Published Jul 25, 2011It's tough to imagine that a group of clueless Brazilian kids who, in the mid-'80s, worshipped at the altar of pseudo-Satanist thrash metallers Venom would later achieve commercial success with an album that bordered on nu-metal. But so it goes: from their early raw death metal discs, to a streamlined death-meets-hardcore approach, to a huge emphasis on groove and traditional percussion elements, the journey ― linear and logical as it may be ― is certainly a tough one to wrap the longhair-enveloped noggins around. But Sepultura ― who, for a long time, were anchored by brothers Max and Igor Cavalera ― have had their share of tough and confusing times, like the tragedy and family issues that ended up tearing the Cavalera brothers apart, rending the core of the band, and dividing their fan base, a division that remains until this day: few subjects in the realm of metal get people as riled up as the "old Sepultura vs. new Sepultura" debate. Now, after approximately 20 million albums sold worldwide (although guitarist Andreas Kisser admits he doesn't know the exact numbers and says he doesn't trust the record labels anyway), the band ― classic line-up splintered, with the Cavaleras playing together in the Cavalera Conspiracy and Max also playing in his band Soulfly while Sepultura continues with a strong new line-up ― are set to release their 12th album, Kairos, which is actually a concept album about the band's own history, rife with strife, poverty, and family feuds.
Sepultura are formed in Belo Horizonte, Brazil by brothers Max and Igor Cavalera, both teenagers. The two had grown up listening to classic rock staples, but once they are introduced to the ultra-raw underground metal of Venom, the high-speed thrash of bands like Kreator and Exodus, the two decide that's what they want to play. Max plays guitar and Igor is on drums, while Paulo Xisto Pinto Jr. (who goes by Paulo Jr.) is on bass and Wagner Lamounier is the vocalist; he doesn't last, and splits on less than great terms with the band. Lamounier goes on to form cult black metal group Sarcófago. Many years later, after Lamounier makes comments about the Cavalera brothers in the media, Max writes "Bumbklatt," a less-than-flattering song about him ("So fuck you and your friends/'Cause they still are the same/and your bullshit remains") for his band Soulfly. (Curiously, Lamounier is now a professor of economic science at a Belo Horizonte university.) Max takes over vocals and Jairo Guedes steps in as guitarist. The band's name (Portuguese for "Grave"), is suggested by Max after he translates the lyrics to Motörhead's "Dancing on your Grave." The band play their first show on December 4.
Sepultura release Bestial Devastation, a split EP with now-forgotten Brazilian band Overdose on Brazilian indie Cogumelo. Sepultura's five songs are an incredibly raw and haphazard take on death and thrash metal, equal parts Venom, Celtic Frost and Slayer, with a naïve Satanic lyrical approach. While the album doesn't even begin to hint at how the band would improve as songwriters later on, it is impressive in its one-dimensional brutality. In later years, the band will take the EP's "Antichrist" and rechristen it "Anticop" to reflect their changing lyrical priorities.
Morbid Visions, Sepultura's debut full-length, is released on Cogumelo; in the U.S. it's released on metal indie New Renaissance (more recently, the album has been available, with the debut EP, on one CD on Roadrunner). Taking the EP's horrible production values and perhaps making it sound worse (the band recorded with guitars that weren't tuned), the album features "Troops of Doom," which becomes a live staple. It also features sloppy drumming and totally incomprehensible vocal work, both of which add to the youthful charm. The band struggle to write lyrics in English, resulting in some unintentionally hilarious and so-not-evil "evil" imagery.
