album #4 of the big four albums (the pinacle of Sepultura’s career), and the last before the descent of their popularity following the departure of Max, singer/guitarist, main songwriter, and founding member of Sepultura. some Sepultura fans love this album and other ones hate it. it mainly has to do with the inclusion of the ethnic Brazilian world music element that is so prominent with this album. from the tribal percussion to the Portuguese chanting, to the lyrics that focus on the “roots” of Sepultura’s Brazilian heritage. for some people, it just strays too far from the traditional thrash metal foundation that was the band’s core from the early days. there’s even a hint of “nu-metal” influence in the songs (no doubt a result of Ross Robinson’s involvement in producing the album – he worked on the first Korn album). nevertheless, this album is extremely heavy, and simplistic at the same time. its bare-bones metal boiled down to the minimalistic, basic element. the riffs are simple, and the beats are solid… several months after this album, Max’s stepson was killed in an auto accident, and this incident was a catalyst in the severing of ties between Max and the rest of the band. Max would go on to form Soulfly (their first album almost sounds like Roots part 2), and the remaining members would continue with Max’s replacement Derrick Green, to create the Sepultura album, Against.
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
Damn, this album kicks you in the teeth from the beginning and only pauses twice briefly before it’s over. I had reservations about buying this album at first. I’m not a huge metal fan and I knew Sepultura was an 80’s death metal band. I just read so many reviews sayig how great it was I really couldn’t resist. WOWI normally enjoy more mellodic or clean vocals but Max has got a set of lungs on him. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a roar as deep as his especially right out of the gate(“Roots, Bloody Roots”).This album follows no formula whatsoever and each song takes on a life of its own. There a two lighter tracks, a really great acoustic guitar solo and a song with the band playing acoustic and a tribe chanting and singing. That one is pretty impressive.Others favorites include the crazy “Ratamahatta”. This song jumped out at me and has remained my favorite song on the album since I got it. Masterful percussion throuhgout the entire album. The guitar playing is cool because some of the songs take on a traditional death metal grind but others have the downtuned sound of early nu-metal(let’s say Korn but incredibly heavier). This counts alot to the originality and diversity of the album.Anyway, go out and buy it if you like good music.
When we talk about Sepultura we can make a difference between two eras: the trash/death metal era and the tribal/trash/groove/core (weird, isn’t it?) era. Roots stands in the middle, the inflection point. It has elements of trash and death metal but the experimentation with tribal rythms and instruments is starting to have more presence. Well, I must say that this is the last album with the mighty Max Cavalera. The end of an era as I said.
To the Sepultura purists, this album is a shame; to the newcomers, this is their the best album. I’m not saying this album can comapre to the earlier albums (Beneath the remains, Arise, Chaos AD) but it’s good because of the risk they took to make something different in music.
Sepultura’s Roots went bravely where no other metal album had gone before. It mixed Afro-Brazilian drums and tribal rhytms/music with downtuned nu-metal guitar and death metal vocals. An astonishing achievement. However, there are some things I have to say about Roots as a whole…It’s not the masterpiece people say it is. It was released at a great time, rivaling and overtaking most other musical accomplishments of 1996(metal, anyway). Slayer had just released their very own Spaghetti Incident?, Pantera made one big mess of album in Trendkill, and KoRn’s abysmal follow-up Life Is Peachy was out too. Amidst this, Sepultura released Roots. If you compare it to Metallica’s Load, well…we’ll just leave it at that. Nonetheless, it lacks the flare of previous releases. Beneath The Remains was a classic, Arise was a masterpiece, and Chaos A.D. was experimental and brilliant. Roots isn’t. Better than other metal releases of the time, but not an opus everyone makes it out to be.Chaos A.D. mixed the tribal elements with the music fairly well, but managed to thrash and burn like hell, with riffs occasionally slowing down enough to hurtle skullward. Many don’t consider that album very highly, but it took the tribal stuff pretty far without commercializing it. On Roots, it’s almost a gimmick. All the band members cut their hair and put on makeup. Solos are removed from songs, messy, or nonexistent-only to be replaced with percussion interludes and brazilian tribes singing. The speed isn’t too slow, but it makes Chaos A.D. sound incredibly fast, and Arise sound lightspeed. The change from Chaos to Roots was completely uncalled for, regardless of the tribal stuff on Chaos. The tight playing is sacrificed for a sprawling 72-minute noisefest. Another thing-there’s a lot of profanity in here! Not one or two words, mind you. The album’s drenched in it, and there’s no PA sticker!Some songs are still good, and the album does the whole nu-metal thing much better than anyone of KoRn’s ‘influential’ pieces of garbage. Highlights: “Roots Bloody Roots,” “Attitude,” “Ratamahatta,” “Spit,” “Born Stubborn,” “Jasco,” “Itsari,” “Dictators**t,” and the Canyon Jam.I recommend this to Sepultura fans and nu-metal fans. It’s not thrash metal, so don’t expect vintage Sepultura here. Try to enjoy the experience. Roots truly kick started nu-metal, and opened the world to tribal metal. If you don’t like it, check out Chaos A.D. for a thrashier approach, and Arise, Beneath, and Schizo for intense, brutal, aural insanity. Peace.
