick Green took over for departed co-founder Max Cavalera, and the group’s first live album with Derrick behind the mic. Some fans will never let go of Max and accept Derrick as Sep’s new main man, but it would be foolish not to give him a try. His vocal style is unabashedly one dimensional, but he does have a lot of potential, and (as some tracks show) even a little power. And, even though he usually isn’t quite as effective as Max, he usually does such a good job at filling in Max’s shoes that a newcomer shouldn’t be able to tell if it’s Derrick or the old guy, on such tracks as “Roots Bloody Roots.”
I don’t blame Sepultura for not playing a ton of Max-era songs, but, unfortunately, they forgot a few famous songs (i.e. “Kaiowas”) that are normally staples of their live show.
Tracks four and five on the first disc (the double bass heavy “Propaganda,” and the tribal influenced “Attitude”), are explosive songs, and both sound great, here. For track seven, Derrick announces “We’re gonna play something older here,” and the band launch into scorching renditions of “Innserself/Beneath The Remains” and “Escape To The Void.” “Innerself” is flawed, though, because Derrick tries desperately but fails miserably at keeping up with the super-fast guitars, and he ultimately gets lost in the mix. Fortunately, “Escape To The Void” (and track eleven, “Necromancer”) fly by without an audible flaw.
Songs number two and seven on the second disc (“Refuse/Resist” and “Biotech is Godzilla”) are from 1993’s “Chaos A.D.” Derrick can’t completely match Max’s catchy singing on these songs, but, musically, these songs sound perfect, and just as good as the original/studio versions. Other highlights on the second C.D. include the catchy, churning “Territory,” the blistering rendition of “Come Back Alive,” and the Sepultura classic “Roots Bloody Roots” (which sounds awesome, here). “Arise/Dead Embryonic Cells” is also almost perfect, but, unfortunately, there is a loud, unexpected, shrieking sound (which might have come from Derrick’s microphone) in the middle of the song.
Now, even I’ll admit “Live In Sao Paulo” isn’t an essential classic like Sepultura’s first live album, 2002’s “Under A Pale Grey Sky.” But it is still a good live set, and well worth putting on your shopping list if you’re a Sepultura diehard.
Finally, love him or hate him, I firmly believe that, no matter what record label they’re under, Derrick Green is the future of Sepultura, and Sepultura are definitely here to stay.