With their last two albums "Against" and "Nation" SEPULTURA did not really produce happy faces all around. For many the mix between tribal drumming, Hardcore and the rather sporadic Thrash Metal dose went a little too far. In the eyes of many old fans SEPULTURA had strayed too far from their roots. Already prior to the release of "Roorback" there've been wild speculations. Often you could hear that the new material was to be "back to the roots", comparisons with "Beneath The Remains" and even the absolute killer "Arise" made the round. But what in fact does await us on "Roorback"?
The first song "Come Back Alive" should bring a fat grin on the faces of the older SEPULTURA fans. The song is very riffy and is a pure Thrasher. Here comparisons with, e.g., "Arise" are definitely justified. Derrick Green also almost sounds like his predecessor, Max Cavalera. Less Hardcore, but more Metal in the voice. On the following three tracks "Godless", "Apes Of God" and "More Of The Same" the band steps on the break a bit again. Grooving midtempo parts are the law here. The sound is very modern, but thankfully not as experimental as on the last two albums. The screaming guitars and the partly very deep vocals make sure of the necessary Metal feeling.
The song "Urge" is a bit more experimental and would not have been out of place on the previous album. The track, in my opinion, lacks a bit of drive. But it is ok to take a breath again. "Corrupted" should guarantee some action in the pit when played live. The song is very punky and invites to a hefty round of pogo. Something has been missing so far!? Anybody noticed? Exactly, so far we did not have any tribal drumming yet! In the very dense "As It Is" we get it for the first time. I could well do without, but somehow these elements also bring in some variety. Above I had mentioned the old fans. After this they get something again. "Mind War","Leech" and especially "The Rift" thunder through the speakers straight ahead and give the banger brain the needed fodder.
With "Bottomed Out" we then get a real surprise close to the end. The song is a semiballad that at the beginning sounds a lot like country (!), but then gets heavier. With "Activist" we then get another hefty pogo song that will make the pits of the world burn. After a rather superfluous outro we get a bonus on form of the U2 (!) cover "Bullet The Blue Sky", which also is featured as video on the CD. Lyrically "Roorback" again is pretty political, btw.
After several listens I can definitely say that "Roorback" has turned out to be a big step into the right direction again. "Against" and "Nation" are strongly overshadowed. You cannot really compare this disc to any other from the SEPULTURA discography, it is an album of its own and has something from them all. Comparisons with "Beneath The Remains" or "Arise" are only partly justified. There is something for everyone. Thrash, Hardcore, Punk and few Tribals. So pure variety, but also not a real clear direction. Decide for yourself, if you'll like "Roorback". I get a lot more from this album than the two previous efforts. Listen for yourself!
Check out tips: "Come Back Alive", "Activist", "The Rift"... (Online June 21, 2003)