Sound — 7
Since the mid 90s Sepultura have been experimenting with various elements and the products of those experiments have ranged From the mediocre Chaos AD to the quite bad Nation. There were good songs through this period but the vast bulk of the material after Arise is semi serious and a far cry from the early thrash/death epics. Dante XXI is an effort to step just slightly back, it still has a lot of that groove element but there is a clear thrash element as well, overall the album is faster than its immediate predecessors and the riffs get fairly thrash on some of the songs. Even the slow songs, like "Nuclear Seven", are a significant improvement.
Lyrics — 6
Derrick Greene's vocals have been constantly decent since he joined the band on Against, I prefer Max Cavalera but Greene isn't too bad. The lyrics are based on Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy and the songs are arranged to form the tree segments: Hell, Purgatory and Paradise. The lyrics too show a lot more cohesion than before.
Overall Impression — 7
Kisser is the dominant driving force behind the new Sepultura and he has done a good job with the guitar sound and leads on Dante XXI and if he had cut the various strings and keyboard fill this album would be a lot better than it is. Dante XXI is not the big come back album like Kreator's Violent Revolution, it's like Slayer's Christ Illusion a step in the right direction, Date XXI with all of it's downsides is still the best Sepultura album since Arise.