SEPULTURA – LIVE IN SAO PAULO (2 DVD) – SPV
In the sea of DVD releases it is never easy to decide whether a release is just another attempt at milking extra cash for the label or the band actually have anything to offer to the average, and perhaps unconvinced, buyer. Live In Sao Paulo’s first DVD features 20 songs of live footage mixing some old but mostly new, Derrick Green era, Sepultura material. Appearances by the likes Krisiun’s Alex Camargo add a bit of variety to the poor sound where instruments are toned down and the vocals often dominate. Few edits and effects have been added to the live recording which gives the footage a more documentary feel as opposed to a purely live recording. The first DVD also includes the obligatory ‘Making Of’ and band Biography. The second DVD starts off with a Derrick Green narrated and produced documentary telling the story of how he ended up assuming Max Cavalera’s role and manages to embellish the way he contacted and was heard by the band, conveniently leaving out Roadrunner Records’ role in forwarding his demo to the band. The documentary goes on to provide some glimpses of the band’s adventures via home video style segments. Three more recent video clips, Mind War, Bullet The Blue Sky and Choke, three live tracks in Nomad, Desperate Cry and Territory and a slideshow complete the DVD. Live In Sao Paulo is a decent release for the curious non-fan and an acceptable one for fans. – Anna Tergel
SEPULTURA – DANTE XXI – SPV
Sepultura and I parted ways the moment an album called Roots came out. The band was going the way of… who knows what and I was just getting more and more into metal. The band has since had many ups and downs since and albums that have been mildly, at best, interesting. Dante XXI is the best material featuring singer Derrick Green and largely foregoes the ethnic sounds and commercial overtures. Too bad a lyric sheet was not enclosed in order to read the band’s interpretation of the epic story that inspired the album though. Dante XXI is not a write-off. That is the good news. The bad news is that you might as well write it off anyway because there probably are three dozen better albums that are on anyone’s shopping list at any moment waiting for some extra time or extra pocket money.
On Dante XXI, inspired by the Divine Comedy, the band brings into play several strong thrashing riffs, some nice melodies and Green uses his voice to direct real anger. Dark Wood Of Error is such a song. Nuclear Seven is a good song with real thrash metal appeal. Ostia is weird with a string section and synthesizers, City Of Dis and False are just that invoking the retarded mallcore experience. No matter which side of the battlefield the sound falls the star of the album is drummer Igor Cavalera’s strong backbeat, rhythm and cool rolls. As mentioned though most things on this album are the musicians’ best work in years. – Anna Tergel
ANDREAS KISSER - HUBRIS I & II (2 CD) – MASCOT
Sepultura’s Kisser’s foray into a solo effort has yielded this double CD which at first seems an extension of the band as Sepultura elements are scattered in early songs but the more the CD advances the more this becomes a personal experiment with acoustic guitars, Brazilian folk and other elements making their way into the music. Portuguese lyrics and percussion instruments dominate too but there are others as the Indian inspired A Million Judas Iscariotes. Some songs like R.H.E.T. just seem to become like practice sessions and carry on aimlessly for their duration. Others like Em Busca Do Ouro are too generic.
The 10-song second CD is perhaps more acoustic than the first but overall in the same vein. As the first CD, this rarely convinces and often carries on in the same directionless path. Hubris is also a collaboration with a long list of mostly Brazilian artists participating and few of whom are a success or manage to generate excitement for Kisser. - Anna Tergel
Max and Igor Cavalera, Andreas Kisser and Paulo Jr. are a Brazilian success story. Having crisscrossed the underground path to arrive at the brink of commercial breakthrough, the quartet is now here with album number six, entitled Roots, achieving their status via transplantation, uncharted career development and unconventional sounds, the band which began life burning inverted crosses on stage and graduating from the underground opening for bands like Sodom and Obituary and on to opening for the biggest names in metal as well as headlining is here to consolidate and prove that their marriage of traditional Brazilian values with raucous heavy music is valid, honest and believable. – 1996
Contacting frontman Max Cavalera one morning, Ali “The Metallian” finds himself confronting the accentuated man with question marks as they try to come to grips with the ironies inherent in this band. He finds himself getting frank answers to frank questions.
“It took us three years to record it. Plus the way we recorded, makes it more special to us. We finally did it with all the elements we wanted to put out.”
