Sepultura’s 30 year celebrations continued unabated with a visit to the sweat-box that was Chester’s Live Rooms and a show that was as up close and personal with these Brazilian Thrash Metal legends as you could ever wish for.
Liverpool’s Grind Horizon  were first up and while they only had a half-empty room to play to, their Pantera-esque grooves and ferocious delivery steadily improved as the set went on and by the final Death Metal derived track, the crowd were suitably warmed up. Fellow scousers, Lazarus Syndrome  fared even better. Their tech chops and inventive riffs – replete with almost acoustic interludes only adding to the ferocity of their Heavy Metal assault – were matched by the considerable stage presence, not that there was much room to move on the shoe-box sized stage, of man-mountain frontman Peter Ford who expertly controlled the crowd now rammed into the Live Rooms intimate surroundings. With Glen Benton lows, Dani Filth highs and Neil Fallon’s lung-bursting roar, the frontman commanded the first (all be it 2 man) pit of the night and Lazarus Syndrome surely picked up a few new fans after an impressive set.
But make no mistake, the feral crowd were squeezed into a sweaty sock of a venue for one band and one band only; the mighty Sepultura . Entering the stage in almost complete darkness, roars of “Sep-ul-tura” greeted them as fists were thrust in the air and the pit breathed in massive lungfuls of air in preparation of what was to come. Exploding into “Troops Of Doom”, Sepultura belied their 30 years and as the flailing limbs of the pit connected with one another, the inimitable groove and thunderous percussion of this all-time classic wound back the clock to 1986. One song in and those in attendance knew they were witness to something very special indeed. Unleashing a greatest hits set from their considerable back catalogue, Derrick Green’s formidable vocals breathed new life into Max Cavalera-era classics; “Propaganda”, “Inner Self”, “Cut Throat”, a scintillating lesson in Thrash via “From The Past Comes The Storms” and a frankly ground-shaking “Refuse/Resist” hitting hard and prompting a rabid response from pit to balcony. The Derrick Green era seemed sadly unrepresented with the big man’s output over 17 years merely consisting of “Kairos”, “Convicted In Life”, a feral “Choke”, “Apes Of God” from the underrated album Roorback, new track “Sepultura Under My Skin”, a homage to those who’ve stuck with the band for 30 years (who hasn’t, right?) and “The Vatican” from 2013’s The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart….but who’s complaining? The setlist was otherwise faultless and a closing double-whammy of the percussionists wet-dream of “Ratamahatta” and a crushing “Roots Bloody Roots” left a room full of sweat-drenched bodies in no doubt that they’d seen a band at the top of their game.
Special, very special.