It doesn't take a metal aficionado to suggest that since Max Cavalera's fateful departure from Sepultura back in 1997, the Brazilian metal legends have been little more than a wounded dog limping through festivals and tours on the strength of a blistering back catalogue.
However, despite the lack of impression made by the past three Derrick Green-fronted albums, this band are a living homage to perseverance. Now into their 20th year as a metallic entity, the Brazilian boys are releasing a live package so comprehensive and all encompassing you might even be led to assume they are about to throw in the towel, were it not for the "in progress" work on the forthcoming Dante XXI album.
Comprising two DVDs featuring a live show filmed in March 2005 in São Paulo; a half-hour documentary on the band's history; a "making of" feature; videos; photo galleries; and the entire live set on two separate (if somewhat unnecessary) audio CDs; on paper, this is the perfect Christmas gift for any self-respecting old school metal fan.
Those who haven't kept abreast of the latest Sepultura material may be frustrated by the inclusion of tracks like Apes Of God so early on. Despite this, Sepulnation shapes up as one of the more triumphal post-Max moments, with Andre's lead solo slicing through a breakdown doomy enough to signal the onslaught of the Apocalypse.
Stacking classic tunes next to more recent numbers is a brave move, but results in the set highlight at the midway point - the audience going absolutely ape to the rhythm of Refuse/Resist. With a crowd already drenched in sweat and tiring after 50 minutes of solid thrashed-out metal, the staccato intro coupled with Igor's battering of his tom-skins sends the home crowd into a heightened state of agitation.
Even if the skip button on your DVD remote is malfunctional, you do not need me to tell you that Arise and Roots are more than worth the 70-minute wait. The former proves why, despite the acrimonious split with his brother, Igor Cavalera is one of the most respected drummers in hard music today, while the latter documents in a little over four minutes why this band can still tour - the classic material is near faultless.
The documentary is supremely amateur, but thoroughly enjoyable if you like that kind of thing. There are a few gems present such as Sepultura's tour of the Guinness factory in Dublin, which provides proof that even metalheads get over-excited.
The video clips are of a much greater standard, and although I assume that the sound of P.O.D definitive cover of U2's Bullet The Blue Sky back in 1999 never made it as far as Brazil, the Sepultura version is supplemented by an amusing video.
If you aren't already a huge Sepultura fan, then you probably won't be converted on the strength of this package alone, due in part to a mix that could be better, and the fact that their best days seem behind them. However, for those who think South American thrash is the best about then this should be top of your list to Santa.