Guitarist Guedes is replaced by Andreas Kisser, who had briefly been Max's guitar tech; Kisser remains with the band to this day. "I had a band at the same time in Sao Paulo that was playing covers," says Kisser now. "That was a great school for me, to play Whitesnake, Twisted Sister, Venom, Exodus and Metallica. Around '86 I started to do some original stuff, influenced by Kreator and all that new German thrash ― Destruction, Sodom. I had friends in my band but they weren't serious about it. When I met the Sepultura guys, I saw they really wanted to do it; they were ready." The band release Schizophrenia, which finds them streamlining their sound slightly and incorporating more German thrash metal influences. It sounds more mature but that's all relative, considering their debut and EP were so incredibly raw. "I brought more of a traditional heavy metal influence to the band's sound," Kisser will tell Chronicles of Chaos in 2001, "while learning a lot about punk and hardcore from the others in the band. That mixture was such a great thing for us." The band shop Schizophrenia around to larger record labels, although poverty makes that difficult. "I wanted to go to New York and visit the record companies with some copies of our album," Max will tell Metal Hammer in 1996. "But I didn't have the money to do that. I pretended to be a Pan Am employee by getting into a suit and combing my hear back. The journalist of Metal Forces that was waiting for me at the airport couldn't believe his eyes. He was expecting a savage and got an office clerk!" The trouble is worth it; prominent metal label Roadrunner picks the band up. The band struggle with gaining international exposure while also having a poor grasp of English. "We still had huge problems with the language back then," Max will tell Metal Hammer in 1996. "I remember some guy from MTV that came around. We had just signed our deal. 'Are you going to perform in America now?' he asked. 'Now?' I said, amazed. 'Tonight?' I really thought that he wanted to take us to the airport."
Already making waves in the Brazilian metal scene, Sepultura record their first album for a larger label, Beneath the Remains, in Rio de Janeiro with American producer Scott Burns. It is the first full production job for Burns, who would become one of underground metal's most in-demand producers. Max will later tell Metal Hammer that the band were really afraid to work with a producer for the first time, saying that "Our first three albums we produced ourselves. We didn't want anybody to touch our music. We only wanted someone who could help us in the studio. For us, Beneath the Remains was a sort of debut album, not only because it was our first with a decent record company but also because it was the first time we had written songs as a team. Andreas didn't contribute that much on the previous albums."
The band release Beneath the Remains, the first album that demonstrates their ability to write memorable songs in a death metal framework. The album, while still extremely heavy, isn't as manic and hysterical as their earlier output, laying the blueprint for the death metal path the band would follow for the next few years. Kelly Shaefer of Atheist writes lyrics to the song "Stronger Than Hate"; Shaefer and members of Obituary and Incubus contribute background vocals. Roadrunner gives the original Beneath the Remains cover art to Floridian death metallers Obituary for their Cause of Death album, which will be released in 1990; in death metal, there is always more scary cover art to be found, and the band recovers just fine with new artwork.
Sepultura play the Rock In Rio festival with Guns N' Roses, Judas Priest, and Megadeth to 170,000 people. The band's tour for Beneath the Remains includes a jaunt through the States, where their reputation is rapidly growing. They begin recording at Morrisound Recording in Florida.
The release of Arise affirms Sepultura's place in the death metal world; it's a juggernaut, all huge choruses, great production values, and uncompromising heaviness. It also contains their first experimentations with tribal percussion and a suggestion of the hardcore punk elements that the band will later fully embrace. They earn their first gold record in Indonesia, and goes on to sell over a million copies worldwide. Earlier lyrical themes focusing on all things evil and Satanic are dropped. Despite these successes ―i ncluding video play and opening an American tour for Ozzy Osbourne ― the band have reservations. "Arise has always been in Beneath the Remains' shadow," Kisser will tell Metal Hammer in 1996. "It didn't bring us what we were hoping for: a major breakthrough. Perhaps the CD was too much like Beneath the Remains." The band have a surreal experience filming a video for the title track in Death Valley. "We went there in a camper and spent hours watching videos about that hippie cult [the Manson Family] to get us in the right mood," Max will tell Metal Hammer in 1995. "At the end of the day, when the job was done, there were these drifters that showed up. 'Desert bums,' they called them. They're these wild, mentally confused types that somehow are able to survive in this warm, barren environment. They were very pushy ― 'What the fuck are you doing here?' ― which made things a bit awkward. Looking back, it really fit the weird vibe of the day." Kisser breaks his wrist snowboarding; Silvio Golfetti of Brazilian metal band Korzus fills in for him on tour. Sepultura perform in Sao Paulo; 30,000 people show up, 20,000 more than expected. Chaos breaks out; one person dies.
