It's been a while since I’ve done one of these, but I hit this song in my shuffle today and had to crank it up.
I’ll admit when Sepultura’s Chaos A.D. came out in 1993, I wasn’t very familiar with punk band New Model Army and didn’t know at first that this was a cover. But I loved it from the first play of the record.
The tune starts with an ominous chord, and then ramps up into a stomping rhythm as Max Cavalera grunts out the lyrics about a group of citizens who have gotten fed up with a criminal who has taken over their neighborhood. They decide to take justice into their own hands and track one of his people back to his hideout.
The chorus adds to the angry feel of the song, as Cavalera’s lines are punctuated by shouts of “No! No! No! No!” that act like pounding punches to the point of the song.
It was years after the release of Chaos A.D. that I first heard the New Model Army version of the song, and while I like some things about it, I think Sepultura’s approach more accurately captures the spirit of the song. There’s more rage, anger and frustration in the way they deliver it, though I will admit that the bass line in the original is pretty tasty, and we lose a lot of that in the heavier version.
Either way, though, the song is a great, aggressive tale of street justice.