Sepultura – No Roots Revival

Friday, 29th March 2013

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)

Dogged since the departure of vocalist/guitarist Max Cavalera in late 1996, Sepultura has had what could amount to be the steepest climb of any established metal in modern history. No band – not even Judas Priest – has been beset with such a high amount scrutiny and reunion talks and yet, they keep on churning out quality albums. Coupled with the loss of drummer Igor Cavalera in early 2006, and many have been clamoring for a name change or total abandonment of the Sepultura legacy. Not so, say the Seps, and they’re back in 2009 with a new album. 

A-Lex, is a concept album based off Stanley Kubrick’s classic A Clockwork Orange film and sees the band (who now consist of vocalist Derrick Green, guitarist Andreas Kisser, bassist Paulo Pinto and new drummer Jean Dollabella) capture some of that metallic grunt that made albums like Arise and Chaos A.D.modern metal must-haves. With Dollabella’s impressive drum work leading the way, the Seps sound very much invigorated – even a bit feisty, something that was lacking on 1998’s Against and 2001’s Nation.

These days, it’s Kisser – not any of the Cavaleras that lead the band. The guitarist has taken it upon himself to fend off the rampant reunion rumors and champion the cause of modern Sepultura, something no one outside of the band and a select few are willing to do.

Blistering.com: You’ve had Derrick in the band for over 10 years now. Doesn’t it feel like yesterday when he joined?

Andreas Kisser: It does. It seems like everything happened so quickly. For me, it was step-by-step…the whole structure of the band and group, Derrick has grown up a lot from the first tour and album we did. It’s totally different. He’s singing better than ever and [can] control his voice – lower, deeper, high-pitched, throw in melody, so it’s great, amazing to see his development.

Blistering.com: Since he’s been in the band for this long, what does he now bring to the table?

Kisser: We do all the lyrics together, the concepts and trying to find song titles. He can also play guitar and comes up with ideas and riffs. First, we come up with sketches together and Jean has been bringing a lot of influence in and ability and we try to balance everything. Most of the stuff coming from the guitar. The riffs come first and they’re developed for whatever we need [laughs]. Derrick contributes a lot on all fronts – he can write really cool lyrics. It’s very easy to work with him.

Blistering.com: Say you didn’t find Derrick – do you think you would have assumed the role of vocalist?

Kisser: Right after Max left the band…it was a very shocking, disturbing thing. He took everything – management, the contacts at the label, so we had to rebuild everything from scratch so we spent some time as a trio. I did some vocals, but we never played live – we just experimented in the studio with different stuff. But we were missing something to make it complete, like the way we worked with Max. Derrick came up in April of 1998 and I don’t know…who knows? [laughs]. We could have gotten someone else, but I wasn’t really too comfortable being the singer. It’s not just singing – you have to change your whole attitude to something totally different and I didn’t want to lose all the stuff I had with the guitar, the stuff I love the most.

Blistering.com: The Against album – where does it rank with you in the Sepultura catalog?

Kisser: I don’t know… it’s a weird album. We did that album so disturbed and under pressure and all the crazy stuff. It’s an important album that kept Sepultura together. It showed that we could go on as a band with Derrick, but it’s a hard album if you go to it musically. It’s very different from Roots and everything we did before. If anything, it kept us together and we were able to play with Slayer, Metallica for the first time and we did many great shows and it was good to introduce Derrick.

Blistering.com: How does it feel to be a priority with SPV? I know that wasn’t the case toward the end of your stint on Roadrunner.

Kisser: Like I said, when Max left, he really took everything and Roadrunner, all the work to do the Soulfly stuff went to him. The whole structure of Sepultura took ten years to build and it was pretty convenient to do. They never believed in Derrick and the new formation. They couldn’t see that version of Sepultura. They were too involved in the beginning of the band – it was very difficult to be working with the same people who were working with Max. It was crazy. After Nation, we left and it was peaceful. We didn’t fire any lawyers and we didn’t want to stay and they didn’t want us, so it was perfect. It was cool to finally work with people who we didn’t have that past with. They see Sepultura for the future and believe in the band. We’ve started to grow up a lot more and a lot faster with them.

Blistering.com: An obvious advantage to being on SPV is that you’re able to do an album like A-Lex.

Kisser: Yes, pretty much. It’s good to see that people trust our judgment and trust the people who will do their best for the band like Derrick and Jean. It’s good to have that freedom and support, so when you go the studio you have all the time to work on the concept and creating an album. It’s a very healthy relationship.

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