Concert video Under Siege (Live in Barcelona) is released. The band tour with Osbourne, Ministry and Helmet. Kisser auditions to be a temporary rhythm guitar replacement for Metallica while James Hetfield recuperates from severe burns he received during a concert; Kisser doesn't get the gig. The band relocate from Brazil to Phoenix, Arizona as they write their next album.
Sepultura try to get to the level by signing with Epic Records (which Kisser will later describe as being a "very bad experience" and a "disaster" to Metal Hammer). "The guy that signed us came to visit us in the studio," Max will tell Metal Hammer in 1996. "He turned out to be this huge asshole that didn't understand our music at all. He was the guy that had discovered Pearl Jam and he couldn't stop talking about that. We didn't care about his fancy stories. We wanted someone that was interested in us, not Pearl Jam." Recorded in South Wales, major label debut Chaos A.D. is a huge change for Sepultura; they strip down the intense focus on virtuoso death metal playing and incorporate more hardcore punk and traditional Brazilian music into their metal. The album, produced by Andy Wallace, features a guest appearance from punk legend Jello Biafra on "Biotech is Godzilla," and Biohazard's Evan Seinfeld co-writes a song, "Slave New World." The album also features "Kaiowas," the band's first acoustic song, recorded in the ruins of the ancient castle of Chepstow in Wales. "It's a very inspirational album," says Kisser. "We wanted to live that moment, that Sabbath/Zeppelin moment. It's an album I have great memories of and it's something very special for sure." The intro to the disc is a recording of Max's son Zyon's heartbeat in utero. The relationship with Epic goes sour quickly (that the label releases Chaos A.D. on the same day as Pearl Jam's massive Vs. doesn't help matters). "They had Prong and Kreator, two other bands that they fucked up," Max will tell Metal Hammer in 1996. "At least we survived. When we realized that we were in trouble, we really showed them what's what. Every time we had to go to a meeting at the Epic office, we ripped the posters of their shitty bands off the wall. Just to piss them off." The band want to give a subtle middle finger to Epic on their next album's liner notes: the last line of the song "Cut-throat" is "enslavement, pathetic, ignorant, corporation," and in the liner notes the band have the first letter of each word circled. Fearing lawsuits, the idea is nixed before the album is released. Despite the circumstances surrounding it, Chaos A.D. eventually goes gold in the States, the band's first album to do so.
Sepultura hit the never-ending road with big names in the metal world: Pantera, Biohazard, Prong, Fear Factory, Clutch, and Fudge Tunnel. Max forms Nailbomb with Alex Newport of Fudge Tunnel. The band play a vicious mix of industrial, hardcore and thrash and quickly release Point Blank. Meanwhile, Kisser gets together with Jason Newsted of Metallica in the unfortunately named Sexoturica (also featuring Tom Hunting and Gary Holt of Exodus).
Sepultura continue a massive two-year touring cycle for Chaos A.D. while beginning to experiment with new sounds and influences that will come out on their next album. Tensions start to rise backstage, however, with two camps forming: Max and his wife and band manager Gloria Bujnowski, and the rest of Sepultura, who feel like Max is getting a disproportionate amount of press attention. Sepultura release the Third World Chaos home video, with live clips and videos. Nailbomb releases a recording of their one live concert, Proud to Commit Commercial Suicide.
