Hot on the heels of their epic two-year 30th Anniversary tour, thrash metal titans Sepultura are reloading for the onslaught of a brand new era with the release of their fourteenth album Machine Messiah. Looming on January 13 2017, Machine Messiah is a huge album that showcases Sepultura in their most innovative, passionate and energetic form of recent decades. As the new year dawns, Metal As Fuck caught up with guitarist Andreas Kisser to find out more about Machine Messiah and the new chapter in Sepultura’s long, eventful career.
Machine Messiah hits hard, cuts deep. How do you describe the themes and concepts that are running through this Machine Messiah? “Its an album that we really wanted to expand and explore to our musicianship at the highest level, to break our limits, and do something that we never did before. Every album, Sepultura likes to bring something new. You know, we change producers to have a different perspective, different studios, different environment, everything really helped to take Sepultura to new experiences and a new level, and, you know. Machine Messiah, lyrically and conceptually, it talks about the ‘robotisation’ of society, what we see today, not like a sci-fi futuristic idea, rather what we see on the daily basis. So, we talk a little bit about that, where is the balance? Because it seems that the robots are not bringing anything positive, you know, we are getting lazier and dumber. Robots are doing to job for us instead of helping us to develop our human abilities, to develop or brain further, to have a better connection with nature, there are so many different frequencies and energy around, where we cannot explain, we cannot interact, connect, you know, so, in a way we touches many different subjects throughout society today, and we see robots everywhere, so I mean we just try to discuss this, ah, balance, you know.”
How have you approached this, your fourteenth album? “I mean, it feels like a new chapter in our career, especially because we are just finished a three-year tour promoting The Mediator Between the Head and Hands Must be the Heart, our last album, we played everywhere, so many different situations and ah, celebrated thirty years of a career which was an amazing mark to celebrate, we went everywhere as I said, we are celebrating thirty two years now, it was nice to see the stretch that we could do with our thirty-year celebrations, it was important to, let’s say, wrap up this first part of our history, you know, Machine Messiah feels like a new beginning , a new chapter of this book which is our history. It gives us ground to be even more free, to try out new things, to explore new ideas, and new rhythms, new sounds, instruments and everything you know, so ah, it was very important to us to make this thirty years celebration and to tour, to be on the road, to play old stuff, songs that we didn’t play for so many years, it gave us ground, really, to make sure everything we did up to that point and now we can go different places and try out new things, so ah, I think Machine Messiah it is that new chapter in our life, you know.”
It’s certainly a very energetic and reinvigorated chapter. How do you feel that Machine Messiah’s track listing has innovated or developed on Sepultura’s sound? “Ah, that was one of the most important parts of all, you know, to have that ah, album idea. We wrote the album thinking about the final format – which song’s supposed to open, what song supposed to ah, close the Side A, we wrote the specific song, you know, to open Side B, you know, that kind of stuff that really helped to create this magic which, ah, the album concept, it’s magical, you know, like something that is very traditional in the metal world, you know, you see nowadays, these pop idols and divas releasing singles and you know, killing the magic of it all…that’s another type of ‘robotisation’ of art, its like …metal it…it…doesn’t belong there. I mean, we still like the album, the concept, the cover, all the details, you know, like to the buy the shirt, have all the formats, you know, available, and collect that, ‘cause its something you are going to show to your kids and grandsons, you know, later. I mean, the metal world, it has that family tradition, … so ah, I think that’s the magic of it all, you know, going to a store, buying a vinyl, arriving home, putting the vinyl, you know, digest all the music, and the cover, the artwork, you know, and it’s great that vinyl is back, with a vengeance, and this really helped us to build that type of atmosphere, for sure.”
How would you describe the overall experience or narrative of Machine Messiah? “Yeah I mean like I said we talk about the Machine Messiah, the first song, is more about this religious idea of this ‘messiah’ coming, and resolve everybody’s problems, so like all the anxieties, you know, he’s gonna fight evil and the world’s going to be good just because you believe this messiah is going to come and resolve all your problems and it’s the opposite, you know, all the problems and solutions are inside yourself, you know, you create your own concepts and preconceptions according to your culture, to your education which school did you go, what type of family you have, you all that kind of stuff, you know, what kind of society you grew up with , the religion, less religion, more religion, and ah, don’t blame it on anybody else. I Am The Enemy, the next song, talks about that, you know, you are your own enemy, you are your own source of, ah, solution, don’t blame government, the other fucking religions, or the phobias that we have so much nowadays you know its everything within you, you know. Iceberg Dances, although it doesn’t have lyrics, we talk about global warming and all the movement the icebergs has, they’re never in the same place, and the consequences of this global warming in everywhere in the world. Resistant Parasites talks about the more defined genes on seeds, food and stuff like that…we don’t know what we eat anymore… all this hunting for this vegetarianism and veganism, you know, that is growing so much, people try to get cleaner and eat better and stuff, and ah… Alethea talks about politics, truth and all that stuff, Donald Trump and all the political situation in Brazil and everywhere we see a kind of robotic influence, so we could talk about different subjects without really losing the overall concept.”
Well, there sure is a strong political aspect to Machine Messiah. Is music for you a powerful medium through which to demonstrate your opinions? “Oh yeah it is one of the most powerful tools, music…you see in religion as well as politics…music’s very much used for implanting new ideas and new concepts and to intimidate even, with an idea, especially in religion and church music and stuff that like that…it is a tool that you have to have a responsible attitude to as well, so that’s why we like to use our to music to pass on our point of view, you know, and we have the privilege to travel the world, to see countries more developed, using more technology, other countries with less technology, and we see the differences on the society, how they eat, what they eat, how they go to work, how they go to leisure time and you know stuff like that, and observing that, it keeps our mind with ideas and references that you can balance and then create your own point of view, you know, and its great that we go with so many different cultures that our music reaches so many different places that we can debate or have conversations with many different people from many different cultures about the same subject, which is very healthy, you know, its amazing that we have this privilege and this capability of using our music to do that. I think it’s a powerful tool, for sure.”
So you have plans to tour again with Machine Messiah? “Oh definitely, touring is our life, I mean, we love to be on stage. It’s on stage where everything happens, you know, the moment, ah, of music, its when we have the interaction with the fans and the crowd, that’s where the music is performed, you know, in a unique way. We could play the same song every day but every day is a different situation, a different experience. Pretty soon we are going to announce new dates, and hopefully Australia will be announced soon.”
In a final question, the guitar work on Machine Messiah is phenomenal, it really sounds like you have had a lot of fun producing this, what does this album mean to you as a guitarist? “Well, thankyou very much! It was really hard work, like I said, we wanted to really explore our best musicianship abilities, you know, I use around twelve guitars, you know, my own and Jens Bogren the producer have so many instruments in the studio and for specific parts you know specific guitars and tunings, and the acoustic guitar, ah, the classical part on the instrumental song, and I really worked every lead, you know, in every detail, I really wanted to build something very special. Of course we always leave room for improvisation and things like that but we were very keen to do everything on the right place, you know, on the right time and Jens Bogren was really perfect, and really helped us to build the type of feeling, and he brought the idea to use the violins from Tunisia which opened a lot of new possibilities for my guitar playing, you know, especially on lead guitar, and it was amazing, you know, using lots of pedals, and lots of guitar amps as well. I’m very happy with my guitar performance for sure, it’s something that was hard work but ah, listening now it was worth it.”
Machine Messiah is out January 13 2017 via Nuclear Blast.