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Music: Sepultura

Quick, name the biggest-selling musical act that's ever emerged from Brazil. Antonio Carlos Jobim? Nice try. Milton Nascimento? Nope. Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso and so on? Not even close. It's actually a Heavy Metal band named Sepultura.

Sepultura note  are a metal band from Belo Horizonte that's been kicking around since 1984 and is one of the few Brazilian acts that's even more popular to the north in the USA. They've been active in quite a few subgenres of metal but they're most famous as one of the most important Groove Metal bands.

The band's members have included:
  • Max Cavalera - lead vocals, rhythm guitar (1984-1996)
  • Igor Cavalera - drums, percussion (1984-2006)
  • Paulo Jr. - bass (1984-present)
  • Andreas Kisser - lead guitar, backing vocals (1987-present)
  • Jairo Guedes - lead guitar (1985-1987)
  • Wagner Lamounier - vocals (1984-1985)
  • Derrick Green - lead vocals (1997-present)
  • Jean Dolabella - drums, percussion (2006-present)

The band was formed in 1984 by brothers Max and Igor Cavalera, who drew influences at first from popular eighties metal and rock bands like Iron Maiden, Motörhead, AC/DC, Judas Priest and Van Halen, but later on expanded into more extreme metal acts like Venom, Metallica, Exodus and Sodom. After some lineup difficulties, Sepultura obtained a record contract and released their debut Morbid Visions in 1986. Visions remains the only pure Death Metal album the band ever released before their sound started evolving.

Guitarist Jairo Guedes lost interest in death metal soon afterwards and quit, replaced by Andreas Kisser. Not only did this create Sepultura's "classic lineup", but it also changed their sound as Kisser brought in more influences apart from death metal. With Schizophrenia, the band switched to a hybrid of Thrash Metal and Death Metal that earned them critical acclaim. Also around this time they began making waves in the USA, moving to metal label Roadrunner Records and touring the hell out of Schizophrenia and Beneath the Remains.

Recorded in the USA, their 1991 album Arise increased their popularity and showed the band's first exploration of other genres while still keeping their thrash/death sound. The real change came with Chaos A.D. two years later. On Chaos, Sepultura ditched the thrash/death fusion and instead dove headfirst into Groove Metal, combining Igor's groove-laden rhythms with churning riffs and a genre stew that included Industrial Metal, Hardcore Punk and Brazilian percussion. Thanks to Andy Wallace's heavy production and several successful singles ("Refuse/Resist", "Territory", "Slave New World"), Chaos became the band's breakthrough album, earning both commercial and critical success. Their similarly-acclaimed followup Roots was yet another change in sound (Nu Metal this time) that also placed emphasis on Brazilian percussion (supplied by Carlinhos Brown) and featured a collaboration with members of the Brazilian Xavante Indian tribe, as well as appearances by Jonathan Davis, DJ Lethal, and Mike Patton.

Max Cavalera left the band shortly after the album's release in 1996, for still unclear reasons, and instead formed his own band, Soulfly. He was replaced by Derrick Green. The new Sepultura lineup predictably created a Broken Base and carried on with modestly acclaimed but poorer-selling albums like Against, Nation, Roorback and the Concept Album Dante XXI. Igor himself left the band in 2006.

Max and Igor later got back together to form a new band named Cavalera Conspiracy which has caused an even more Broken Base as fans are now divided as to which band is the real Supultura and which is the E Vil Knockoff which is further confounded by the fact that Sepultura's music is almost unanimously agreed upon by fans to have improved in recent years.

Discography:

  • Bestial Devastation EP (1985) - split EP with Brazilian band Overdose.
  • Morbid Visions (1986)
  • Schizophrenia (1987)
  • Beneath the Remains (1989)
  • Arise (1991)
  • Chaos A.D. (1993)
  • Roots (1996)
  • The Roots of Sepultura (1996) - compilation of unreleased tracks, B-sides, alternate mixes, demos and live recordings.
  • Blood-Rooted (1997) - another compilation of more unreleased tracks, B-sides, remixes and live recordings.
  • Against (1998) - the first album featuring Derrick Green
  • Nation (2001)
  • Revolusongs EP (2003) - an EP of Cover Versions.
  • Roorback (2003)
  • Dante XXI (2006)
  • A-Lex (2009)
  • Kairos (2011)
  • The Mediator Between the Head and Hands Must Be the Heart (2013)

Tropes:

