Cavalera Conspiracy/Incite at the
Manchester Academy, England Nov. 10 2023
A special review written and photographed by David Bronstein
Although I was lucky enough to see the original incarnation of Sepultura on a few occasions I hadn't seen either Max Cavalera or his brother Igor Cavalera since 1996. A lot has happened since then of course with Max leaving Sepultura and forming the very successful Soulfly. There was a problem though- a family one Igor stayed with Sepultura and the brothers stopped talking for nearly a decade. Fast forward to today and the brothers are not only talking to each other but they are in the same band, Cavalera Conspiracy who have been around for 16 years; indeed it's a real family affair. On bass is Max's son Igor Amadeus Cavalera and here they are at the 2,500 capacity Manchester Academy on their latest European tour.
The venue is buzzing and while there are many different age groups here most fans are around my age, having grown up and watched brutal music in the 1990s, there really is an anticipation at the Academy because Max as a leading front man was right up there with Phil Anselmo in the 90s as one of the most important frontmen of thrash metal and hardcore punk. With age it could be argued that if you're playing this type of music you're going to lose an edge and while we all get older and a little wearier that doesn't seem to affect Max and his band. Getting older also brings out more experience but you watch Max and he is maximum, he has also felt more real and genuine than the pretenders before and after him, despite his obvious success Max has always stayed true to himself.
But let's talk about the support band first who are called Incite. The band have been together for 19 years and remember how we said before about this show being a family affair? Well vocals come from Richie Cavalera who is the step-son of Max. You can tell straight off the bat that the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree; Richie is a beast of a frontman and the music as you would expect is brutal. Richie has the energy of the sun as he storms through the Academy stage. Sometimes with support bands the fans are not fully into them and are just waiting for the headliners or at least consuming their energy and while there are no crowd surfers just yet; the mosh pit is conceived during Incite's set. The band kick off with 'Up in Hell' and even with soup in a song title it is rounded off by being called 'War Soup'. The majority of songs come from last years release Wake Up Dead the bands sixth album which Kerrang! once described as having the sound of Freddy Krueger fronting Sacred Reich. I think all at HMS love that idea!
Cavalera Conspiracy enter the stage just before 9.30pm and launch into 'Bestial Devastation' oddly enough someone in the crowd is wearing a Celine Dion t-shirt. It's not clearly apparent if this was for a dare or a joke. Maybe some kind of space time continuum has plopped them at the Academy in the middle of a Celion Dion epic moment what is apparent and stealing a line from The Wizard of Oz 'you're not in Kansas anymore'. 'Antichrist' and the delightfully titled 'Necromancer' follow, rounded up by 'Warriors of Death', it is an incredible start as the band open up with the 1985 Sepultura EP Bestial Devastation. Truly back in the day fans could only have dreamt this up.
We are then launched into Morbid Visions Sepultura's debut album which was released in 1986. This is a set and tour that celebrates 80's thrash and Sepultura and these are deep dives for hardcore fans, which makes this a unique tour. We do get a couple of tracks from 1993s Chaos Ad a record that was a huge hit for the band and where they even flirted with the mainstream. Certainly that album helped propel them as one of the biggest thrash metal bands of their era. So it shouldn't be a surprise that we get two of the albums best and well known tracks in tonight's set list which are 'Refuse/Resist' and 'Territory'. But there are more brilliant surprises to come. Jeff 'JJ' Janiak from Discharge and Shane Embury from Napalm Death no less join Max and his band for the Discharge cover 'Protest and Survive' and then the band launch into a Napalm Death track 'You Suffer'. It has been an incredibly special night and it is so cool to witness 3 family members in the same band. Even though Igor and Max have made up years ago it never gets old seeing Igor backing up the band and seeing a new generation in the other Igor on bass. Let's not forget Travis Stone on guitar who was a year old the last time I had witnessed Max and Igor in a live setting. He holds his own as a touring member of the band, by the way his full time band is Pig Destroyer and it is worth checking them out.
The Cavalera family have come to Manchester and their music was so vicious they even stopped the rain! (it rains here basically every day of the year). There's was a triumphant return even if a few ear drums may have popped, there is nothing like seeing the greats of their genre continue to be so brutal.
David Bronstein, HMS