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It started innocently enough, as most legends do. A name, a simple word lifted from a Motorhead song, translated into Portuguese and scribbled into notebooks by a couple of young brothers, barely teenagers, from Belo Horizonte. The band was a concept, an idea, before they even began making music.
Founded by Max and Igor Cavalera and, after a couple of unsteady lineups, rounded out by Jairo Guedes and Paulo Xisto Jr., Sepultura ignited the underground scene in 1985 when their debut EP “Bestial Devastation” appeared as a split record with local titans Overdose. The EP sounded raw, unpolished, and it was an instant hit with fans of bands like Venom and Celtic Frost. “Morbid Visions,” their first proper album, hit the streets less than a year later, officially cementing Sepultura’s position as the most vicious underground band in Brazil.
Early 1987 marked the departure of Jairo on lead guitar, and the entry of São Paulo native Andreas Kisser. The album that followed, “Schizophrenia,” was a noticeable departure from the band’s previous material, introducing more complex riffs and song structures, while still retaining the fury of the earlier recordings.
Then came “Beneath the Remains” and “Arise,” a pair of thrash masterpieces that catapulted Sepultura onto the world stage, offering them the chance to tour extensively outside of Brazil, and inviting a triumphant performance at the Rock In Rio festival in 1991. With 1993′s “Chaos A.D.” came not only a change in locale, but a change in sound: the band moved to the United States and refined their music to rely more on groove than speed, laying the groundwork for their most dramatic changes yet.
1996: “Roots” took the world of metal by storm. It was simpler, and in some ways heavier, than their previous albums, yet ripe with Brazilian influences from the cover image to the collaborations with Carlinhos Brown and the Xavanté indian tribe. But at their absolute peak in popularity, Max Cavalera departed the tribe, marking the end of an era and the beginning of a new one.
Sepultura returned to their homeland and, with American Derrick Green soon recruited on vocals, unleashed the angry, emotional “Against”. They envisioned a sort of utopia with no countries, no borders, no wars on “Nation,” and raged against political corruption on “Roorback.”
Amidst all this, the band continued to do what they always did best: play live. They hit every corner of the world, endearing fans to this new version of Sepultura. They won video music awards in Brazil and elsewhere. They performed a special concert in São Paulo where, among other special guests, Jairo Guedz returned to jam with his friends.
But the completion of 2006′s “Dante XXI,” and the subsequent touring, dealt another blow when drummer Igor left the band. Sepultura continued on in the face of adversity, first with temporary skinsman Roy Mayorga, and then permanent fixture Mineiro Jean Dolabella.
Much to the surprise of critics and naysayers who declared the band dead, Sepultura came out swinging next with “A-Lex,” an abrasive, violent album based on the classic novel “A Clockwork Orange.”
And then there was “Kairos,” another career defining high-point that marked a triumphant return to Rock In Rio, as the band this time shared the stage with French percussionists Les Tambours Du Bronx.
At the tail-end of 2011, Jean Dolabella stepped out and young prodigy Eloy Casagrande – who wasn’t even two months old when “Arise” had been released back in 1991 – stepped in. Almost immediately the new formation hit the road, crossing Europe, Russia, the United States, and returning to Indonesia, where they – as the only band on the bill – sold out 40,000-seat arenas.
Now, on the cusp of their 30th anniversary, there is profound excitement in the air as the band begins recording their 13th album. All those years ago, when the Cavalera brothers were scribbling the lyrics to “Dancing on Your Grave” in notebooks, no one could have imagined the band would conquer Brazil – and then conquer the world – playing such heavy music.
That name is still being scribbled into notebooks, inked into pages by fans all over the world.
But there is no grave in sight for Sepultura.
- Jason Korolenko
Tribute from Pernambuco
RATAMAHATTA – From Pernambuco To The World:A Tribute from Pernambuco to the greatest brazilian metal band of all time. Conceived by Emanuel Leite Jr., this project brings together bands from Pernambuco providing a fair tribute to Sepultura. Bands that have reshaped and re-recorded, giving their own touches, to the songs that won the world over almost three decades. There are 15 tracks with 15 different bands making a journey through the band’s classic