Last updated: 04/29/2011 12:00:00 PM
The curse were spoken, but very few creed that those boys would fly so high. Many people know SEPULTURA began as a role-play, early 80's in Belo Horizonte, a city located in southeast Brazil. And destiny was generous when it gave Paulo Jr. (b), Jairo Guedez (g), Max (g/v) and Igor Cavalera the ways of metal music. The Brazilian death metal scene was a crawling toddler when the band released their first LP in 1985. Entitled BESTIAL DEVASTATION, the record was split with fellow band Overdose and their SÉCULO XX recording.
Songs like Antichrist and Bestial Devastation made clear what SEPULTURA's goal was with their music, and their ever-growing legion of fans understood them well. The next step up was their very own album MORBID VISIONS (1986). Full of good riffs and the everlasting anthem Troops of Doom this remarkable record made them known all over Brazil, giving the band the opportunity of touring their land. But it also were their last album with Jairo Guedez, who unfortunately decided to leave the band.
SEPULTURA was growing in the Brazilian scene at a speed never seen before and their need for a new lead guitar player was fulfilled when Andreas Kisser, a talented and innovative musician like no other, joined the band. 1987 marked the release of SCHIZOPHRENIA, an instant classic to Brazilian metal and very well produced record with outstanding songs, like Escape to the Void and the instrumental piece Inquisition Symphony. By this time SEPULTURA arrived in foreign ears, driving attention from abroad to the Brazilian scene.
SCHIZOPHRENIA was bootlegged in Europe, selling 30.000 copies for which the band received no copyright profits at all. In its homeland, the band was playing even in the most inaccessible cities, like Manaus near the Amazon in Northern Brazil.
Igor, Max, Paulo and Andreas
Reaching for fame, after this outstanding album, SEPULTURA signed with Dutch label RoadRunner Records. Their first release on RR was 1989's BENEATH THE REMAINS, a reference in metal music nowadays. The band recorded the album in Brazil and despite a low budget, decided to bring Scott Burns from the USA to produce it. His experience and expertise were essential to bring professionalism to the band, teaching them to work like grown-ups. Burns also mixed and mastered the album in the US, something no other Brazilian metal band had ever done before.
To support the release of BENEATH THE REMAINS, SEPULTURA went on their first international tour. They toured Europe as an opening act for metal-legend Sodom, traveled over the US and went down to Mexico, marking their name across an ever growing amount of frontiers. It was a memorable tour for the band as they met some of their all time idols, Motörhead and Metallica, crossed the Berlin wall before the cold war was over, and shot their first video. Inner Self was the chosen song, one of the album's greatest hits along with title track Beneath the Remains and Mass Hypnosis.
First international tour
Being the first Brazilian metal band to succeed abroad, they were invited to the select group of headliners of the second edition of the Rock in Rio festival. To mark the occasion, their upcoming album ARISE (1991) had an anticipate release as a commemorative edition, the ARISE ROUGH MIXES (today a collector's item).
After playing in Rio de Janeiro, the band played a free outdoors gig in Sao Paulo in the Charles Muller Square, just outside Pacaembu Stadium, as a huge party to compensate for the long time they were away from their homeland. Unfortunately among the crowd of over 40.000 enthusiastic and excited fans, things ran out of control and a fan was murdered.
This tragic incident brought an aura of fear surrounding the Brazilian show business producers, and conveyed a false image of evilness of the SEPULTURA fans. For years to come all their concerts in Brazil would only happened after long and harsh negotiations.
However, the ARISE tour was a complete success worldwide. The band played in places they could never imagine they would like Greece, Japan and Australia, where one of the band's first single (Third World Posse) was released. In Holland, SEPULTURA played their first big international festival, the Dynamo Open Air. Also, over 100.000 fans celebrated their 2 sold out stadium concerts in Indonesia, where they went gold on ARISE's cassette tapes sales.
Beside the Third World Chaos single, singles were released for the songs Under Siege and Dead Embryonic Cells. Two video clips from Arise were done (Arise and Dead Embryonic Cells), and a home video entitled Under Siege, with live footage from Barcelona, Spain. After all was said, sung, played and done SEPULTURA had gotten the recognition they deserved for their hard work.
