Home Gigs Gig Review : Cavalera Conspiracy – Morbid Devastation Tour – Shepherds Bush Empire, London” 

Gig Review : Cavalera Conspiracy – Morbid Devastation Tour – Shepherds Bush Empire, London” 

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Review & by Sheri Bicheno for MPM

A blustery and chilly November Saturday night in the depths of West London seems perfectly fitting to host the last UK leg of Brazilian Thrash and Death legends Cavalera’s Morbid Devastation Tour.

With original Sepultura releases Morbid Visions and Bestial Devastation re-recorded and re-released in July, under the Cavalera name, the Morbid Devastation tour was announced in September, covering the UK and various European dates. 

After two years away from London, Cavalera saw a packed Shepherds Bush Empire stretching queues of people wearing denim patched cut offs and old school Sepultura hoodies spilling out into the street and around the corners to get in. 

I was swiftly escorted to the stage door entrance to set up, listening through the walls of the venue to chatter and commotion. 

With a two band show, there was plenty of time for the venue to fill up and get rounds in before the stage darkened and a chill reggae intro filled the venue, hyping the crowd brimful to the barriers.

Swirling through the blue hues on the stage, guitar tones droned out and a sharp beat rang through the air before frontman Richie Cavalera prowled to the front of the stage and headbanging low to the floor, commanded the mood straight off the bat.

Up In Hell smashed straight through with Mike DeLeon’s visceral guitar riffs thrashing alongside the thundering of Derek Lennon Lopez’s kit. 

Pulsing rhythms carving into the blast beats stand out in this track’s live setting, bending against Richie’s gnarling screams and growls.

The melodic parts of this track tie Mike’s groove infused riffs with Christopher “EL” Elsten’s subtle but almost techy bass notes, which give the overall feel of the track a groove and death metal edge. Already the crowd are responding massively – the mosh pit is going crazy by this point!

War Soup was originally recorded with Max Cavalera joining on guitars – though he did not make an appearance in it’s live setting, the energy was astounding.

Evil guitar riffs layered with winding horror-esque melodies chime into the intro before gunshot beats blast from the pedal work of Derek.

Richie takes on an old school hardcore style of vocals with barking commands and chants ringing against the beats before submerging all in a vicious howl.

Much of the setlist for Incite was taken from their 2022 album Wake Up Dead, though one standout was Mental Destruction which took on a sinister craft from the outset with subtle but rhythmic strings before churning into a double pedal riff monster with layers of scratching chugs and a speedy guitar solo to boot.

Built To Destroy offered a new twist to the mix with an electronic feel to the intro bleeding into Derek’s blastbeats. There are some technical elements to Mike’s strings right before the pace is turned up into a frenzy of thundering blasts and riffs.

Richie lets out a roar that trembles the halls of the Empire after climbing on one of the cabs and throws himself off.

The crowd are feral and constantly feeding energy back to the stage, particularly during the breakdowns. A stunning melodic solo is let out by Mike that blends with the groove infused bass notes of EL that provide the backbone to the tone.

2014’s WTF leaves the crowd’s moshpits going insane to the scratching speed bullet of riffs and blast beats raining down on them right before the set concludes. 

Utter chaos and what a warm up for the hype to build right before Cavalera took to the stage…

Cheers of near enough 2,000 people filled the air as Igor Cavalera took his place at the kit. The stage lit up in red and orange and an intense energy of anticipation rose up as Max Cavalera, Travis Stone and Igor Amadeus Cavalera entered on stage.

Winding riffs rung together and after a few hard hits of the drums, blast beats galore in a blackened metal churn of Bestial Devastation.  

Old School blackened thrash elements course through this track with the speed bullet riffs and intricate cymbal work of the kit, Max displays barking vocals that cut through the stage and the pit has already opened up…

“That was the shit. Let’s take this right back to the beginning!” 

Antichrist follows right up and shines a light into the storm that Igor thrashes out on the pedals whilst Necromancer switches the tempo into a more melodic and riff driven number.

Travis and Max feed off eachother’s strings with the pulsing thrash elements overtoning the melodic heartstopping moments that pause into the track.

