With their 15th studio album, Brazilian metal monarchs Sepultura deliver Quadra, a collection of 12 new songs divided evenly into four distinct musical themes. “The first part is influenced by the old school, like [our albums] Beneath the Remains and Arise—and all the bands we used to listen to from the thrash scenes of Germany and the Bay Area,” guitarist Andreas Kisser tells Apple Music. “Part two was more influenced by the Roots and Against era, where we incorporated more percussion and the tribal elements. Part three is from the instrumental world, like when we did ‘Inquisition Symphony’ on Schizophrenia in ’87 or ‘Iceberg Dances’ on Machine Messiah. And then the last part is all about melody, especially in the vocals, with a female singer as a guest on the last song. So it’s a little bit of everything that Sepultura did, but with the energy and attitude of today.” Below, Kisser takes us track by track through Quadra’s four movements. Isolation “This is the first song that was written for the album. It’s got that thrash element with the energy of today, and then [producer] Jens [Bogren] brought in a lot of the orchestra and choir elements. At first I wanted to keep it a little more raw like the old days, but we experimented a lot and it really worked out. So ‘Isolation’ is a very strong opener with a very traditional heavy metal intro into a very fast song.” Means to an End “‘Means to an End’ started when [drummer] Eloy [Casagrande] sent me this crazy drum loop and I wrote the riff over it. It’s a very powerful, very aggressive and difficult rhythm track. It was a big challenge to record and even write that song, because it’s a really crazy tempo, but it has a great atmosphere. I think it was exciting to start writing the song that way—with the drums and guitars making something really crazy together. We wrote ‘Territory’ like that [in 1993] and ‘Sepulnation’ started like that [in 2001]. I really encourage drummers to do that for me, because it’s a great way to find different ways of playing guitar.” Last Time “This was a very difficult song to finish, because throughout the whole process I did so many different edits and threw away things and brought back riffs and changed parts around. It was a very intense but necessary process, because as you hear in the song, it’s very chaotic, with vocals all over the place and really sharp structural changes, but still very powerful, very aggressive. The intention was really to close this first part of the album with a more Schizophrenia atmosphere, and the song talks about addiction to drugs or video games or sex—or anything. It’s not a pretty situation for anyone who goes through something like that.” Capital Enslavement “This is the first song of the second part. These three songs, as I said, have the groovier and more percussive stuff, and ‘Capital Enslavement’ was the first song that we wrote with that intention. The intro is very Brazilian, very tribal—a ritualistic kind of vibe—but the song is very heavy and groovy, with a kind of rock ’n’ roll feeling that is very rare for us to bring to Sepultura music. It’s a great opener for this part of the record because it really represents what this part is all about.” Ali “This song was inspired by Muhammad Ali. I think he was probably one of the best human beings around. He had such an amazing, clear mind and could express facing the challenges of his time. The song is kind of divided into three: The first part represents Cassius Clay, the Olympic champion. The second part has a musical bridge that changes the whole atmosphere of the song, which represents when he changed his name to Muhammad Ali and he said no to the Vietnam War and changed his religion and everything—as a black guy in the ’60s in America. But he was right, and so ahead of his time. And then for the last part, we have Paulo Cyrino from Babylons P—he does dub music, which kind of represents Ali’s Parkinson’s disease, which did not stop him, because he was at the Olympic Games holding the torch, even with his illness.” Raging Void “‘Raging Void’ is another one of those challenges between me and Eloy, because the tempo of the drums is completely different from the guitar, but somehow they fit together and it creates this really weird sensation. It was another situation where Eloy wrote a loop and I wrote the riff around it to create the atmosphere. We also put some melody on the vocals—the chorus is very melodic—so it gives a hint of what’s coming next as well.” Guardians of Earth “This song opens the instrumental part of the album, and I think it’s one of the most complex and crazy songs that we ever did. Musically, I think it’s one of our greatest achievements, because it brings together all the elements that Sepultura use in a very special way. I’m really proud of the guitar lead in this one—it’s my humble tribute to Ritchie Blackmore and all the Deep Purple music I love so much. I also put in a lot of acoustic and classical guitar, which was inspired by ‘Iceberg Dances,’ because we had a great time playing that song live. Lyrically, the song talks about the Amazon forest and the Indians losing their territories, especially in Brazil with this government we have. It’s a subject we always have to bring attention to, or at least try to.” The Pentagram “‘The Pentagram’ was born and conceived to be an instrumental song, and the idea was to do something in 5/4—hence the ‘pentagram’ name. Of course the upside-down pentagram is so common and popular in metal music and black metal, but we used the title because of the time signature. Again, it was a challenge, but I think [bassist] Paulo [Jr.] did his best work ever in Sepultura on this track. I think it’s an achievement really as a trio to present a song like this.” Autem “This song started also with an instrumental attitude, because it has kind of a long intro which is very percussive but also very heavy. When the song comes in, it’s very death-metal-oriented with very simple raw riffs that relate to Brazilian rhythm. I think the idea was to try to bring those two worlds together, and ‘Autem’ is what we came up with to capture that feeling.” Quadra “This was inspired by the quadrivium, the four liberal arts—geometry, numbers, music, and cosmology—which is the source of how we divided the album. It’s a classical guitar quartet in 47 seconds. I wanted to make it 44, to express this number four, the source of everything that’s happening on the album, but the music was great the way it was.” Agony of Defeat “This song has a little bit of the concept of ‘Boléro’ from [Maurice] Ravel, where you have a kind of structure that happens over and over, but when it repeats, a new element comes in. So that was the source of inspiration, and of course trying to write something in the ‘Machine Messiah’ vibe or Massive Attack vibe, with a slow pace and moods and melodic vocals. I’m very happy with the solo on this one as well. The lead guitar is something I really took my time with to make sure to put the right notes in the right place—not really improvising or anything like that.” Fear, Pain, Chaos, Suffering “On this song we have Emmily Barreto, from a Brazilian band called Far From Alaska. They’re not metal at all, but last year while we were finishing the pre-production here in São Paulo, I was invited to be part of a TV show where they put together Far From Alaska and myself to play together. We did two songs—a Bob Marley cover and ‘Ratamahatta’ by Sepultura. It was fantastic. They’re very creative and use a lot of weird instruments, and Emmily is a fantastic singer. So I invited her to do this song with us, and once she did her part, we really found the direction for the song. We actually threw away a few riffs and built the song around her voice. It was really different for us to work with a female singer, but I think it was a great way to end the album—to open new possibilities for the future.”

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