By Dave Pehling
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Two brothers who founded the biggest metal band to ever surface from South America revisit an important piece of their past when Max and Iggor Cavalera and Cavalera Conspiracy play the classic Sepultura album Roots in its entirety at Slim’s Friday night.
Guitarist/vocalist Max and drummer Iggor were only teens when they founded Sepultura in the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte in 1984. While the group was initially inspired by the more traditional metal sounds of Black Sabbath and Motorhead, the Cavaleras took the band in a more extreme direction after Max discovered the blasphemous proto thrash-metal sound of British trio Venom.
The two musicians went on to discover acts from the emerging thrash and death metal scenes of the United State and Europe, emulating the furious sonic assault of rising bands like Celtic Frost, Megadeth, Exodus and Kreator on their earliest recordings. After their raw, self-released debut EP Bestial Devastation in 1985 (a split album with fellow Brazilian headbangers Overdose) and first proper full-length Morbid Visions the following year, Sepultura began to lean more towards the thrash end of the metal spectrum.
By the time the band issued Schizophrenia in 1987, Sepultura had settled into its classic line-up rounded out by guitarist Andreas Kisser and bass player Paulo Jr. and scored a deal with noted metal imprint Roadrunner Records. Their follow-up effort Beneath the Remains two years later would stand as a quantum leap forward in production and songwriting. A brutal musical assault that found the brothers forging their unique style, the album would be hailed as a thrash classic and introduced Sepultura to a far wider global audience.
The band’s next two albums would mark an even more dramatic sonic departure. Chaos A.D. in 1993 flirted with elements of industrial and punk while introducing slower tempos that would later find the album hailed as a pioneering groove-metal recording. The politically charged global metal effort Roots in 1996 went even further afield, adding traditional Brazilian percussion with contributions from guest musician Carlinhos Brown while exploring the plight of indigenous people in their native country.
Unfortunately, the sudden death of Max Cavalera’s stepson while the band was touring in England brought a head conflict within the band over the band being managed by the guitarist’s wife. When the band demanded she be fired, Cavalera left in what would be one of the more acrimonious rock group splits of the decade.
Sepultura hired a new singer and soldiered on, while the estranged Cavalera would found his new band Soulfly, issuing a string of celebrated albums with a constantly rotating cast of support musicians. The guitarist would eventually mend his relationship with his brother Iggor, leading the pair to start Cavalera Conspiracy in 2007 with guitarist Mark Rizzo (Gojira guitarist and leader Joe Duplantier would play bass and guitar on the band’s 2008 debut, Inflikted).
While Soulfly remains Max Cavalera’s main outlet, Cavalera Conspiracy has still managed to put out three albums including it’s most recent Napalm Records salvo Pandemonium in 2014. On their current tour, Max and Iggor have offered their loyal fans a rare gift with their Return To Roots Tour. Marking the 20th anniversary of the landmark Sepultura effort, the two principle forces behind those songs play the classic Roots album in its entirety along with additional Sepultura gems. For this special show at Slim’s on Friday, Cavalera Conspiracy is joined by Yonkers-based death metal veterans Immolation and extreme Maryland death metal outfit Full of Hell.
Cavalera Conspiracy Return To Roots Tour
Friday, March 3, 8 p.m. $29-$34