The band are back on Roadrunner Records for Roots, an album that Max will later claim is the first that Paulo Jr. actually plays on, saying that Kisser and himself played the bass on all earlier albums. It is another huge shift in sound, and is one of the band's most polarizing albums. Roots features guest vocal appearances from Mike Patton, Jonathan Davis of Korn and one song recorded with Xavante aboriginal people at their ancestral home. As well, there are guest appearances from Brazilian musician Carlinhos Brown, Korn drummer David Silvera and DJ Lethal. When the album isn't focusing on traditional Brazilian music, it dabbles quite heavily in groove-oriented nu-metal and simplistic hardcore. "At the same time that we were doing all those beautiful, artistic challenges, offstage it was getting weird and people were trying to make this the Max project instead of a band project," says Kisser. Roots goes gold in the U.S., Canada, the UK, and a handful of other countries and peaks at #27 on Billboard. The band release We Are What We Are, a video containing Roots-era promotional clips and interviews. In November, The Roots of Sepultura is released, a two-disc set containing Roots and a CD of rarities. The band play to the biggest American audiences of their career on the first Ozzfest tour, but all is not well within Sepultura, as the increasingly tense atmosphere on the road proves. "We had just created our best album with Roots and were in the middle of our most successful tour ever," Kisser will tell Metal Hammer in 1997. "We felt great, but at the same time, we had this big problem." During an appearance at the Castle Donington Monsters of Rock festival, Sepultura play as a three-piece, without Max; Kisser assumes vocal duties. Max had left the concert when he got the news that his stepson Dana Wells was murdered. The rest of the band had been having issues with their manager Gloria, Dana's mother; they decide to fire her. After the rest of Sepultura tell Max this news, he leaves the band; his last show with Sepultura is that same night, in England, on December 16. This creates a rift between Max and the rest of Sepultura ― including his brother Igor ― that won't be resolved for years. He does not give an official explanation as to why he left and won't for many years. The split is ugly.
"I started Sepultura back in the day," he will tell Metal Hammer in 1997. "I used to write that name on my schoolbooks. What I'm going through now, is like watching my own son die. I cry every day, I feel hurt, sad, angry, it's like half of me has died." He went on to say that "I want everyone to know that I didn't destroy Sepultura. I was the one that always tried to solve the problems. But we're past that now. It's too bad, but they have forgotten where we came from. How we slept under bridges in Brazil during the Morbid Visions tour. That we sacrificed everything to reach our goal." Andreas will tell the same magazine, in reply to Max's quotes, that "more and more, we got the impression that Gloria was only managing a part of the band: Max, to be precise. He was put forward as the man that it's all about, when in the first year, we were all equally represented. This also made communicating with Max very difficult. He became harder and harder to reach, which made the band feeling, which is so essential for Sepultura, disappear. Gloria's approach drove us apart." Kisser seems to know that Sepultura just hit their peak of success, adding that "there are some hard times up ahead." Igor starts his own fashion label and dubs it Cavalera. Despite losing Max, the band are determined to keep spirits up. "I don't know if it's positive or negative that Max left, it just happened," says Kisser. "It was a snowball, we couldn't talk to each other, people were portraying the band totally differently than what the band really was. So we couldn't really get it together; he decided to turn his back and leave; he wasn't fired. We wanted to work it out, for sure. But he felt like, 'Fuck you guys, I'm bigger than you, I have a contract. See you later.' And that's what he did."
Sepultura record a vocal-less version of new song "Choke" to encourage people to audition for them. Famed A&R rep Mike Gitter talks to Derrick Green about auditioning. Green is a Cleveland-born vocalist who had primarily played in hardcore bands: Outface (with members of Civ, Prong and Filter); Overfiend (with members of Orange 9mm, Judge and Youth of Today); and Alpha Jerk (with members of Gorilla Biscuits and Warzone). A month after submitting his tape, Green gets a call from Igor; he's asked to fly to Sao Paulo to meet the band and audition in person. A week later, Green is in Brazil jamming with Sepultura. He stays for two weeks; after he leaves the band ask him to return to join Sepultura and start recording the next album right away. Igor makes a guest appearance on American hardcore band Strife's In This Defiance album. Sepultura release Blood-Rooted, a collection of live tracks and rarities. Kisser tells Metal Hammer that "the door will always be open for Max."