Even though “Chaos A.D.” was Sepultura’s bravest and most innovative album (because it premiered a song which was an instrumental consisting entirely of acoustic guitars and tribal drums), I still consider “Roots,” Sepultura’s sixth, their most experimental and creative work. This 1996 album was also Sepultura’s last with frontman Max Cavalera; he would leave the group and go on to front a solo band, Soulfly. And, until 2004’s “Prophecy,” “Roots” was also more experimental than anything Max would make in Soulfly.
In addition to the aforementioned tribal drums and acoustic strumming, this album also features a Jew’s harp, maracas, a Brazilian tribe, tin drums, and DJ scratching. But creativity came with a cost. “Roots” is still a heavy metal album, but the death metal is long gone, because (as was the case with “Chaos A.D.”) these riffs are tinged with punk. Plus, since Max adopted Korn’s downtuned guitars and had guest appearances, some fans think this album helped usher in nu-metal. I, however, still believe that the experimental aspects of “Roots” made it innovative. And Max may have been partially influenced by nu-metal, but he was equally as influenced by his own heritage/upbringing. (Max is from Brazil, thus explaining the Brazilian tribe, maracas, and tin drums.)
“Roots, Bloody Roots” is the first single, probably the heaviest song on “Roots,” and is one of Sepultura’s best known songs. It remains a staple of their live shows, and the success of this song has influenced some Soulfly songs (like “Prophecy.”) Plus, Max has even adopted this song as his own, and played it during some Soulfly concerts. The album opens with the sound of crickets chirping, then this song launches into heavy, de-tuned guitar bluster. These guitars, which make a heavy churning and humming noise, are a big part of why this song is so heavy and catchy (even though there are some good vocal hooks, here, too). I enjoy how the beat comes down, then Max comes out of no where to let out one of his loud, ascending yells.
“Attitude” features guitars which are at first flamenco, then punching and pounding.
“Ratamahatta” is the song with the Brazilian tribe. It begins with what sounds like maracas and tribal drums. The guitars kick in and there’s some catchy, aggressive scat in the background. The verses on this song are soft and restrained, making a good friction between the verses and heavy choruses.
“Breed Apart” has tin drums at the beginning, before turning to chunky, chug and churn guitars and vocals that alternate from supple growling to raging yells. The Jew’s harp comes aboard and plays briefly over the beat, and the song ends with some static-sounding white noise.
“Spit” starts with (what sounds like) guitar feedback and some distant yelling (of “Un, dos, tres, cua!”) The crunchy guitars eventually come to the front, and there are a few more of Max’s heavy yells.
“Lookaway” has an instrument that could be a flute and a catchy drum beat, followed by DJ scratching (compliments of DJ Lethal-a DJ who would later join Limp Bizkit). Even though there are some guitars, this song’s pace is about half as fast as the others. Two guest vocalists, Faith No More’s Mike Patton and Korn’s Jonathan Davis, make an appearance and sing/whisper over distant, dreary, ghost-like noises.
“Dusted” begins with a banging of the drum sticks, then the guitarists (Andreaas Kisser and Max Cavalera) make some of the heaviest and fastest guitar riffs since track one.
“Born Stubborn” has a beeping guitar noise which becomes increasingly fast and heavy, but some more tribal drums and Brazilian chants are tossed in near the end.
“Itsari” mixes more South American chants and maracas with acoustic guitar strums and soft hand percussion.
“Ambush” is highlighted by a nice breakdown of heavy, groove-y guitars, which comes after the song veers into soft, serene territory.
So, this album further expanded Sepultura’s innovation and it helped prove that these guys can do more than pound power chords and double bass drums. With “Roots,” Sepultura really came into their own, after stepping out of the shadows of other death metal bands, like Morbid Angel and Slayer.
If you collect everything Max Cavalera or Sepultura, “Roots” obviously needs to be apart of your collection. And you should also check this album out if you’re a diehard heavy or nu-metal fan. If you’re new to the band, even though this is a great C.D., I wouldn’t start here; I’d pick up “Chaos A.D.” and “Beneath the Remains” first.
When Max was apart of this group, Sepultura were headed in quite a curious direction. “Roots” was their least heavy album, but it was also their most imaginative and experimental. One can’t help but wonder what the next Sepultura album would have sounded like; would it have been a return to their death metal roots, or would it have been a straight forward, unapologetic nu-metal album? I don’t know the answer, but whatever the case, I think Max, Andreaas, Igor, and Paulo would have had a hard time outdoing themselves and making an even more creative album than this.