Review: Sepultura @ The Princess Theatre (Brisbane)

Sepultura played The Princess Theatre (Brisbane) on 4 December, 2023 - image © Clea-marie Thorne
With an insatiable passion for live music and photography adventures, this mistress of gig chronicles loves the realms of metal and blues but wanders all musical frontiers and paints you vibrant landscapes through words and pics (@lilmissterror) that share the very essence of her sonic journeys with you.

After playing Good Things the day prior, Sepultura extended their stay in Brisbane for a side show on Monday (4 December).

Groove metallers DepriVation (and fill-in drummer, Daniel Trickett) open the evening. They're quick to get into it, kicking up a flurry of sonic metal vibrations that hit out earholes, delighting our senses.

Heavy on the beats, they're relentless in their quest to give it their all. Punters are engaging with their melodic groove metal while their fans in the crowd are all for the friendly head-banging fray towards the barrier. Lead singer Ben Weber tells us they've had a massive year having recently returned from Wacken Open Air in Germany. Dudes – go Aussies!

Weber's vocals are like a growling beast, with the whole place now head-banging to the rhythm of their groove (from short nods to full-on whiplash mode). They've set the tone for the night with songs that included 'Burn', 'Blood Money' and 'Deceiver'.

Trickett has outdone himself, as Weber told us Trickett only had one rehearsal before their performance tonight. Weber's vocals are ferocious and the band unrelenting behind him. DepriVation has in no way deprived us of a great set. In fact, the only deprivation to be had is a lack of a longer set!

DepriVation - image © Clea-marie Thorne

Adelaide's Hidden Intent – Phil Bennett (guitar), Paul Lewis (drums) and Chris McEwen (vocals, bass) – were also on the Wacken programme. The trio open by blasting us square in the chops with 'A Place Of Horror', and more hardcore vintage vibes to feed into our veins.

As they pumped out their set with aggressive instrumentation, I may not have known all the songs such as 'Drop Bears Are Real' and 'We Are The End Of Us', but I felt like I should as they invoked a nostalgia I could almost feel and smell. Kind of like awesome music enjoyed on sticky beer-soaked carpet, enveloped in cigarette and 420 smoke (indoors, remember that?) and stale sweat unsuccessfully masked by patchouli oil! You know, that 3am reek most metal clubs would get.

I did sing-along to their Slayer cover and that cemented my appreciation of this band by another ten degrees, not to mention the lit bass chops of McEwan keeping it solid at the core. I'll be getting my ears a bit Hidden Intent in the coming days.

Hidden Intent
Hidden Intent - image © Clea-marie Thorne

Another break while the stage is set for the headliners. The stage crew have unveiled a second drum kit and Sepultura Quadra backdrop behind it can now be seen.

On hearing the intro of 'Isolation' endorphins are kicking in as heads turn from the bar to drink in the Brazilian music legends instead. Derrick Green, that giant of a frontman, never fails to astound me.

Owning the stage in a commanding way without taking the focus from Paulo Xisto Pinto Jr. (bass), Eloy Casagrande (drums) or Andreas Kisser (guitars, vocals). Yeah I know. How could anyone steal the shine from the latter. Green moves around constantly and between the other band members leading our eyes to each of them as they churn it out tight, heavy and fast.

The set list is a mixed bag of all the best lollies. Sepul-cult-classics like 'Territory', 'Attitude' and 'Kairos' share the stage with 'Quadra' tracks including 'Means To An End'. Kisser still plays like he's possessed by a devil. For 'Ali' he is so on fire I held my breath waiting for his fingers to catch alight!

Sepultura - image © Clea-marie Thorne

Bodies are engaging in mosh pit festivities as a somewhat controlled chaos ensues there, much more frantic now the headliners are onstage. Despite an older demographic in the room, there is a gravitational pull to move your body to the familiar metal mania of Sepultura music.

Random crowd surfing is occurring and Green asks security to be kind to the surfers as they come over the barrier and reminds the crowd to take care of each other. Derrick stops to let us reflect that next year is the 40th anniversary of Sepultura music – well that didn't make me feel old at all.

'Propaganda' arrived after that fun fact, the crowd lapping up the breakdown with head-banging and joining in with backing vocals: "Don't, don't believe what you see. Don't, don't believe what you read. No!"

Straight after that sweet treat we get a little more dialogue from Green as he reminds us of a need for global community and global action. That "their fight is our fight," and the following thrasher slashes into your heart and moral compass, 'Guardians Of Earth' – their tribute to the tribes of the Amazon.

Sepultura - image © Clea-marie Thorne

Kisser's guitar solos have been received with thunderous roars every time and I'm impressed he hasn't let up whipping his hair in windmills or those very-metal hair flicks. Green is showing us that he's not only big in stature but huge in voice. I reckon it has real potential to create an avalanche if he was ever let loose to roar anywhere near snow-covered mountains.

Collectively, Sepultura showed us they're a dynamic force and nowhere near done yet. Thank goodness because if there's more I'm lining up for it. The sound, the stage lighting, the music, the shared bonding are making tonight a very memorable Sepultura show.

The energy exchange in the Princess tonight is what many would describe as palpable. It becomes a magnetic force forged from the binding of our collective live music experience and it flowed between us unbridled and free to stimulate us even further.

We are now singing "Chaos A.D. Tanks on the streets. Confronting police." After this bloody brilliant live encounter with 'Refuse/Resist', we get an insane Chimera for an encore. An encore that we eagerly allow to pummel our ears!

Starting with the furious strains of 'Arise' the crowd lose their collective sh.t, only to throw arms wildly above heads at the intro beats of the band's song paying homage to disadvantaged Brazilians. Yeah baby! It's the tribal feels of 'Ratamahatta', which cannot be denied as we tap into that magnetic energy and cut loose just a little bit more. It's not as if Casagrande's drumming hasn't already driven us wild tonight, but having him hitting the tubs to this track here and now, is pure magic.

Sepultura - image © Clea-marie Thorne

I feel like I might overdose on my own serotonin as I recognise the start of the classic crusher, 'Roots Bloody Roots'. I forgot what it was like to get vocally primal and growl out "Roots! Bloody roots!" so low and deep over and over again. It is exhilarating and cathartic at the same time.

I feel like I am back in 1996, listening to the album of the same name. From memory, I remember keeping my paper ticket safe, waiting impatiently for June 1997 to rock around for Sepultura to play live at Festival Hall (Brisbane).

Here I am, some 25-odd years later among kindred spirits still loving their music and grateful the old tunes are still being played live along with the new music that seriously kicks butt and continues to be created in the hard and heavy Sepultura way – and that's just the way I like it!

More photos from the concert.

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