Max's new band, Soulfly, release their self-titled debut in April on Roadrunner. Many long-time Sepultura fans balk at the album's overt nu-metal sounds; a guest appearance from Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst doesn't help. The album does start the trend of Soulfly's commercial prominence over post-Max Sepultura, however. The reaction from his ex-bandmates is less than supportive. "Max had the whole structure of Sepultura that took ten years to build to do Soulfly, which was very unfair to Sepultura history and what Sepultura meant, really," says Kisser. Soulfly's tune "The Song Remains Insane" contains the band playing parts of two covers: a song from classic Brazilian punkers RDP and a cover of Roots' "Attitude." Only two years after releasing their biggest album and then losing their frontman, Sepultura is back in October with Against, the first album with Derrick Green on vocals. Although reaction from fans and critics alike is underwhelming, the album ― written primarily before Green joined ― is solid and continues the band's melding of death/thrash metal, groove, and traditional Brazilian sounds. Fuelled by all the frustration and confusion of the last couple of years, the album is focused, streamlined and intense. "Reza" features a guest appearance from RDP's Joao Gordo; "Hatred Aside" features ex-Metallica and Voivod bassist Jason Newsted. A video for "Choke" features an appearance from original Sepultura guitarist Guedes. Despite the album being so good, Roadrunner doesn't go out of their way to support the band; the label doesn't even show pictures of Green in the promotional campaign, hoping to not draw attention to the fact that Sepultura is now Max-less. "We were kind of ignored by our label," says Kisser. "Roadrunner didn't believe at all in Against or Derrick. They didn't like anything about it. When Against was released, the whole promotion didn't have pictures of the band. They were trying to fool the fans. Trying to get back on the Roots success and to make it feel it was the same band, and it wasn't. It was something different; we were creating something new with a new guy in the group." Having the album to focus on helps them through the hard times. "There was a lot of tension around," says Kisser. "Max left the band at the end of '96 and we got Derrick at the end of '97; we took a year to regroup and think about our future. The result was Against. It's a very important album in our career that kept the band together. Without the aim of having the album and without the love and passion we have for music, it wouldn't be possible to continue with Sepultura." Sepulchral Feast, a Sepultura tribute album, is released on Black Sun Records and features bands like Children of Bodom, Dimension Zero, Lord Belial, Defleshed, the Crown and others.
Sepultura support Metallica on a Brazilian tour and also play with Slayer and Anthrax on the Against touring cycle. "It was great for Derrick to have that challenge," says Kisser. "Imagine playing with Slayer every night. It's a fucking great school. Opening for Metallica at big festivals and stuff, it was amazing. It was a very difficult album, but we survived. It was great; it was one of the most important albums of our career. We just took advantage of the moment. It was a bad moment but we took advantage of that, we wrote music with it. We dealt with our monsters jamming, which is great. It's very healthy and we grew up so much working like that. From then on, we started being more aware of the business. Before we trusted managers too much and in the end it was such a snowball that nobody could really handle it. That's why we broke up like that. Onstage was great, we never had a problem, it was awesome. But offstage it was a mess. It was really difficult to rebuild everything, but I think we are in a much better place now. We have to pass through certain things like that to grow. If everything's perfect all the time there's nowhere to go." Green makes a guest appearance on Integrity's Integrity 2000 album. Another Sepultura tribute album, World of Pain, is released on Dwell Records and features a who's who of bands no one's ever heard of.
