Saturday, January 9, 2010


Background information
Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Death metal, Thrash metal (early) , Groove metal (now)
Years active
Cogumelo, Roadrunner, New Renaissance, Steamhammer
Associated acts
Sarcófago, Nailbomb, Soulfly, Cavalera Conspiracy, Udora

Sepultura (Portuguese for "grave") is a heavy metal band from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, formed in 1984.[The band was a major force in the death metal and thrash metal realms during the late 1980s and early 1990s,and their later experiments melding hardcore punk, nu metaland industrial music with extreme metal provided a blueprint for the groove metal genre.Sepultura have released eleven studio albums so far, the latest being A-Lex (2009). Their most successful records are Arise (1991),Chaos A.D. (1993), and Roots (1996), each of them having surpassed the one million mark worldwide. Sepultura has sold over 15 million units worldwide,gaining multiple gold and platinum records across the globe, including in countries as diverse as France,Australia,Indonesia,United States, Cyprus,and their native Brazil

Sepultura was formed in 1984 at Belo Horizonte, the capital city of Minas Gerais, Brazil. At the core of the band were brothers Max and Igor Cavalera, the impoverished sons of model Vânia and Graciliano, a well-to-do Italian diplomat whose fatal heart attack left his family in financial dire straits. Graciliano's death deeply affected his sons, providing them the impetus to start a band. They chose "Sepultura" as the group's name after Max Cavalera was translating the lyrics of the Motörhead song "Dancing on Your Grave".

The brothers' early likes included popular heavy rock artists of the early 1980s, such as Van Halen, Iron Maiden, Motörhead, AC/DC, Judas Priest and Ozzy Osbourne. Their listening habits changed dramatically after being introduced to Venom. As Igor Cavalera put it,
“ I remember the first time I listened to Venom, it was on a friend's borrowed tape. It was similar to Motörhead, only a lot heavier. I remember someone saying: it's the devil's Motörhead! After we got acquainted with Venom, we stopped listening to Iron Maiden and all that lighter stuff. ”

From then on the Cavaleras rapidly started listening to bands such as Kreator, Sodom, Metallica, Exodus and Exciter.

After constant band member changes, Sepultura established a temporary line-up of Max on electric guitar, Igor on drums, vocalist Wagner Lamounier, and bassist Paulo Jr.. Lamounier exited the band in March 1985 after disagreements with the band, and moved on to become the frontman of the Brazilian black metal pioneering band Sarcófago. After his departure, Max took over the vocal duties. Jairo Guedes was the invited to join the band as their lead guitarist.

After about a year of performing, Sepultura signed to Cogumelo Records in 1985. Later that year, they released Bestial Devastation, a shared EP with fellow Brazilian band Overdose. In 1986, the band released their debut full-length album, Morbid Visions, which is widely considered as one of the first pure death metal albums. It was initially released in the United States on New Renaissance Records, a record label owned by Ann Boleyn.

New Renaissance Records was heavily criticized by the media for signing and promoting Sepultura. However, their song "Troops of Doom" gained them higher airplay.

In early 1987, Jairo Guedes quit the band; Sepultura's lead guitarist had by then lost interest in playing death metal. Immediately after leaving Sepultura, Guedes formed Hanky Panky, a "cock rock" group in the vein of Ratt and Mötley Crüe. Guedes later on joined brazillian thrash stahlwarts The Mist, Overdose and Eminence. Jairo was replaced by São Paulo-based guitarist Andreas Kisser.

The band's second studio album, Schizophrenia, was released in 1987. It saw a stylistic change towards a more thrash metal-oriented sound, while still keeping the death metal elements of Morbid Visions. The album was a critical success, which led them to being signed to Roadrunner Records. With Roadrunner distributing Schizophrenia worldwide, Sepultura reached new and more numerous audiences of metal fans.

This stylistic change and critical success was cemented by the band's third studio album, Beneath the Remains, which was released in 1989. It was followed by a long European and American tour. Their first US show was held on October 31, 1989 at the Ritz in New York City, opening for Danish heavy metal band King Diamond. It is hailed by Terrorizer magazine as one of the all-time top 20 thrash metal albums, as well as a gaining a place in their all-time top 40 death metal records. In spite of their success at the time, the band members were still very limited English speakers.

Sepultura moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 1990, and began recording material for their fourth studio album, Arise, utilizing Morrisound Studios in Tampa, Florida. By the time it was released in 1991, the band become one of the most critically praised thrash/death metal bands of the time. The album was their first to chart on the Billboard 200, reaching #119.

Sepultura's fifth album, Chaos A.D., was released in 1993. It saw a departure from their death/thrash metal style, mixing it with industrial and hardcore punk elements. The album helped usher in the groove metal genre.

In 1994, Max and Igor, aided by Alex Newport of Fudge Tunnel, released an even more industrial-oriented album, Point Blank, in 1994 under the name Nailbomb. Nailbomb performed only one full live gig, and the performance was released as Proud to Commit Commercial Suicide. The band also played selected tracks live on Sepultura's 1994 tour with Fudge Tunnel as guests.

Sepultura's death/thrash departure continued with their sixth album, Roots, which was released in 1996. The band further innovated by experimenting with elements of the music of Brazil's indigenous peoples, with a slower, downtuned metal sound. The album was hailed as a modern day heavy metal classic.

Later that year, the band played on the Donnington main stage alongside Ozzy Osbourne, Paradise Lost, Type O Negative, Biohazard, and Fear Factory. However, at the height of Sepultura's fame, a series of events broke the band apart. Just after the release of Roots, Sepultura decided to fire their manager, Gloria, Max Cavalera's wife.

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