Recording the video for 'Territory'
But their most important work was released in 1993, with a stunning party in a medieval castle in England, where the press from all over the globe met. With CHAOS AD the band incorporated some unexpected elements to their brutal sound, like the Brazilian rhythms in the instrumental piece Kaiowas.
Ever since ince this album came out, bringing new ideas, concepts and cultures in their music became SEPULTURA's trademark. Territory was the first single off CHAOS AD. The Territory video clip was shot in Israel, which was a huge step forward for a Brazilian metal band.
The band then won the MTV Video Music Awards for best video of the year in Brazil. The songs Refuse/Resist and Slave New World also became singles/videos, and later the three were released as a home video (Third World Chaos).
Promo picture for CHAOS A.D.
This amazing album brought along an amazing tour. They broke taboos being the first Brazilian band to tour Russia and also the first Latin American band to play "The Monsters of Rock" festival in Donington, England. Meanwhile, in Brazil, it wasn't easy to book concerts as the band's fans still were portrayed as violent people following that horrible incident at the free Sao Paulo gig (during the ARISE Tour). But thanks to the Brazilian Official Fan Club (a.k.a. SOBFC) efforts the band finally could showcase its new work in its homeland. Working as hard as they could, the fan club members and Antonio Coelho (a.k.a. Toninho, president and founder) obtained an amount of signatures so impressive demanding SEPULTURA's presence at "The Hollywood Rock Festival" that its producers had no choice but adding the band to the bill.
In 1994 Max developed a great parallel project with Alex Newport from the band Fudge Tunnel. They named it NAILBOMB and recorded the album POINT BLANK with ultra-special guests Andreas Kisser, Igor Cavalera, Dino Cazares (Fear Factory), just to name a few. NAILBOMB recorded a second and last album while playing at the DYNAMO Open Air to a crowd of 100.000. It was a quick but strong project, and is considered a cult by the SEPULTURA fans.
With the Xavantes tribe
By then, SEPULTURA had written its part of the history of music and was celebrating a decade of existence but still felt the urge to create, innovate and evolve. And they did rose to a new level with their 1996's effort entitled ROOTS. The album title made clear what had influenced the band during the writing and recording process. Lots of Brazilian icons can be found in this remarkable record but the strongest is without a doubt the experience with the Brazilian native Xavantes tribe. The band spent some days living with the tribe and recorded the song Itsari during its stay there.
The songs Roots Bloody Roots, Attitude and Ratamahatta were all realeased as singles and videos. The first video clip (Roots Bloody Roots) was recorded in the city of Salvador, the birthplace of Brazil. The Attitude video features The Gracie family, Brazilian sport legends, and creators of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
With Gracie family recording the video for 'Attitude'
Ratamahatta is sung in Portuguese and features Brazilian percussionist Carlinhos Brown. The video clip for the song won the Best Rock Video award at MTV's Video Music Awards Brazil, and is the only video of SEPULTURA featuring no humans. It only shows puppets in a digitally animated world. The band then released a double version of the album entitled THE ROOTS OF SEPULTURA, with the regular version of ROOTS in one CD and a brief musical history of the band on the second one.
Monsters Of Rock '96
The ROOTS tour was scheduled worldwide and included some important festivals. The band's routine was quite tiring. Tragedy struck the band the day SEPULTURA was playing Donington's "Monsters of Rock" Festival. They received the sad news that a close friend of the band, the son of the band's manager and Max's stepson, Dana Wells, had died. As soon as possible Max flew back to the USA and the band had to perform for the first time as a three piece, in one of the most meaningful concerts of their career. Some fellow musicians helped them out and the three band members did well, they were hurt and sad, but didn't let their fans down that day.
The crowd understood the situation and showed respect to the band with one minute of absolute silence, a bone chilling moment. After this concert SEPULTURA took a break to pay their last respcets and mourn Dana but was back on the road shortly after.
The band did extended and successful concerts during that tour, but meanwhile administrative concerns were creating tension within the band. Often, they would not agree with the management and ultimately opted not to renew the contract of their manager when the time came. Unfortunately, the band's manager happened to be Max's wife, and the couple couldn't agree with the rest of the band. They were given the choice to split the management of the band, so Max could be managed by his wife. Instead, Max decided to leave the band. The rest of the tour had to be cancelled and the band's future was in jeopardy.