Soulfly begins their prolific streak of albums with Primitive, which features a guest appearance from Sean Lennon and also features Max throwing in some lyrics from Sepultura's "Inner Self" on "Terrorist." Notably, the album also features much-maligned song/mistake "Jumpdafuckup." Sepultura start getting material ready for their next Roadrunner album, even though they're wondering how much support they'll get from their label.
Sepultura release Nation, a very solid and impressive but neglected release that finds them scaling back on the traditional instrumentation and delivering an album that is equal parts hardcore and death metal. "This album really represents a beginning," Kisser tells Chronicles of Chaos. "Against was a real transition record for us. This record is really about being a band and working together. It is also great having this really beautiful concept and a real positive message in the album that inspires us to make music, write lyrics and still have a vision for Sepultura." Still, despite the effort, sales and interest in the band are dropping. Nation features guest appearances from Jello Biafra, Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed and Finnish band Apocalyptica. Igor and Green make guest appearances on Biohazard's Uncivilization CD. The band ― including Green, who had been living in Amsterdam ― decide to move back to Brazil, this time to Sao Paulo. "It just felt better," says Kisser. "But I miss the times in Phoenix, I spent ten years there with my family, one of my sons was born there; I have really cool connections and friends there." Predictably, a lack of support for Nation from Roadrunner Records leads to increased tension.
Roadrunner drops the band; Sepultura are happy to leave. The label then releases Under a Pale Grey Sky, a recording of Max's last show with the band, despite Sepultura not wanting them to. "Why put something out that is not worth remembering?" says Kisser. "The last show with Max was a big fight and we had to fire our manager that night, and Max was not even in the meeting… there was tension all over the place. Why represent such a great era ― with Roots, a great album, and great touring ― with that show? Just because it was recorded? No respect at all. Not to the band, not to the fans. The least they could do was respect the wishes of the group. We didn't want to put it out; this is very personal. There are a lot of fans, and as a sign of respect, we didn't want to put this out. But we didn't have much control, and they put it out. So it's out." Roadrunner also releases Chaos DVD, a DVD collecting the band's three home videos. Sepultura release their first post-Roadrunner disc, an EP of covers called Revolusongs on SPV. The EP features a cool range of covers, including Public Enemy, Jane's Addiction, Exodus and U2 tracks, among others. Soulfly releases their third album, 3.
Roorback is the band's first full-length for SPV. Despite it being another good, focused offering, Sepultura are struggling to recapture the attention of the metal public they once held. Roorback is more hardcore than any Sepultura album to date. Despite the energetic and positive sounds on the disc, another important component of the band is starting to fall apart. "After we resolved all the label stuff and everything was flowing, there was a lot of motivation and stuff, but that was the time that Igor was starting to get a little off; starting to get a little tired," says Kisser. "His transition from the band was much lighter compared to Max. It took at least four years that we were starting to see he was forcing himself to be there. He got worse and worse and worse to the point that he left." Igor will stick it out through Roorback's touring cycle and the recording of the next album, but his increasing interest in pursuing a new musical interest ― DJing ― takes its toll on the band's morale. Igor will later form DJ duo DJ Mixhell with his wife Laima Leyton. The Sexoturica material featuring Kisser finally sees the light of day in the form of the IR8 vs. Sexoturica split.
Soulfly drop Prophecy, with a completely different line-up than on their last album. Max makes an appearance on Dave Grohl's Probot album, singing the song "Red War." Sepultura headline Sepulfest in Sao Paulo, a one-off event with several Brazilian bands playing.
Live in Sao Paulo, a CD and companion DVD, is released. "I don't like it," says Kisser. "It's a great representation of the time, but Igor wasn't 100 percent there. He wasn't into all the metal stuff; he wanted to do the DJ stuff, he was more involved in that." Soulfly release Dark Ages, their fifth album; it's influenced by more tragedy, the death of Max's eight-month-old grandson Moses. A Nailbomb live DVD, Live at Dynamo, is released. Soulfly also release a live DVD, The Song Remains Insane, which features Soulfly playing a handful of Sepultura songs, including "Refuse/Resist," "Roots Bloody Roots" and "Attitude."
