Review Summary: Roots Bloody Roots indeed.
What happens when a classic Thrash metal bands meets Nu-metal? Well, if your answer was Sepultura's Roots, then you are correct. Sepultura is a world renowned Thrash band. They have garnered so many dedicated fans and a cult-like following. So why would they suddenly want to stop making Thrash? To experiment a bit of course! This is what I believe most people neglect to think about when looking at this album. This isn't a horrible album like most people say it is. It isn't Sepultura's worst album. It is merely the band blending their classic Thrash sound with their Brazilian heritage. What I think turns most people off (or Sepultura fans) when they think about this album is that there are Nu-metal influences on it. This is not a bad thing. Nu-metal, although ridiculed by most Metal fans, isn't a horrible genre. It's bands such as Limp Bizkit and Coal Chamber that make it seem like such a horrible genre. So Sepultura experimenting with it a little bit wont hurt.
Now the Nu-metal sound isn't as in your face as it it would be with a band as such, oh let's say Korn. Though Korn is a Nu-metal band, I am just using this as an example. The sound on the album comes more from the lyrical standpoint and guitar tuning. Max is now writing lyrics that seen to be considered cliche for the Nu-metal genres; songs about pain and hate can be found throughout. Also, as I mentioned before, the guitars are down-tuned just like traditional Nu-metal songs (although I believe the guitars on this album are tuned lower than most Nu-metal).
Enough of my blabbering, let us get on with the review. The main thing that turned me to this album was the Brazilian theme it had going on. I've always been fascinated with Brazil and its culture. I've also been a fan of Sepultura for a long time. So, generally, I was excited for this album. When I got it and listened to it for the first time one thing was evident. Sepultura is heavier than ever. The opening track "Roots Bloody Roots" starts off with some jungle noises. Suddenly it throws you into the middle of a fury of down-tuned guitars. It's pretty brutal for an opening track. "Attitude" starts with some strange tribal instrument (that I still don't know the name to) which slowly transitions into some very creepy sounding guitars with yelling in the background. This is one of my personal favorites on the album.
So, the rest of the album is basically like the first two tracks, heavy and tribal-like. This is most apparent on the song "Ratamahatta". This song is sung entirely in Portuguese and features Korn drummer David Silveria and Brazilian musician Carlinhos Brown. It's a wild track to say the least. The remainder of the album has its ups and downs. Some good tracks and some throwaway tracks. Some of the good ones would be "Lookaway"(which features Jonathan Davis of Korn and Mike Patton of Faith No More), "Ambush" and "Endangered Species". Some of the throwaway ones would be "Spit" and "Dusted". There are also a two tracks where the bands is playing with native Brazilian tribes. These tracks are pretty neat and add something new to the album.
Overall this is a good album. Is it Sepultura's best? No. Is it a good addition to their discography? Yes. From this point in their career founder and guitarist Max Cavalara would leave to form the band Soulfly, and Sepultura would go on a downwards spiral. But, we can still enjoy the classics that Sepultura has given us.