Recovering from the shock, the band knew they couldn't end their life's work this way and abandon their legion of loyal fans, as SEPULTURA is more than a band to some; it also is an ideology. As soon as they could they started working on their next album as a three piece. Meanwhile, Max went on and formed a new band (SOULFLY).
Igor, Paulo and Andreas found a new way for their music. This new direction brought Paulo's bass to the spotlight and Andreas did he vocals for a while but, as he never had sung before, wasn't comfortable doing it. SEPULTURA then started auditioning for a new singer.
The demo tapes came flying in RoadRunner Records offices from all over the world and the selection process proved to be a tough one. A small number of vocalists sounded good enough to take the spot. Each received a tape containing a couple of songs and were asked to work on it, including writing lyrics, before meeting the band for an audition. The final auditions took place in Brazil, for the fondness of the new singer with the band's homeland and its culture was essential, so were the bonding and relations with the band members.
Igor, Paulo, Derrick and Andreas
Right from the start, the band was impressed by Derrick Green. Derrick felt comfortable in Brazil, became a soccer fan, and got along with the band extremely well. Derrick was the man SEPULTURA was looking for and he became part of the family.
When Derrick joined, most of the songs were already written, only the the vocals were missing, and the band was in a rush to get the album released. Still they did everything the best they could, and AGAINST was released in 1998.
A very emotional album, AGAINST reflects the struggle of the band to win back their confidence and sportrays the power of SEPULTURA. Very special guests contributed to the album : long time friends of the band Joao Gordo (REZA) and Jason Newsted (HATRED ASIDE) and the Japanese Taiko drummers from KODO (KAMAITACHI), who hosted SEPULTURA at the KODO village (the Sado Island in Japan).
Then came the time to meet the fans again and make clear to everyone that all the press's gossip about SEPULTURA being dead were shameless rumors and lies. The first concert of the AGAINST era was a big charity event in Brazil, the BARULHO CONTRA FOME (Noise against hunger) concert.
Barulho Contra Fome ad
Derrick had been in a few bands before, but never had to face such a numerous, loyal and demanding audience. SEPULTURA rehearsed for BARULHO CONTRA FOME by playing a few concerts in small venues in California, including Los Angeles (Brick by Brick), under the name 'TROOPS OF DOOM'.
BARULHO CONTRA FOME was a great success. Several special SEPULTURA guests performed with them, presenting the 30.000 fans a show they'll remember forever. Mike Patton traveled from Italy to Sao Paulo to jam with the band. Jason Newsted came from the US. The Xavantes Indians got to know a whole new world coming down from their village to the concrete jungle of Sao Paulo. Carlinhos Brown left sunny Bahia to do RATAMAHATTA again. Jairo gladly joined his ex-band mates again and horror movie legend Coffin Joe blessed the band in his evil ways. Press and fans from abroad joined the enthusiastic crowd and warmly welcomed Derrick to the Sepultribe.
The singles 'TRIBUS', 'AGAINST' AND 'CHOKE' (this one also having a video clip with live footage from BARULHO CONTRA FOME show) were released off AGAINST. The AGAINST TOUR was succesful, reaching countries all over the world. SEPULTURA join classic metal act SLAYER to tour for the first time, putting an end to an unfounded rumor that the bands didn't get along well. And for the joy of die-hard Brazilian fans, SEPULTURA finally toured Brazil after years of absence.
As soon as the tour was over, the four musicians started writing the next album. The AGAINST years were an essential energy boost to the band that led them to conquer their own NATION (2001).
Andreas, Paulo, Igor and Derrick altogether wrote an album and created a utopian world. A special place for the most important people: fans, friends and families. The lyrics of the song SEPULNATION explain it all, their music is their weapon and they use it skillfully.
Rock In Rio 3
Thanks to the cooperation of the band's WebTribe, SEPULTURA were invited to play the third edition of the Rock in Rio festival. There they introduced NATION to a 150.000 people crowd, starting the show with the amazing anthem VALTIO, written with the collaboration of Finnish musicians APOCALYPTICA.
This new record went gold even before it reached the stores. It has its own style, guests like Jello Biafra and Dr. Israel, and even quotes from Mother Teresa de Calcutta, Albert Einstein, Gandhi and the 14th Dalai Lama.
The SEPULNATION already is rising up!
Thanks to François Rosy for submitting the biography.