With 'The Mediator' Sepultura venture into territory that is more raw and heavy than anything they have done since 1989's 'Beneath the Remains'. The songs are more death metal influenced, most of them are uptempo, and the whole production (by Ross Robinson) gives the album a very raw edge. This is notable from the get-go, with the razorshap opener 'Trauma of War', a blistering thrasher. Much of this is due to the influence of young new drummer Eloy Casagrande, who infuses the album with his youthful energy and impeccable technique. Among the uptempo violence, 'Impending Doom' is a breather in a sense, giving us a more slow track, very heavy and initially remniscent of a band like Gojira, while later on in the song showing some flavour of their own 'A-Lex' record. 'Grief' is another odd man out, being a ballad of sorts, which alternates between soft verses (with great clean singing) and a heavy chorus which works very well. The rest of the album is thrash and death heaviness galore with some groove here and there, but mostly relentless thrashy drumming and riffing. Especially notable is Derrick Green's performance on this disc. He delivers a very versatile performance and sounds like a veritable madman at times. Yet even within the madness there is room for nuance and variety, with each song getting a different treatment while staying brutal. Amazing.
2011's 'Kairos' was already a great album, and 2013's 'The Mediator' shows us an even heavier, rawer, more intense Sepultura. Obviously, they have enough energy and creativity in them to go on for another decade or more. A must buy.