Nobody believed that those young men would soar to such heights. In Belo Horizonte, Brazil, in the early 1980s, SEPULTURA originated as a role-playing game. And destiny was kind enough to bestow the ways of metal music on Paulo Jr. (b), Jairo Guedez (g), Max (g/v), and Igor Cavalera. When the band released their first album in 1985, the Brazilian death metal scene was still in its infancy. The album, named BESTIAL DEVASTATION, was released as a split with Overdose’s SECULO XX release, which was also split.
For their ever-expanding fanbase, SEPULTURA’s goals with songs like “Antichrist” and “Bestial Devastation” were crystal evident. MORBID VISIONS was the band’s follow-up album (1986). Troops of Doom, the band’s enduring song, and the album’s other standout tracks made them household names in Brazil, paving the way for them to tour the country. The band’s final album featuring Jairo Guedez, who sadly decided to leave the group, was also the last one to feature him.
And when Andreas Kisser joined SEPULTURA, the band’s demand for a new guitar player was met in a way that had never been witnessed before in the Brazilian music scene. SCHIZOPHRENIA, an immediate classic to Brazilian metal, was released in 1987, and it features some of the best tracks in the genre, including Escape to the Void and Inquisition Symphony. The arrival of SEPULTURA in foreign ears at this time drew international attention to the Brazilian music scene.
SCHIZOPHRENIA was bootlegged in Europe and sold 30.000 copies with no copyright earnings for the band. Even in remote Brazilian locations like Manaus, near the Amazon, the band was able to play even in the most difficult to reach places.
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SEPULTURA signed a deal with RoadRunner Records following the success of this album. BENEATH THE REMAINS, their debut for RR in 1989, is now considered a classic in the metal community. It was decided to send Scott Burns from the United States to produce the album, even though the band had a limited budget. He was instrumental in bringing professionalism to the band and teaching them how to function as adults. In addition, no other Brazilian metal band has ever mixed and mastered an album in the United States other than Burns’.
SEPULTURA embarked on their first ever international tour in support of the band’s debut album, BENEATH THE REMAINS. It was an epic journey that took them from Europe to the United States to Mexico, where they made their mark on an ever-expanding number of borders. The band’s first tour included meetings with Motorhead and Metallica, two of their biggest influences, as well as a trip through the Berlin Wall just as the Cold War was ending. They also shot their first music video. Beneath the Remains and Mass Hypnosis were also included on the album’s best hits list.
As the first Brazilian metal band to achieve international success, they were selected as a headlining act at the second Rock in Rio Festival. ARISE ROUGH MIXES, a commemorative edition of their upcoming album ARISE (1991), was released as a commemorative edition to honor the event.
Sao Paulo’s Charles Muller Square, right outside Pacaembu Stadium, hosted a free outdoor concert for the band to make up for the time they had spent away from their homeland. Unfortunately, things got out of hand in the 41,000-strong throng and a fan was shot and killed.
As a result of this fatal incident, Brazilian show business producers felt intimidated, and the SEPULTURA supporters were painted as malevolent. Their concerts in Brazil would have to be negotiated for years to come.
The ARISE tour, on the other hand, was a huge success all over the world. The band toured Greece, Japan, and Australia, where one of their earliest singles (Third World Posse) was released, all of which were experiences they never expected. At the Dynamo Open Air festival in Holland, SEPULTURA made their maiden appearance on an international stage. More than 100,000 people attended ARISE’s two sold-out stadium concerts in Indonesia, where the band’s cassette tape sales went from zero to one.
In addition to the Third World Chaos single, the songs Under Siege and Dead Embryonic Cells were released as singles as well. Arise and Dead Embryonic Cells were made into video clips, as was a home video dubbed Under Siege, which featured live footage from Barcelona, Spain’s Catalonia region. When the final whistle had blown, SEPULTURA had finally received the accolades they deserved for their efforts.
Sepultura’s members took a well-earned hiatus from touring for nearly a year before beginning production on their most ambitious album yet, Roots, in 1996. Heavy metal/world music was created by incorporating Brazilian rhythm and musical elements with the band’s distinctive downtuned guitars and more politicized themes. In Roots, Sepultura reached its creative pinnacle; it seemed that the band would continue to gain in popularity and prominence until a family tragedy led to the breakup of the band. It was only a few hours before the band was set to perform at Monsters of Rock festival in England that they learned that manager Gloria’s teenage son (and Max’s wife) had died in a vehicle accident. When Sepultura stepped to the stage as a three-piece, Max and Gloria were already on their way back to the United States. Max was confronted by the band only a few months later about breaking connections with Gloria and finding new management. The loss of a member of Max’s extended family had just left him reeling, and he saw this as a great betrayal, leading him to leave the band amid much bad blood and acrimony. Some thought that his departure from Sepultura would be the end of the band, but they quickly stated that they would continue and began searching for a new lead singer.
Against was Sepultura’s first album with Derrick Green as their new lead singer after a lengthy search. Aside from the tune “Kamaitachi,” which featured Japan’s Kodo drumming band, the album’s intensity and variety were much the same as on its predecessor. However, it lacked the particular spark that had defined the group’s earlier work. It also sold less than half as many copies as Cavalera’s first album with his new band, Soulfly, which plainly demonstrates which fans remain loyal to. After a brief hiatus, Sepultura returned with Nation in early 2001. Despite improved reviews and a more experienced Green on vocals, the album failed to live up to expectations and was replaced by the predecessor. In the fall of 2002, the band published one of their final live concerts with Max, Under a Pale Grey Sky, in hopes to re-connect with their fans. In 2003, the band released an EP of cover songs called Revolusongs. This was followed by the full-length Roorback, Live in So Paulo in 2005, Dante XXI in 2006, and A-Lex in 2009, which was inspired by the movie A Clockwork Orange.
When Sepultura announced their signing with Nuclear Blast in 2012, they revealed that their 2011 album Kairos (on which their drummer left) and 2013’s The Mediator Between the Head and Hands Must Be the Heart would be released by Nuclear Blast. A new drummer, Eloy Casagrande, joined the band for the band’s second album, Metropolis, which was inspired by the science fiction film of the same name. Ross Robinson, the man behind their landmark album Roots, was the man behind this one. The band returned to the studio in 2017 with Jens Bogren after a large tour to record Machine Messiah. For the next two years, they toured in support of the record, which was released in 2019. Quadra, the band’s 15th studio album, was released in February 2020 and produced by Jens Bogren. The quadrivium served as the basis for this four-part concept offering. Sepultura’s music evolved dramatically on this album, with the band’s trademark fusions of prog metal, thrash, and death metal often occurring inside the same song. A compilation of collaborations with contemporary artists like as Devin Townsend, Scott Ian (Anthrax), Danko Jones, and Matt Heafy (Trivium) was released in the following year, SepulQuarta.