On January 13, Igor announces he is temporarily leaving the band as he has just had his fourth child. The band keep on releasing albums with names that no one can comfortably say out loud: they drop Dante XXI, a concept album based on Dante's The Divine Comedy, and the streak of solid, reliable post-Max albums that struggle to keep people's attention continues. This one is their most impressive Green-era offering yet, with an even more streamlined and energetic approach. Igor starts spelling his name with two g's for no particular reason. After Dante is released, Iggor announces he is leaving the band for good. "We started working on Dante and bringing the idea of a soundtrack to the music, trying to bring new ways to write music and everything," says Kisser. "Iggor was really involved in that, but at the same time he was leaving the band. We managed to record the album, but it was very difficult. His body was there but he wanted to be out of there as soon as possible." It's apparent that Iggor, one of the two Cavalera brothers that started the band, is no longer interested in being in Sepultura, as one particularly testy afternoon with the press proves. "We were doing the mixing at the studio and we had many press people there from Europe, Canada, and the States," says Kisser. "There were a lot of people there that SPV brought down, and they were really into the album, and Iggor showed no fucking wish to be there. It was really bad. Bad feelings, bad vibe. Especially around the press… that was the beginning of the end for everybody, and SPV really lost a little bit of trust again in us. We built something really cool and then Iggor leaves. It was really fucked up." The same month that Dante is released, Iggor calls his brother out of the blue and the two start healing their wounds. Iggor joins Max onstage at a Soulfly performance and plays "Roots Bloody Roots" and "Attitude"; it is the first time the brothers have played together in a decade. A musical spark between them is re-lit; they form the Cavalera Conspiracy shortly after. Kisser tells Metal Hammer that he hasn't talked to Max since he left the band in 1996. "The last time I talked to him was in London, when we did the last show for the Roots tour," he said. "I have seen Soulfly twice ― once in Los Angeles, six or seven years ago, and this year in New York. I was just there to see the gig, we did not talk. Unfortunately me and Max have no connection. We also never had the chance to play together on the road with Soulfly and Sepultura, so there was no conversation within the last ten years." Sepultura hit the road in Europe with In Flames for Dante, with replacement drummer Roy Mayorga behind the kit; curiously, Mayorga had been Soulfly's first drummer, and had also spent time in crust-punk institutions Amebix and Nausea. Mayorga leaves shortly after to join Stone Sour.
The band "lose a summer," according to Kisser, while they try to find a new drummer. Sepultura hit the road extensively, including their first North American tour in almost four years; it is their debut appearance with new drummer Jean Dolabella.
Sepultura perform live on the Latin Grammy Awards, play in Istanbul, and open for Metallica for two Brazilian dates. The Cavalera Conspiracy release their debut, Inflikted, on Roadrunner. Moreso than any Soulfly or post-Max Sepultura album, Inflikted satisfies old-school Sepultura fans with its straight-ahead aggression and hardcore/thrash/death metal sounds. Joining the Cavalera brothers in the band are Soulfly guitarist Marc Rizzo and Gojira's Joe Duplantier on bass. Soulfly release Conquer. Kisser plays with the all-star cover band Hail!, featuring Tim "Ripper" Owens (ex-Iced Earth, ex-Judas Priest), Jimmy DeGrasso (Megadeth) and David Ellefson (Megadeth).
Amazingly, Sepultura release another album with an awkward title: A-Lex, a concept album based on A Clockwork Orange. Kisser had originally brought this concept to the table for Dante, but it was scrapped until now. The album shows the band reaching out a bit to experiment again, with great results; predictably, however, the album doesn't make much of an impact in the metal scene, partly because it's the first Sepultura release to have neither Cavalera brother on it. This is a fact not lost on the band, but they're not losing sleep over it. "We're very lucky to have found musicians like Derrick and Jean; he's a monster on drums," says Kisser. Kisser releases his first solo album, Hubris I & II.
