Sepultura: Under appreciated Crossover Legends, By Doug Walker

Sepultura: Under appreciated Crossover Legends, By Doug Walker

April 15, 2015
I’m a relatively lucky guy. I got to grow up in a time period before the internet. The music industry was still a soul stealing juggernaut that could exploit bands and influence social culture. Heavy metal, arguably, was at its peak. MTV had yet to start their “reality television” experiment. You could catch 2 hours of heavy metal videos on saturday night on Headbangers Ball. Waynes World made being a metal head the cool thing to do. Life was pretty fantastic if you were into heavy music.

Right towards the end of this era, when the excess started to outweigh the success, along comes Sepultura. From more or less out of nowhere. I can still remember where I was and exactly what I was doing the first time I heard them. To this day, the opening drum intro to “Refuse/Resist” raises the hair on the back of my neck. There’s something unmistakable and visceral about their sound. In a time where every major-market-metal band were all going for the most polished sound they could get, Sepultura was ugly. And that’s what made them so great. When you hear their music for the first time, there’s no confusion whatsoever. It’s real. It’s furious. It’s rapacious. It’s glorious.

It’s music that comes from a place and a culture most of us in the U.S.A. don’t fully understand. When they sing about tyranny, oppression, war…they actually understood what they were talking about. They may have relocated to Arizona in the early 90s, but they never really lost that edge while the original line up stayed in tact. They were like Pantera, only not the good ole boy on the porch daring you to knock the chip off his shoulder. They were like Slayer with a conscience. The music was built around the rhythm, and not a series of sections used as an excuse for a guitar solo. You can get lost in their first decade of work.

They became one of the most heavily hyped metal bands of their time. Unfortunately, their time was right at the tail end of the Metal heyday. Nirvana famously ushered in the “Grunge killed metal” era of popular culture in the early 90s…right as Sepultura was releasing it’s 2 most critically acclaimed records, “Arise” in 1991, and “Chaos A.D.” in 1993. By the time Sepultura were starting to break, the landscape was changing drastically. MTV no longer cared about long hair and guitar solos, they wanted dirty hair and flannel. Kurt Cobain was interviewed on Headbangers ball. Ricky Rachtman cut his hair. Metal was starting to stop being heavy and starting to get “nu”.

In 1996, due some personal issues within the band (his wife/band manager being fired), Max Cavelera left the band. He was one of the 2 brothers that founded the band, the rhythm guitar player, and the lead singer. In many ways, the heart and soul of the band. 10 years later would see his brother, Igor, departing the band due to long time lead guitar player Andreas Kisser refusing/resisting to play a reunion show with his brother Max.

Many bands go through line up changes. Some of them are major, some of them are bass players. It’s not very common a band can survive a major shift in the line up, but Sepultura has persevered. Andreas Kisser joined the band in 1987 and original bass player Paulo Jr have kept the band going for 30 years. They still tour regularly and released “The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart” in 2013. Derrick Green stepped into the vocalist role from a hardcore post rock background, and Eloy Casagrande is a top notch guitar player capable of keeping the sound legitimate.

Sepultura is one of the absolute greats. They don’t always get the acclaim for legacy they deserve, in my opinion, because they came along at the wrong time. They’ve also existed in the shadow of a major fracture within the band, and thusly, the fans loyalties. One day, there will be a documentary about them on netflix, and they will enjoy a Pentagram-like resurgence. Until then, take my advice and go see them if they come anywhere close to you. It may not “be the same as it used to be”, but neither is MTV. The difference is, Sepultura is still great.

Mar 24 15 – Angar – Omsk, RU
Mar 25 15 – Rock City – Novosibirsk, RU
Mar 26 15 – Faraon – Barnaul, RU
Mar 27 15 – Centr – Krasnojarsk, RU
Mar 29 15 – Rock´n´Roll Club – Irkutsk, RU
Mar 30 15 – Velicano – Khabarovsk, RU
Apr 01 15 – Joy – Yuzhno, RU
Apr 04 15 – Espaço de Eventos de Cabo Frio – Cabro Frio, RJ, Brazil
Apr 11 15 – Estúdios Kaiser de Cinema – Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil
May 09 15 – Rock in Rio – Las Vegas,NV ,
May 10 15 – Joe’s Grotto – Phoenix,AZ,
May 11 15 – The Whisky – West Hollywood,CA ,
May 12 15 – Ace of Spades – Sacramento,CA ,
May 13 15 – Bossonova Ballroom
 – Portland, OR,
May 14 15 – Studio Seven – Seattle, WA ,
May 15 15 – Rickshaw Theater – Vancouver, BC,
May 16 15 – Starlite Room – Edmonton, AB ,
May 17 15 – Pub Station – Billings, MT,
May 19 15 – Zoo Cabaret – Winnipeg, MB,
May 20 15 – The Amsterdam – Minneapolis, MN


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