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As the third decade of the twenty-first century opens, we face a world driven to madness and despair by a master so reckless, destructive, and jealous, yet powerful, seductive, and elusive. That master is money, and it knows no mercy. At the threshold of this turbulent new decade, stands Quadra, the latest album from thrash metal titans Sepultura.
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“We kept everything in fours,” explains Sepultura’s vocalist Derrick Green, “it started with the idea from Andreas [Kisser, guitarist], he had been reading this book called Quadrivium [Miranda Lundy, 2010] and this book talked about the four classic liberal arts: numerology, geometry, music and cosmology.
This idea expanded into numerology as far as the number four is significant. Also for us what it meant, we are a band, we’re a four piece; we come together and are able to create a powerful sound, a heavy sound. The album was written into four different parts, having elements of the entire Sepultura history in those different parts. So this is something that we could really relate to. So with this idea we were also able to use the word Quadra, which is Portuguese for like a playing field, and within this playing field there are certain rules you abide by and that is definitely how life is in a way, where everyone is living in their own quadra, their own area, and there are certain laws you abide by, the ones you sometimes don’t question and think about, and we wanted to write about living with them, this confinement, and also breaking free of these confinements.”
Everyone is dictated by money. You know, you cannot live without it. You need it for food, shelter, for security. It’s really something that for some reason everyone has agreed upon and it’s a type of enslavement that everyone is living upon.
[ Derrick Green ]
“Despite all the differences of different quadras that people live in,” Green continues, discussing the coin motif on the album cover, “Everyone is dictated by money. You know, you cannot live without it. You need it for food, shelter, for security. It’s really something that for some reason everyone has agreed upon and it’s a type of enslavement that everyone is living upon. The coin was a good representation of the monetary unit that we are all enslaved by and the Cesar-type head for the laws and dictators, and the map on the head–if you look on the skull there is a map of the world–those delusionary lines that we made up as boundaries from each other and different places. Pretty deep I guess, the whole idea of the album. But we were truly feeling it; we wanted to focus on something that is significant.”
Sepultura have infused Quadra with primal rhythms, raging thrash fire, exquisite classical guitar and scathing political critique. One hallmark of these elements coming together is the track Guardians Of Earth. “That was one of the first songs I recorded,” Green says of this powerful track, “because I felt so strongly about the destruction of the natives that are the guardians of the earth, protecting the Amazon. I started reading and seeing messages from people who were reaching out to let people know the killings that have been going on there in the Amazon against the Indigenous people who live there. Also the burning of land for certain farmers or agricultural companies and for all these different types of companies that are destroying the Amazon, and killing the people that are the actual guardians of the Earth. So I wanted to have a really strong voice for people to really realise what’s happening because there’s a lawlessness that exists, it’s a remote place, so for things to be enforced people have to know what’s going on. Hopefully we can have a video for this song too, I think it’s a song of extreme importance. One thing that was really important that I had in this song was that the resolution really has to come from us and we’re all really connected, a lot of the destruction, the greed they are seeking, the money, comes from the demand for meat, in Europe and America, so we can all prevent this from happening.”
Certainly, money, and the greed that fuels the desire for it, are imperial, and seek to create and satisfy markets as much as it bleeds the places from which it draws its resources. The track Raging Void highlights the consumer end of this exploitative chain, but as Green notes, we have the privilege of choice. “Money can be used to try to fill this ‘void’, its something that is endless, a lot of times you have people that are so rich, and you’re like ‘how much more money do you need?’ you know, its just something, its greed … greed is endless at times, just money …I think that ‘void’ needs to be filled, sometimes it’s drugs, sometimes its money, sometimes its sex, it depends on what that person is going through, it doesn’t have to be negative but a lot of times unfortunately it is, because we are sold a lot of that, its something that’s pushed to us, a lot insignificant material things that we don’t need, just because we are able to manufacture a lot of it, fast. And again, the end is money, to make money. And that void, I think it’s important to know that there is this yearning that everybody has, but fill that with something positive, for you and for possibly for people around you.”