  • Ascended Fanboy: Derrick Green
  • The Band Minus the Face: Since 1996, even though Andreas seems to have supplanted Max in the Face of the Band status, given his appearances in music conventions all over the country.
    • As of 2013, bassist Paulo Jr. is the only original member left.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Frequent.
  • Concept Album / Filk Song: Dante XXI' is based on The Divine Comedy, and A-Lex, on A Clockwork Orange (though Max Cavalera stated the rest of the band didn't even like it).
  • Cover Version: "Drug Me" by the Dead Kennedys, "Orgasmatron" by Motörhead, "The Hunt" by New Model Army, "A Hora e a Vez do Cabelo Nascer" by Os Mutantes, "Crucificados Pelo Sistema" by Ratos de Porăo, "Procreation (of the Wicked)" by Celtic Frost, "Inhuman Nature" by Final Conflict, "Polícia" by Tităs, "War" by Bob Marley, "Symptom of the Universe" by Black Sabbath, "Messiah" by Hellhammer, "Angel" by Massive Attack, "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos" by Public Enemy, "Mongoloid" by Devo, "Mountain Song" by Jane's Addiction, "Bullet the Blue Sky" by U2, "Piranha" by Exodus, "Just One Fix" by Ministry , "Firestarter" by The Prodigy.
    • Massive Attack? Wait, what?
      • Not that big of a departure as you think, "Angel" was one of the harsher Alternative Rock-oriented tunes the band recorded. And it's not bad.
    • Revolusongs was a Cover Album containing many of those above, mind you.
    • Monologo Ao PĂ© Do Ouvido by Chico Science and We Gotta Know by the Cro-Mags were also covered on the live album Under A Pale Grey Sky, among others already mentioned.
    • A notable cover of a Sepultura song is "Roots Bloody Roots" by German Metal band J.B.O., where half of the lyrics are sung in operatic style by one "Luciano Pabarotti". Became a CMoA when both bands appeared together on stage at a festival in 2007, performing said song.
  • Guttural Growler: Max. Derrick less so.
  • Harsh Vocals: For the most part, but after Derrick Green showed up, you can occasionally hear clean vocals.
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: Chaos starts with the heartbeat of Max's son.
  • Looped Lyrics / Single Stanza Song: "We Who Are Not As Others".
  • Metal Scream: Many, many examples (part of why the vocals are so hard to understand). WAR FOR TERRITOOOOOOOOOOORYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Bestial Devestations, Morbid Visions and Schizophrenia would be in the 9 to 10 range. Beneath The Remains is a 9. Arise and Chaos AD are an 8 or 9 (except, of course, for Kaiowas). While their following albums are generally a 7 to 9, except for their acoustic instrumentals, which would be a 1 (Jasco) to 3 (Itsari).
    • Ratamahatta would be a 6.
  • Nu Metal: Roots. Some of their post-Max albums have elements of it, though.
  • The Pete Best: Jairo Guedes, and Wagner Lamounier who left before the band recorded albums.
  • Precision F-Strike: Pretty frequent (Max does drop Cluster F Bombs, but in music, these are carefully dropped). An example from "Refuse/Resist":
    Inside the state
    War is created
    No man's land
    What is this shit?
  • Start My Own: Max Cavalera formed his own band Soulfly when he left Sepultura.
    • And now there's Cavalera Conspiracy too - with Igor drumming, no less.
      • Before either of those, there was Wagner Lamounier and Sarcofago.
  • Stupid Statement Dance Mix: The band did this to themselves with "Chaos B.C.", which is mostly lifted from "Refuse/Resist", with bits of "Nomad" and "Manifest" thrown in for good measure.
  • Take That: "Cut Throat"'s last line goes like this: Integrity will free our soul from/Enslavement! Pathetic Ignorant Corporations!.
  • Word Salad Titles And Lyrics: The band initially didn't know much English, and even now can be really poor speakers. So they let Max, who knew the most English (i.e.: not much), name their songs by using a Portuguese-English dictionary. Thus we got "Show Me the Wrath", "From the Past Comes the Storms" (or its demo title, "The Past Reborns the Storms"), "Septic Schizo", "Sarcastic Existence" and some others.
    • However, Max's English has gotten much better since he moved to America. Then again, it would've been surprising if it stayed just as bad.
      • No word of "Ratamahatta" here? Even though it's sung mostly in Portuguese?
      • Parodied by Mamonas Assassinas, a compatriot, short-lived comedy Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly band, whose song "Débil Metal"note  is sung on the style of Sepultura, with the vocalist doing an impression of Max while singing things like: "I just can't explain, it melts in my mouth/Dying to me now is popcorn". Listen to it here.
  • Scary Black Man: Derrick. Try not to be intimidated by this big guy.

SeetherAlternative MetalSevendust
Powerman 5000Groove MetalShadows Fall
TankardThrash MetalSoulfly
Schlafes BruderMetalSevendust
P.O.D.Nu MetalSikTh
King DiamondBlack MetalSlayer

alternative title(s): Sepultura
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