Live Review: Max & Iggor – Reutrn Beneath Arise – Birmingham

Live Review: Max & Iggor - Return Beneath Arise - Birmingham
Review by Tim Finch

The early days of Sepultura are heralded as some of the bands best, from their UK debut supporting (and blowing away) Sodom through the early album releases of Bestial Devastation, Morbid Visions and Schizophrenia. They built up a following, it grew and grew as did their reputation. From 1989 onwards the new kids on the block had become established and ground breaking albums Beneath The Remains and Arise were released.

From here the Sepultura story is well known, you don't need me to repeat it here. The songs from the critically acclaimed Beneath the Remains and Arise rarely get a live airing these days, and when they do it's just a sporadic one or two. But the older generation of fans would love to revisit that time of their youth where Seputura were at the cutting edge of heavy music.

This December the Cavalera brothers have decided to bring those two classic albums back to the live arena under the banner 'Max and Iggor: Return Beneath Arise'. The thought of such a tour got most fans just more than a bit excited and we head off to Birmingham to evaluate the brothers decision. Will it live up to the golden days of their old band? Will they be able to recreate the intensity of the live shows from back in the day? We shall see.

Opening up are Healing Magic, pretty much unknown in the UK and some post gig research shows they feature one of Max's sons in their ranks which would explain their billing on the tour. Main support are the mighty Conan, who seem to go from strength to strength. The north western UK doom metal trio are unlike any doom band you have witness before. The bass, that bass... it's low, it's dirty, you feel it. Wave after wave of bass line hitting you, shaking you, destroying you. All whilst Jon Davis' guitar screeches and vocals batter the senses. The only way to understand how Conan make the listener feel is to see them live and in front of a packed house they delivered on point.

When Iggor Cavalera appears from the back of the stage and stands tall on his drum riser, the crowd erupts, this is what they have all been waiting for. Following shortly on is his brother Max an unmistakable figure; stocky, dreadlocked hair, unkempt beard, distinctive growl acknowledging the town he is performing in tonight. Without any fuss they launch into 'Beneath the Remains' the title song from the first of two albums being featured today.

It takes a few minutes for both the band and the crowd to click, as the song rumbles on the atmosphere builds and the crowd get rowdy. When 'Inner Self' follows on the pit goes wild. Max mentions their first ever UK shows (with Sodom) as they drive through the opening half of the set, the crowd tonight hark back to that tour - they are older now, but their appetite for the Brazilians extreme brand of music does not let up.

The first half of the set features songs exclusivly from the 'Beneath the Remains ' album; 'Stronger Than Hate', 'Mass Hypnosis', 'Slaves of Pain' etc. Accompanying the brothers are Max's Soulfly bandmates Marc Rizzo and Mike Leon and it has to be said between Iggor and Marc the two of them hold the band together. Iggor near perfection on the drum stool, but Marc is the driving force of the sound - every tune he holds together and without him I dread to think what this show would sound like. Whilst the show as a whole is fantastic, Max adds little depth or meaning on his own guitar and at times you wish he'd just put it down and concentrate on vocals.

The second half of the set focuses on the 'Arise' album, the title track followed by 'Dead Embryonic Cells', 'Desperate Cry', 'Altered State' and more before rounding off with the cover of Motorhead classic 'Orgasmatron'. Again the set is highlighted by Rizzo's performance amazing guitar work and some sublime solos to boot.

When the band return for an encour they have some guests with them - Janiak and Bones of Discharge. At this point Max goes vocals only with Bones taking over guitar duty. They perform two Discharge covers which sound fantastic, this highlights why Max focusing on vocals is the way forward. With second guitar duties lying elsewhere it really clears the sound of the line up, it's a change Max should really consider making.

A crowd sing along to Black Sabbath's 'War Pigs' signals the beginning of the end of the set before its topped off with a medley of 'Beneath The Remains', 'Arise' and 'Dead Embryonic Cells' which gives the pit one last hurrah before its all over.

Ultimately the night was a way to reminisce on late 80's/early 90's Sepultura. The crowd were just as wild as the shows back then. The music just as violent, the atmosphere just as electric. Some band members may not be the same performers as they were in their heyday, but that doesn't lessen the impact the show had. Without an original Sepultura reunion - which will probably never happen - this was the best any of their fans will get to that old school Sepultura vibe.

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