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Music / Sepultura

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Sepultura note  are a Heavy 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 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. At this stage, their sound was closer to Black Metal, with primitive riffs, raspy vocals, and lyrics about Satanism and the occult.


Lead guitarist Jairo Guedes lost interest in the band 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 some division, but the band carried on with modestly acclaimed albums. 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 a bicker as to which band is the real Sepultura, further confounded by the fact that Sepultura's music is almost unanimously agreed upon by fans to have improved in recent years.

Current Lineup:

  • Paulo Jr. - bass, backing vocals (1985-present)
  • Andreas Kisser - guitars, backing vocals (1987-present); lead vocals (1996-1998)
  • Derrick Green - lead vocals (1997-present); additional rhythm guitar (1998-2005)
  • Eloy Casagrande – drums, percussion (2011-present)

Former Members:

  • Igor Cavalera – drums, percussion (1984–2006)
  • Max Cavalera – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, berimbau (1985–1997); lead guitar, backing vocals (1984–1986)
  • Cassio – rhythm guitar (1984)
  • Wagner Lamounier – lead vocals (1984–1985)
  • Roberto Raffan – bass (1984-1985)
  • Beto Pinga – drums (1984)
  • Roberto UFO – rhythm guitar (1984)
  • Julio Cesar Vieira Franco – lead guitar (1985-1986)
  • Jairo Guedz – lead guitar (1985–1987)
  • Jean Dolabella – drums, percussion (2006–2011)

Touring Members:

  • Silvio Golfetti – lead guitar (1991)
  • Guilherme Martin – drums (2005)
  • Roy Mayorga – drums, percussion (2006)
  • Amilcar Christófaro – drums (2011)
  • Kevin Foley – drums, percussion (2013)


  • 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 Head and Hands Must Be the Heart (2013)
  • Machine Messiah (2017)
  • Quadra (2020)

Under a pale grey sky, We shall tropes:

  • All Drummers Are Animals: Eloy Casagrande is known for his extremely aggressive, hard-hitting, and physical playing style, and frequently makes use of tribal polyrhythms in his playing.
    Youtube commenter: He beats those drums like he caught them trying to steal his bike.
  • Band of Relatives: It was started by the Cavalera brothers, who have since made a few more of those (including the indicatively named Cavalera Conspiracy).
  • The Band Minus the Face:
    • Since the departure of Max Cavalera in 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 2006, there are no original members left after Igor's departure. The closest thing to an original member left is bassist Paulo Jr., who is the only member to have played on every single album.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Frequent.
  • Concept Album: Dante XXI' is based on The Divine Comedy, and A-Lex, on A Clockwork Orange (though Max Cavalera stated the rest of the band did not 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 Porão, "Procreation (of the Wicked)" by Celtic Frost, "Inhuman Nature" by Final Conflict, "Polícia" by Titãs, "War" by Bob Marley, "Symptom of the Universe" by Black Sabbath, "Just One Fix" by Ministry , "Firestarter" by The Prodigy.
    • Cover Album: Revolusongs, with covers from Hellhammer ("Messiah"), Massive Attack ("Angel"), Public Enemy ("Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos"), Devo ("Mongoloid"), Jane's Addiction ("Mountain Song"), U2 ("Bullet the Blue Sky"), Exodus ("Piranha") and Metallica (the medley "Enter Sandman"/"Fight Fire with Fire").
    • "Monólogo ao Pé do Ouvido" by Chico Science & Nação Zumbi 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." Both bands appeared together on stage at a festival in 2007, performing said song.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: "Troops Of Doom" from Morbid Visions
  • Five-Man Band: The classic lineup, including their then-manager Gloria Cavalera.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble:
    • Paulo: Melancholic
    • Andreas: Choleric
    • Derrick: Sanguine
    • Eloy: Phlegmatic
  • 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.
  • Hidden Track: The original 1993 release of Chaos A.D. ends with an unlisted track that's two minutes of Laughing Mad bloopers from the song "We Who Are Not As Others." This was not in any of the album's later reissues.
  • I Am the Band: Even if Paulo is the only founding member who never left, Andreas Kisser is Sepultura. It used to be the Cavalera brothers of Max and Igor, who co-founded the band. Then Max quit in 1996, which left Igor in control. Then Igor quit in 2006, so since then, Andreas has taken control and been behind much of Sepultura's songwriting and composition, as well as appearing the most in the band's press conferences.
  • Lead Drummer:
    • Eloy Casagrande is famous for his great technical ability and precision, wild and energetic stage presence, and his aggressive and technical playing style that makes heavy use of polyrhythms. Even modern Sepultura's detractors will almost universally agree that regardless of what they think of the band, Eloy is a fantastic drummer.
    • Before that, Igor was both hailed as a great drummer and one of the band's faces, specially once his brother left.
  • Long Title: The Mediator Between the Head and Hands Must Be the Heart (a line from Metropolis).
  • 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!
    • Max and Derrick are Type 1's.
  • New Sound Album: Several:
    • Schizophrenia marked a shift from first-wave Black Metal to a Death / Thrash sound.
    • Chaos A.D. pushed them in the direction of Groove Metal and Alternative Metal.
    • Roots was similar to Chaos, but added Nu Metal and more prominent Brazilian influences to the mix.
    • The first three albums with Green largely continued the overall Groove Metal / Alternative Metal vibes of Chaos and Roots, but they began incorporating more obvious Thrash Metal influences on Dante XXI.
    • A-Lex had them settling on a sound that fused all of their various sounds over the years except their earliest Black Metal stuff into a fairly coherent (and heavy) whole, which they have more-or-less stuck with to this day.
  • Nu Metal: The band delved into nu metal starting with Roots and continued with that sound all the way up to Roorback.
  • 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?
  • Rock Me, Asmodeus!: The main lyrical theme in their early works. Starting with Schizophrenia, they would abandon this trope in favor of more political and personal themes.
  • Scary Black Man: Derrick. Try not to be intimidated by this big guy.
  • Sibling Team: Max and Igor before they leave the band
  • Start My Own:
    • Before Soulfly and Cavalera Conspiracy, there was Wagner Lamounier and Sarcofago.
    • Max Cavalera formed his own band Soulfly when he left Sepultura.
    • Once Igor got out of the band, he formed Cavalera Conspiracy with his brother Max.
  • 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" from Roots has one towards their former recording label, going 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, 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.
    • Also "Ratamahatta," even though it is sung completely in Portuguese.
    • Parodied by Mamonas Assassinas, a compatriot, short-lived comedy Genre Mashup band, whose song "Débil Metal"note  is sung on the style of Sepultura, with the vocalist doing an impression of Max:
    I just can't explain, it melts in my mouth
    Dying to me now is popcorn
  • World Music: Their album Roots is notable because it incorporates traditional Brazilian music in its sound.