Sepultura Biography

Formed in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, in 1984 by brothers Igor (4 September 1970, Belo Horizonte, Brazil; drums) and Max Cavalera (b. Massimiliano Antonio Cavalera, 4 August 1969, Belo Horizonte, Brazil; vocals/guitar), with Paulo Jnr. (b. 30 April 1969, Brazil; bass) and guitarist Jairo T, who was replaced in April 1987 by Andreas Kisser (b. 24 August 1968) of fellow Brazilian metal act Pestilence. Sepultura is the Portuguese word for grave, and this is a strong clue as to the nature of a music that deals with themes of death and destruction, originally influenced by bands such as Slayer and Venom. In 1985, Sepultura recorded an album with Brazilian band Overdose (whom Sepultura had supported on their first gig), but this debut, Bestial Devastation, was of poor quality and had limited circulation. Their first solo effort, Morbid Visions, was released in 1986, followed a year later by Schizophrenia. The music on both was typified by speed, aggression and anger, much of which stemmed from the band’s preoccupations with the poor social conditions in their native land.

Monte Conner of Roadrunner Records brought the band to international notice in 1989 when they released Beneath The Remains, which had been recorded in Rio with Scott Burns as producer. In 1990, Sepultura played at the Dynamo Festival in Holland where they met Gloria Bujnowski, manager of Sacred Reich; their relationship with her led to the re-release ofSchizophrenia. Despite European and American success, Sepultura have not deserted Brazil, and they played at the Rock In Rio festival in 1990. Arise, released in 1991, proved the bestselling album in the history of Roadrunner Records. The sessions for Chaos A.D. saw the band strip down their music in a more minimalist approach, which mirrored the punk ethos, especially evident on a cover version of New Model Army’s ‘The Hunt’ (they had previously cut the Dead Kennedys’ ‘Drug Me’ for an Alternative Tentacles compilation). In 1994, Cavalera branched out to release the Point Blank CD, working alongside Fudge Tunnel’s Alex Newport under the name Nailbomb. Roots was seen as Sepultura’s peak and an album that allowed them to create rather than imitate. Brazilian themes were explored, notably with the pulsating ‘Ratamahatta’ and the tribal ‘Itsari’. Having hit a peak, it came as a shock when Cavalera left to form Soulfly, who released their self-titled debut in 1998. His replacement in Sepultura was American born Derrick Green, who featured prominently on 1998’s Against. The band returned to their native Brazil to record the superior follow-up, Nation.

Following the release of an excellent live set recorded in 1996, Under A Pale Grey Sky, the band parted company with Roadrunner and signed a new recording contract with SPV Records. They made their debut for the label in 2003 with Roorback, their finest studio album since the classic Roots. This was matched by the excellent Dante XXI in 2006.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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