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Morbid Visions (1986), 6/10
Schizofrenia (1987), 5/10
Beneath The Remains (1989) , 7/10
Arise , 7/10
Chaos A.D., 6.5/10
Roots, 8/10
Against, 5/10
Nation , 5/10
Roorback (2003), 4/10
Dante XXI (2006), 6/10

(Clicka qua per la versione Italiana)

Max Cavalera's Sepultura came from Belo Horizonte (Brazil) and during the 1980s became one of the most influential bands of heavy metal. The EP Bestial Devastation (1985), with Antichrist, and the album Morbid Visions (Cogumelo), that contained classics such as Troops Of Doom, Show Me The Wrath and Mayhem, established their credentials.

The band's style turned dramatically towards Metallica and Slayer on Schizofrenia (Cogumelo).

Relocated to the USA, Sepultura became the genre's superstars over the course of four milestone recordings. The first salvo came with Beneath The Remains (Roadrunner, 1989), a rosary of apocalyptic psalms. To the usual mixture of frantic beat and demonic growl that death-metal mandated, Beneath The Remains, Mass Hypnosis and Slaves Of Pain added crisp and breathtaking guitar staccatos and progressions. These transitional songs were surpassed by the mature delivery of Inner Self and Lobotomy: the vocals are almost melodic and the guitars glitter rather than doom. The band's long instrumental introductions became more complex, without losing any of the violence.

Arise (Roadrunner, 1992) did even better and came at the right time, when death metal was raising the ante for heavy metal. The thrash impetus of the title-track, of Dead Embryonic Cells and of Meaningless Movements is tempered by the morbid atmosphere of Under Siege (Regnum Irae) and by a bunch of sophisticated mood-pieces. With the long Desperate Cry a new band is born: the guitars are fully emancipated (free of intoning an acoustic dirge and an epic hymn) and the tempo can shift from martial to somnolent. Alterate State follows suit, another complex composition that shuns sheer speed in favor of alternating several moods, and that relies on imaginative guitar work.

Chaos A.D. (Roadrunner, 1993) keeps progressing towards a mainstream sound, appealing to the masses, thereby betraying their thrash-metal roots. The band takes shelter in the dramatic tension of Celtic Frost, painting a cold and austere musical universe, one ever threatened by the technocratic civilization (Biotech Is Godzilla, with lyrics by Jello Biafra). The style is even more eclectic, spanning a broad range from the acoustic instrumental Kaiowas to the stormy Refuse/Resist. Sepultura have learned to extract atmospheric effects out of speedmetal's frenetic guitars.

Roots (Roadrunner, 1996) absorbs even Brasilian rhythms, including a ceremony with a tribe of the Mato Groso (Itsari). The effect is sometimes comic (if accelerated, the catchy rigmarole of Roots Bloody Roots could be prime Ramones), but at least Ratamahatta (with its surreal polyrhithm, matched by the vocalist's demented scat) and Breed Apart (a tribal orgy with hiccups of panzer riffs) achieve a new kind of fusion. The experiments do not end with ethnic promiscuity. The horror extravaganza of Lookaway spins around distorted sampling, monk-style chanting and stone-age growls, while the tempo shifts gear to indulge in a morbid exorcism. The weight of Endangered Species collapses under a psychedelic solo and drunken drums.
On the other hand, the drums and guitar maelstrom of Attitude, the chaotic fury of Straighthate (soaring towards the end in one of their most hammering guitar riffs ever), the epileptic fits of Dusted maintain the band's usual level of ferocity.
Roots is not only the album of a mature ensemble, it is an avantgarde work whose compositions have been carefully crafted.

Having replaced Cavalera, who joined Soul Fly, with Derrick Green, Against (Roadrunner, 1998) continues in that direction with no particular innovation. The vocalist does a great job of interpreting the band's music, but the band does not seem to have a direction.

Speedmetal, removed from the apocalyptic urban landscape of Los Angeles, became with Sepultura a universal koine`. I Sepultura hanno saputo inventare un'immagine e un sound che rappresenta le tragedie del loro tempo. La loro saga vale piu` della loro musica.

There is nothing wrong with Sepultura's Nation (Roadrunner, 2001). Actually, Derrick Green's harrowing vocals are better harmonized with the band's sound, and Green shines in emotional hymns like One Man Army and Vox Populi. The problem is that Saga and Politricks and so forth simply try to replay old Sepultura records. The anthemic Sepulnation invokes that past explicitly. More than an album, this seems a call for its fans to gather and support them at a difficult time.

Under A Pale Grey Sky (Roadrunner, 2002) documents a live 1996 Sepultura performance.

Roorback (SPV, 2003) has little to commend itself.

Dante XXI (SPV, 2006), on the other hand, marked a long-overdue return to form with not only some of the original furor but also a few experimental touches.

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