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Music / Roots (1996)
aka: Roots

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Roots is the sixth studio album by Sepultura, released in 1996. A New Sound Album in every sense of the word it featured the Heavy Metal band experimenting with Brazilian traditional music, featuring Carlinhos Brown, percussionist David Silveria, turntablist DJ Lethal and vocalists Jonathan Davis and Mike Patton. Apart from these traditional influences the album also dealt with Brazilian politics and culture. The album received excellent reviews, even from outside the metal fanbase. On the other hand, the album has been retroactively criticized by some people in the metal community for straying pretty far from the band's Death Metal roots along with its influence on the much maligned Nu Metal genre.

Roots would also be the last studio album released by the group with vocalist Max Cavalera. After this album he founded Soulfly and left the group.

Roots was released in February 1996, with a second double-disc album being brought out in November 1996, The Roots Of Sepultura, collecting a series of unreleased tracks, B-sides, alternate mixes and live recordings. This compilation album had a different series of tracks, yet the album cover looks almost exactly the same, save for a different background color. To add even more confusion, the 25th anniversary of the label Roadrunner series edition of Roots added even another different bonus disc.


  1. "Roots, Bloody Roots" (3:22)
  2. "Attitude" (4:15)
  3. "Cut-Throat" (2:44)
  4. "Ratamahatta" (4:30)
  5. "Breed Apart" (4:01)
  6. "Straighthate" (5:21)
  7. "Spit" (2:45)
  8. "Lookaway" (5:26)
  9. "Dusted" (4:03)
  10. "Born Stubborn" (4:07)
  11. "Jasco" (1:57)
  12. "Itsári" (4:48)
  13. "Ambush" (4:39)
  14. "Endangered Species" (5:19)
  15. "Dictatorshit" (1:26)
  16. "Canyon Jam" (13:16) (unlisted hidden track)


  • Max Cavalera: vocals, guitar, berimbau
  • Igor Cavalera: drums, percussion, timbau, djembé
  • Paulo Jr.: bass guitar, timbau grandé
  • Andreas Kisser: lead guitar, sitar, backing vocals.
  • Mike Patton and Jonathan Davis: vocals on "Lookaway".
  • Carlinhos Brown: vocals, percussion, berimbau, timbau, wood drums, lataria, xequere, surdos on "Ratamahatta".
  • DJ Lethal: scratching on "Lookaway".
  • The Xavante Tribe: percussion and chanting on "Itsári".

Tropes Bloody Tropes

  • Alliterative Title: "Roots Bloody Roots".
  • Bilingual Bonus: Some tracks are in English, others have Portuguese (Brazilian dialect) lyrics and the Xavante Tribe sings in their native tongue on "Itsári".
  • Celebrity Cameo: The music video of "Attitude" features the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu experts the Gracie Family.
  • Concept Album: The record pays tribute to Brazil by going back to their roots.
  • Epic Rocking: The 13:16 "Canyon Jam".
  • Fun with Acronyms and Music Is Politics: "Cut-Throat" ends with the words "Enslavement, Pathetic, Ignorant, Corporations", which spell out their former record label EPIC.
  • Genre Mashup: Musically elements from bahia samba, Reggae, Punk Rock and tribal music from the Xavante Indians at their ancestral home.
  • Hidden Track: "Canyon Jam" is an unlisted instrumental track near the end of the album.
  • Instrumental: "Jasco", "Itsári" and "Canyon Jam".
  • My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting: While the album celebrates Brazilian culture it also criticizes the dictatorships from the past, poverty in the favelas and the disrespectful treatment of the Indian tribes in the country.
  • New Sound Album: Sepultura, well known for being a metal band, can be heard incorporating different styles of music. They even went so far as going to the rainforest and record the album there with help from the Xavante people.
  • Nu Metal: The album is seen as influential to the genre, though whether it actually counts as part of it is up for debate.
  • One-Word Title: Roots and the songs "Cut-Throat", "Ratamahatta", "Attitude", "Straighthate", "Spit", "Lookawau", "Dusted, "Jasco", "Itsári", "Ambush" and "Dictatorshit".
  • Patriotic Fervor: While metal and rock have become a universal music genre this album brings homage to the country where the band members grew up in.
  • Portmantitle: Some of the One Word Titles of its songs, are compounds, "Straighthate", "Dictatorshit".
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: "Dictatorshit" reflects and criticizes the 1964 coup d' état in Brazil.
  • Record Producer: Ross Robinson and Sepultura.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The concept of the album was inspired by the 1991 film At Play in the Fields of the Lord.
    • "Roots Bloody Roots" was covered by German metal band J.B.O., where half of the lyrics are sung in operatic style by one "Luciano Pabarotti". Both bands appeared together on stage at a festival in 2007, performing said song.
  • Special Guest: Carlinhos Brown co-wrote the song "Ratamahatta" and performs on "Ratamahatta", "Dictatorshit" and "Endangered Species". David Silveria performs drums on "Ratamahatta". Mike Patton (Faith No More) and Jonathan Davis (Korn) wrote the vocals and lyrics for "Lookaway" and sing both on it. DJ Lethal did the scratching on that track. The Xavante Tribe provides percussion and chanting on "Itsári".
  • Take That!: "Cut Throat" from Roots has one towards their former recording label:
    Integrity will free our soul from Enslavement! Pathetic Ignorant Corporations!.
  • Title Track: "Roots Bloody Roots".
  • Verbed Title: The song, "Dusted".
  • Visual Pun: The album cover has the title in both the literal and antropological senses, as in tree roots surrounding an Indian.
  • Word Salad Title: "Ratamahatta", even though it's sung mostly in Portuguese.
  • World Music: The album combines traditional Brazilian music with metal.

Alternative Title(s): Roots