Sepultura veteran guitarist Andreas Kisser and drummer Eloy Casagrande supported Testament on Saturday night at the Aztec Theatre in downtown San Antonio.
The most well-known heavy metal band from Brazil has employed an American vocalist for 20 years. While it didn’t take as long for Sepultura to revisit San Antonio, it may have felt as much to Derrick Green to be accepted after the contentious departure in 1996 by vocalist, co-founder and rhythm guitarist Max Cavalera.
Saturday night’s gig at the Aztec Theatre in support of Testament, which also featured openers Prong and The Convalescence, didn’t exactly elicit chants of the band’s one-time icon accompanying the tribal pounding of a tom drum by Green. Nor should it have. Rather, Sepultura’s long-awaited return yielded unrelenting thrash by Green and his virtually original Sepultura mates Andreas Kisser on guitars and Paulo Jr. on bass. But it was the group’s newest member, drummer Eloy Casagrande, who amazed many in the crowd and earned himself the distinction of one writer’s vote for a mythical MVM award — Most Valuable Musician — among all four artists.
Casagrande, who joined Sepultura in 2011, was a machine in his own right for a band touring in support of the Jan. 13 release of Machine Messiah. The drummer, with easily the best physique among all four bands, displayed an unrelenting power that had fans muttering to their friends about how "awesome" he was. Just when you thought Casagrande was getting a breather in the midst of a song or between tunes, it turned out he was merely using that brief time to take his drumming to another level.
Testament and Sepultura could be co-headliners on most tours and, in fact, some would argue the latter could have done the honors on this one. As it was, you couldn’t go wrong with either closing the show. The Brazilian exports played an 11-song set on the third night of a tour that kicked off last Thursday in Albuquerque followed by Friday in Dallas, with five coming off the latest record. Opening with one of those tunes, "I Am the Enemy," Green showed as much force on the mic as his drummer did on the kit.
Paulo Jr. and Kisser have more than held the fort down in Sepultura playing not only with Max and his drummer brother Igor Cavalera, but also following the former’s departure 21 years ago and the latter’s defection in 2006. The veteran bassist and guitarist have forged ahead with their own strong material with Green at the helm on stage, and the singer more than justifies his presence on the classics.
Judge for yourself by watching AXS’ footage below of new track "Resistant Parasites" leading into long-time fan favorite "Refuse/Resist."
Setlist: "I Am the Enemy," "Phantom Self," "Choke," "Desperate Cry," "Sworn Oath," "Inner Self," "Alethea," "Resistant Parasites," "Refuse/Resist," "Ratamahatta," "Roots Bloody Roots"
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