Style: Thrash Metal
1. Roots Bloody Roots
5. Breed Apart
8. Lookaway feat. Mike Patton and Jonathan Davis
10. Born Stubborn
14. Endangered Species
Produced By Ross Robinson.
Co-Produced By SEPULTURA.
Mixed By Andy Wallace.
Max Cavalera - Throat, 4 String Guitar, Nylon Strings Acoustic
Andreas Kisser - Guitar, 12 String Steel Acoustic, Nylon Strings Acoustic
Paulo J.R. - Bass And Floor Tom
Igor Cavalera - Drums And Percussion
(p)&(c) 1996 ROADRUNNER Records
The last Sep' album to feature Max on vocals, this is truly one of the essential metal albums of the nineties. Roots marked the peak of Sepultura's (at the time) eleven year long career. Despite being released at a time when the popular thing to do was alternative rock and grunge, the worldwide hype surrounding the band was easily compared to that of most pop outfits. An impressive feat, considering that metal in 1996 still had a long way to go before reaching the seven digit sales figures that bands like Slipknot, Limp Bizkit and Papa Fucking Roach enjoy today.
Musically, the album expanded on the brazillian influences that had made Sepulturas previous effort, Chaos AD, into such a compelling album. Flirting heavily with tribal drums and percussion and hints of traditional brazillian music such as samba here and there, the album had a truly unique sound.
The sonic explosion that starts the album off, Roots Bloody Roots, still stands as one of the most furious and brutal songs ever written. Simple in form yet highly effective, the track became an immediate hit with metal heads and recieved a fair share of MTV airplay. If you only hear one Sepultura song ever, this should be the one.
Another definite highlight of the album is track 4, Ratamahatta. Blending heavy and groovy riffs with pants-wetting percussion, this track was all over MTV even though it's sung entirely in portugese. Showing that the band was not content with lightning speed riffs over double bass drums, the song reeks of joy from playing and emphasizes what makes this album so unique.
Straighthate is another track worth scrutinizing. A dark song with a slow and heavy groove, there's a destinct nu-metal feel to it. However, this was written in 1996, years before any clever journalist came up with this stupid term. Are the bands of today simply ripping Sepultura off?
Lookaway features both Mike Patton (of Faith No More and Mr. Bungle fame, among others) and Jonathan Davis (of Korn) on vocals, with lyrics by the latter. You can't really hear Davis on the song though, as he pretty much drowns in Pattons deep and growling voice. Very eerie track, with a deep and heavy chorus. Good stuff.
Also of note is Jasco and Itsari. Sepultura has a tradition of putting at least one explicitly non-metal track on their cds, and on Roots, we get two. Jasco is simply Andreas Kisser demonstrating his classical guitar abilities. A beautiful two-minute instrumental piece that I can only imagine being a complete hell to tab. Following that is Itsari, a live recording of the band jamming away along with the chanting of central Brazil's Xavantes tribe. It's kinda strange that the climax of a metal album is a song played entirely on acoustic instruments.
Shortly after the release of Roots, Max lost his step son Dana, a tragic event for both him and his wife Gloria, who also happened to be the band's manager. Three months after that, at the last show of the Roots tour, Andreas, Paulo and Igor approached Max and explained that they were fed up with Gloria's management and wanted to find a new manager. Max left the band that night in a mix of anger and despair, and went on to form Soulfly a year later. Thus ended an era. The remaining members found a new lead singer, Derrick Green, and Sepultura has released two albums since Roots. None of these live up to the standards set by the "old" Sepultura, though.