Before Max Cavalera left to form Soulfly
, there was no denying that Sepultura were a significant force in Brazilian heavy metal, proven by the band's openness to experimentation throughout their career, increasingly heading towards a point where dabbling not only in hardcore punk, but also in traditional Brazilian music wouldn't be out of the question. Roots
, while not the best album of Sepultura's career, is an album that showcases a diverse mixture of styles, and should not be passed up for this reason.
The opening tracks showcase an interest in groove-oriented music, while the downtuned sound, as previously noted, recalls that of the Deftones
. The drumming of "Roots Bloody Roots" channels a tribal influence, further explored through primitive chants and vocalization spread throughout the album. "Ratamahatta" features chanting coperformed by Cavalera and samba reggae musician Carlinhos Brown, with percussion performed by Korn drummer David Silveria.
The vocal duties of "Lookaway" is largely cohandled by Mike Patton
and Korn's Jonathan Davis, with Patton providing wordless vocalization and humming while Davis provides throaty whispering. Also interesting, in addition to the influence of tribal music, is the incorporation of scratches by House of Pain
's DJ Lethal. Two tracks break away from Sepultura's traditional hard edge - "Jasco" is a short piece performed on acoustic guitar, and "Itsári" consists of traditional music performed by members of the Xavante tribe. After one last rock song -- the hardcore punk effort "Dictatorshit" -- we are treated to the field recording "Canyon Jam", consisting largely of distant, offset tribal drumming.
, often considered a masterpiece of Brazilian metal, is not without flaw -- much of the music is noisy and the loud, grinding guitar feedback and can sometimes be tiring. But there is also a lot of interesting things going on here. It's not a perfect album by any stretch, but it's certainly one of Sepultura's most interesting efforts, and it's definitely one of the most unique metal albums ever produced, though often overpraised, and definitely not Sepultura's best album. But it's a very strong, energetic effort -- the band is in high form here, and there's not a moment that seems lazy or ill-conceived. Roots
should serve as the metalhead's introduction to diverse forms of music from beyond the globe.