Soulfly release Omen; a bonus track on the deluxe edition is the band's cover of "Refuse/Resist" (an accompanying live DVD features Soulfly playing that song as well as "Roots Bloody Roots"). Max goes on an ill-advised talking spree in the press, telling media that it's just Paulo Jr. stopping a reunion from happening but also alluding to a reunion with Sepultura. He then tells FaceCulture that a Sepultura reunion almost happened last year, but he and Kisser couldn't see eye to eye on financial and management issues; he adds that one of the reasons he quit Sepultura back in '96 was that Kisser's wife tried to arrange for Wells' funeral to happen before Gloria and Max could make it back to the States. Sepultura release a video statement urging people to not listen to Max and assuring everyone that a reunion won't happen. "We're tired of listening to the bullshit that Max is talking all over the world," Kisser says in the video. "There's no communication. There are no talks about any types of reunion or any show with the Cavaleras. Igor is doing his job, Max is supposed to be doing his job, and we're doing our job. We're Sepultura for 26 years and we're celebrating it. I hope this is the end of the fucking rumours and lies." In regards to a reunion with Max, Paulo Jr. tells Terrorizer magazine that "in Brazil, there's a saying, 'zero on the left,' which means 'nothing.' For me it's like that ― gone." Brazilian TV catches Paulo and Kisser watching Cavalera Conspiracy at a festival and airs the rather humorous footage of the two watching, looking nonplussed. Sepultura and Soulfly play together for the first time at a festival. Sepultura play with an orchestra for the first time; the band also plays all of Arise at a different concert and a spark is lit for their next album.
The Cavalera Conspiracy release Blunt Force Trauma in March; it's another intense, heavy and well-done album. Sepultura prove they'll never have a memorable album title again as they release Kairos, their first album for Nuclear Blast Records, in July. The album is inspired by, well, Sepultura, and is a loose concept album based around time and the band's own history. "Kairos is the consequence of everything we just talked about," Kisser says. "The very theme of the album is our history, everything we passed through, the experiences we had on stage, the experiences with managers, the press, friends, fans, family… it's great. It just came that way. Playing all of Arise, doing old songs, jamming everywhere, it brought back a lot of old feelings. There's a lot of the old Sepultura, but it's very new, it's very us now. You got Jean on the drums, you fuse Derrick's style and everything, plus me and Paulo playing together forever. It was a great time to do an album. It was perfect." Kisser fills in for Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian for some European dates while Ian stays at home with his wife, who just had their first child; one of the dates Kisser plays is a Big Four show with Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer. The band confirm once again there are no reunions planned with the Cavalera brothers, but Kisser says that, after so many years and so much negativity, he and Max are talking again after seeing each other at a festival last year. "Yeah, man, we opened the channels of communication last year," he says. "We saw each other, I saw Gloria there, we went and talked to her. I have no bad blood with nobody, man. Everybody has their reasons and their fucking paranoia and stuff, and I have mine too. But I've known them for so long and we did amazing stuff together. At least now we have each other's emails and stuff, so we can talk to each other. Of course, we don't do that that often; we have totally different lives and rhythms, we live in different countries. But at least we have that. I think that's very positive."
The Essential Sepultura
Arise (Roadrunner, 1991)
With Arise, Sepultura combine the death metal fury of their earlier, crazier material with a perfectly developed and mature songwriting approach.
Chaos A.D. (Epic, 1993)
The band's transition record to their career-defining metal/hardcore/tribal sound, Chaos A.D. avoids spending too much time in any one genre, giving it a refreshing and energetic vibe.
Against (Roadrunner, 1998)
Taking the band's flirtation with Brazilian percussion to more tasteful places than on Roots, this album has actually aged better due to frontman Derrick Green's intense performance and the streamlined songwriting. The sound of a band starting over.