Talk is of Roots, the ’96 Sepultura album, unconventional in its recording locations, guest appearances and percussive beats literally from the rain forest of South America. Max knows how it all came about. “We wanted it to sound like that. We wanted a vibe that’s old without sounding like Black Sabbath; we wanted the vibe of Black Sabbath, though. In a way, it’s a ‘90s’ version of that. It’s heavy and intense, but there’s also melody and acoustics.”
As the title so loudly proclaims, the album touches with both hands upon the reality of the band’s background. Touches? Perhaps slaps you in the face is a better description. Max: “Roots shows our heritage; our Brazilian sides. I think you have to listen to the album a lot and hear something new everyday. We’ve always been blasting, that’s good, but after being hit in the head by a baseball bat we’d be missing something. The beating and intensity are on the album, but it has something else on it, too.”
In comparison to ‘93’s Chaos A.D, “the album is less political, more personal, and there are guest musicians. It is more spontaneous-probably due to my work with Nailbomb. We let things flow. We had more unpredictability.”
Unpredictable in the music, true, yet the record company, as well as the general consensus, fully expects a big demand for the album. Max sounds suitably upbeat and confident. “I think this album will do well. I am not saying that because I am in the band; I really believe it ‘cause we put a lot of time into it. The time is right and the people involved in the record are the right ones. I believe it’s going to go beyond the Sepultura fan. All kinds of different people like this record.”
A bold statement, but has the fact that the album ultimately is a very personal one and a reflection of your personal experiences and background and not necessarily one that other people share worry you that the album may be confronted with a lack of comprehension? “Well yeah, but I am not preaching anything. I try to give people strength to face their problems,” reckons the vocalist/guitarist in a moment of self-reflection. “If people cannot relate to the album then they can get a Madonna album. They might relate to that!”
The irony in Roots, and all that is current with Sepultura, is that the band, very much like heavy metal in general, began life as a backlash to and repudiation of tradition and background. What has triggered this turn around from a shocking death metal band in Brazil of ’85 to paying homage to Brazilian values? Max offers this explanation, “We’ve always been a varied band. Myself, I am a reflection of the band. Today I like white, tomorrow black and in the meanwhile I like red. Sepultura moves around and adds stuff, to be honest with you the heavy percussion that we brought in is like Samba or Lambada, shit with Latin rhythms. The percussion of (guest musician) Brown is heavy-duty shit. When you really understand percussion, when you see the real people do it, you see it can be really heavy. It’s tribal, hypnotic and heavy as fuck.”
As you can read, the album leans heavily on percussions, and guest musicians to a lesser extent. These two elements seem to have been introduced to the album in a not so subtle way. “That’s the whole vibe of the album,” remarks Max, his tone growing anxious. “That’s why we used (producer) Ross Robinson instead of someone bigger. Every band he has worked with (Korn, House Of Pain, etc.) was able to bring out its real instincts. That’s what we wanted. We had guest musicians from House Of Pain or Jonathon Davis of Korn so we could mix different backgrounds without them doing what they normally do. What they brought to our band was an exchange of influences. There is nothing to lose; we’re open-minded. We are not territorial. It’s stupid to be afraid of other people. Music is to enjoy. It’s not gonna last forever, so enjoy it.”
Enjoyment, release, freedom: all strong concepts to Sepultura. Said, emphasized and insisted upon, so let me ask about your experience with major label Epic and the song Cut Throat which you have written specifically about your work with said label. The song is about “the disgusting ways and workings of corporate record labels,” says Max. “The song is talking sarcastically about major labels that think music and musicians are disposable. They think that they will use the musicians today and throw them away tomorrow. When you are on a smaller label the people listen to your music and sometimes even look like you! Epic, for example, are a bunch of dick heads and a business place - they are not on a musical level.” Words, obviously harvested from personal experience, yet I differ with Max in that I find independent labels hardly and better in this respect. Both levels of the music industry have adapted the above-detailed attitude. But Max, would you go as far as saying that your experience with Epic was negative enough to void the possibility of Sepultura working with a major again? There is little hesitation. “Well, we try not to,” he laughs. “I don’t want to write another Cut Throat again! We are happy with Roadrunner; they are growing. They are powerful enough that you don’t need a major. We wrote the whole record and Roadrunner never interfered. We had none of the bullshit - like getting asked for a tape so the songs can get approved. They believe in Roots.”
And from my vantage point there isn’t much more a band can ask for. Is there?
This interview initially appeared in Pit Magazine No. 16.