Sepultura: The Thrash Titans from Brazil

Sepultura is a thrash metal band that originated from Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The band was formed in 1984 by brothers Max and Igor Cavalera.

The image is a black and white group photo of the metal band Sepultura from the early '90s, during the era of their 'Arise' album. From left to right, the band members are Andreas Kisser, Igor Cavalera, Max Cavalera, and Paulo Jr. They are dressed in typical heavy metal fashion of the time, with long hair, band t-shirts, and flannel.
Sepultura (1989)
Key Takeaways
  • Sepultura, a Brazilian thrash metal band, was formed in 1984 and achieved international success with their aggressive sound and innovative albums.
  • The band underwent significant changes, including lineup shifts and musical evolution, from death/thrash to groove and nu metal influences.
  • Despite lineup changes, including the departure of Max Cavalera, Sepultura continues to influence the metal scene.

The Pioneers of Brazilian Thrash

Formed in the bustling city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, in 1984, Sepultura is a testament to the power of raw, unadulterated thrash. A potent blend of piercing guitars, pounding drums, and vocal ferocity, they are indeed a force to be reckoned with in the metal world. This tale begins with four ambitious lads – Max Cavalera, his younger brother Igor Cavalera, Paulo Pinto, and Jairo Guedes, who dared to defy the odds and write their names in the annals of metal history.

The Birth of a Beast

They say that a name can set your destiny. For Sepultura, their moniker, meaning ‘grave’ in Portuguese, was chosen as Max Cavalera was translating the lyrics of the Motörhead song “Dancing on Your Grave”. Their first EP, “Bestial Devastation,” was indeed a devastating announcement of their arrival on the metal scene. It was the precursor to their first LP, “Morbid Visions” in 1986, which included the standout track “Troops of Doom”. This song helped the band gain some initial attention in the crowded world of metal.

A New Vision with Schizophrenia

After “Morbid Visions,” a significant shift happened in the band’s lineup. Guitarist Jairo Guedes decided to part ways with Sepultura, making room for São Paulo-based guitarist Andreas Kisser. His arrival marked a new era for the band, which was solidified by the release of their second full-length album, “Schizophrenia”. This album was a critical success and won the band a contract with the prestigious Roadrunner Records, marking the start of their international journey.

Beneath the Remains: The Rise to Stardom

The late 80s and early 90s was a transformative period for Sepultura. Their third studio album, “Beneath the Remains” (1989), garnered them international recognition and paved the way for a long European tour. They had relocated to Phoenix, Arizona, by the time they released “Arise” (1991) – a title track that Max Cavalera holds dear as his favorite Sepultura song. This period established Sepultura as one of the most critically praised metal bands of the 1990s, earning them a solid fan base across the globe.

Chaos A.D. & Roots: The Experimental Era

In the mid-90s, Sepultura decided to take a different path. Their sound evolved from their original death/thrash style to a more hardcore inspired groove metal sound with “Chaos A.D.” (1993). The experimentation continued with “Roots” (1996), where they flirted with nu metal and experimented with elements from the music of Brazil’s indigenous peoples. This period was a testament to the band’s ability to innovate and adapt, refusing to be boxed in any particular genre.

The Departure of Max Cavalera

Despite the band’s soaring popularity, all was not well within Sepultura. In 1996, following a show in London, Max Cavalera decided to leave the band due to personal and professional differences. This marked the end of an era and the start of a new one as Derrick Green stepped in as the new vocalist. With Green, Sepultura released several albums, continuing their exploration of different sounds and themes.

Sepultura Today

Even though the original lineup is no more, Sepultura continues to make waves in the metal scene. Derrick Green expressed his desire for the band to record a ballad for their next album, a departure from their typical heavy sound. On the other hand, Max and Igor Cavalera have taken a trip down memory lane by re-recording the band’s first two albums, “Bestial Devastation” and “Morbid Visions”. Sepultura also joined Kreator, Death Angel, and SpiritWorld for a North American tour in 2023.

Despite the various changes and challenges, Sepultura has stood the test of time. The band’s powerful music and undying passion have ensured that their legacy continues to thrive, inspiring countless other musicians and delighting fans worldwide.