Ruthless drum thumps stop the guitars in their tracks for a split moment before crashing into a solo of speedy riffs and twisted tempos. 

Screens lit up on the stage and an outburst of O Fortuna rang from the speakers to the rafters, creating a grandeur and anticipating mood amongst the already moving crowd. Looking around the venue during the clip, all eyes were gazed on the stage, mesmerised and totally soaking in the energy.

Guitar strings and chugging bass tones wind into the air and we’re catapulted into Sexta Feira 13 – a classic thrash track vocalized through Max’s crushing barks in Brazilian-Portugese that is new addition to Bestial Devastation. 

Morbid Visions bestows a more aggressive tone with Igor Amadeus Cavalera’s bass transforming chuggy notes to a switch between frenzied thundering to underline the pure amount of shredding riffs and tempo changing ferocity of Igor’s double pedal beats that play between speeds for a maximum effect face melting.

Crucifixion serves as a melodic old school thrash intro with winding melodies over scratching riffs. 

The crowd below me has transformed into a ball of fury, bodies flying everywhere – the entire floor of the Empire was moving and left no space for little energy.

This pit was immense, feeding off the Cavalera energy and throwing it back at eachother.

Max delivers vocals here that layer eachother with blackened thrash style barking and growls, though occasionally he conjures a trembling roar that heightens the energy and melodics of the track after a beautiful choppy riff interjects between frenzied blast beats wielded behind the kit.

“Let the ritual begin!” Max asks for anyone with a light to shine it, the whole venue is plunged into darkness and little by little, torches are shone from all around the halls of the Empire – creating a glow amongst the crowd and onto the stage.

Max feeds into the audience with a short guitar rendition of Black Sabbath by Black Sabbath – the energy here is wonderful. Everyone is transfixed into Max’s strings and is sucked into the moment. Elsewhere some time back, Igor has previously stated that Black Sabbath’s drummer Bill Ward inspired their love for metal – so this is a fitting tribute.

This seamlessly blends into the intro for Funeral Rites – which, incidentally, I feel has ripples of Black Sabbath inspiration to it, particularly as the riffs throughout this track take on a more doomy element in places to the Cavalera signature thrashier side.

The opening riff has a marching doomy and heavy mood which is displayed amongst the blackened moments of rhythms through the melodics and beats. 

“This. Is. The. Real…” Max shouts to the crowd and is chanted back by the WHOLE venue screaming the word SEPULTURA so loud, the roof blew off…

Sepultura classic number Escape To The Void comes in as a hard hitting speed bullet of old school thrash, the guitar is scratchy and Max crafts the energy through blackened barking vocals and that floor length pit opens up again to move with incredible energy before a fantastic fade out reveals hispanic style samba drums and beats…

Refuse/Resist reveals a mash up between some modern styles of Sepultura chug in with some winding guitars to reveal a hardcore turned death metal mood to the song.

This is caught in the throws of another samba drumming based track that came rolling in – Territory was stunning. 

The melodics and chuggy riffs that encased the samba style of heavy beats by Igor created an atmospheric but aggressive mood. With talks of political movements, the energy in the track was delivered to the crowd in chants and headbanging notes that everyone around me soaked up.

It’s worth mentioning here that Cavalera hispanic fans are wonderful –  after i’d done shooting the gig, wandered up to the stage right balcony, I’d been given a spot in the front on the balcony by a group of attendees from the Brazilian community that had come to the show.

Through the energy, I was helped down a steep step at the front of the edge of the balcony and back up when there was nowhere to balance, and when the final track Troops of Doom came on, drinks were shared, headbanging together – nothing but good vibes and looking out for each other were present.

As Troops of Doom rumbled in, Max commanded a pit so large and London happily obliged… the circle pit took the whole downstairs space and in a venue like the Empire, was something truly to behold…
The energy didnt waiver and was absolutely exceptional from the whole band. The guitar solo and smashing riffs crashed through in time with Igor’s blastbeats. Evil bass notes came  through to underline Max’s threatening wail and ended up in a frenzied sonic assault that left the crowd in a heap of chaos.

One of THE best shows of the year!!

Incite photos by Sheri Bicheno

Cavalera photos by Artur Tarczewski

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