Rating:
5.0
Sepultura - Roots
20 February 1996


01. Roots Bloody Roots
02. Attitude
03. Cut Throat
04. Ratamahatta [Feat. Ross Robinson, David Silveria and Carlinhos Brown]
05. Breed Apart
06. Straighthate
07. Spit
08. Look Away [Feat. Jonathan Davis and Mike Patton]
09. Dusted
10. Born Stubborn
11. Jasco
12. Itsári [Feat. Xavantes tribe]
13. Ambush
14. Endangered Species
15. Dictatorshit
16. Canyon Jam [Hidden Track]

Brazilian Bonus Tracks:

17. Procreation (Of The Wicked) [Celtic Frost cover]
18. Symptom Of The Universe [Black Sabbath cover]


Roots was Max Cavalera's last album with Sepultura before his departure, and he did not exactly go out with a bang. The predecessor to Roots, Chaos A.D., saw the band move away from thrash and towards a simpler, moderately-paced death metal sound that, while differing from their previous material, showed promise. Roots takes this stylistic change further, abandoning thrash-inspired death for death-inspired nu metal. Truthfully, this is largely a nu metal album punctuated by Max Cavalera's recognizable growls, Igor's trademark drumming, and some traditional Brazilian instrumentation provided by Brazilian musician Carlinhos Brown and the native Xavante tribe. The genesis of Soulfly is here, and is not entirely welcome.

Max Cavalera has never been a particularly unique songwriter. Not every band needs an artist at the helm, but Max has an annoying tendency of re-writing the same song over and over again with the same determination as AC/DC and none of the success. Early Sepultura stands out as an exception, but by the mid-'90s he had run out of new ideas. Roots, Soulfly, Nailbomb, Cavalera Conspiracy… there was no need to separate the material by band. It all sounds the same. Simplicity is as much of a songwriting tool as complexity. Used correctly and strategically, it provides for greatness and memorability; used improperly or too often, as is the case here, it leaves the listener with nothing to grasp and nothing to take away from the listening experience.

The incredibly down-tuned guitars mingle with Igor's powerful drumming and Max's raspy exhortations in the same sludgy, Slipknot-Korn-not Sepultura atmosphere on just about every song, and it gets old after "Cut-Throat." This connection to nu metal is only strengthened by the presence of Korn vocalist Jonathan Davis and drummer David Silveria on a couple of tracks, who do nothing to liven up the stagnant swamp of sludge and laziness that encases every song. "Lookaway," which features Davis and Faith No More's legendary Mike Patton, utilizes approximately none of the guest talent and is merely disappointing.

There are three, and only three, songs on this album that are worth a listen. The very first song, "Roots Bloody Roots," is a grinding, pounding anthem that shows the great potential for Max Cavalera's newfound sound. Max has stated that "Roots Bloody Roots" is his absolute favorite song to perform live, which is quite understandable. This is followed up by "Attitude," which, while not exactly a masterpiece, is decent enough (qualifying as head-and-shoulders above the rest of the album). "Ratamahatta," featuring a very noticeable amount of traditional Brazilian influence, essentially finishes off the album at the fourth overall track. Listening to any one of the following songs will provide an accurate representation of what all the rest are like; there is no point in wasting more time on Roots than is necessary.

Performance: 5
Songwriting: 4
Originality: 4
Production: 6


Band profile: Sepultura
Album: Roots


 


written by ScreamingSteelUS | 17.08.2012


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Guest review by
Angel

Rating:
10
What's left to say about Sepultura? That it's probably the best selling third world band ever? That they're going facedown to the ground since the leaving of Max "I am the Soulfly-Ego" Cavalera? "Chaos A.D." went golden and "Roots" went double gold in Holland (trust me, that's a good thing). That the difference between their first and last records is so huge that even the development of a butterfly contains more radical changes? That "Roots" was the first piece of metal I bought? Nah, I think the band-name speaks for itself. The style on this first piece of Sepultura is totally different from "Roots". They started as a full-on death metal band, finding their roots on "Beneath The Remains' (1989) and re-discovered 'em in 1991, with the release of "Arise". And then, five years later, one of the finest works of the 90's is released.

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published 19.09.2003 | Comments (25)



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Mr. Doctor - 17.08.2012 at 12:42  
I like a couple of songs but that's it. Quite a mediocre album indeed and I can't say I disgaree with the review except... you know...

The whole part when you imply that Chaos A.D. is death metal. Big LOL on that one.
Marcel Hubregtse - 17.08.2012 at 12:49  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 17.08.2012 at 12:42

I like a couple of songs but that's it. Quite a mediocre album indeed and I can't say I disgaree with the review except... you know...

The whole part when you imply that Chaos A.D. is death metal. Big LOL on that one.


Yeah, I don't understand why people, especially in the US, keep on labelling old Seputura as death metal when it clearly is thrash metal. Labelling f.e. Arise and Beneath The Remains death metal is like saying Slayer played death metal on their best known albums.
Mr. Doctor - 17.08.2012 at 12:51  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 17.08.2012 at 12:49
Yeah, I don't understand why people, especially in the US, keep on labelling old Seputura as death metal when it clearly is thrash metal. Labelling f.e. Arise and Beneath The Remains death metal is like saying Slayer played death metal on their best known albums.


Exactly. Only on the debut and the stuff before that... And even those releases are death-influenced thrash at most and definitely not the reverse.
Ace Frawley - 17.08.2012 at 13:22  
I'd already lost interest in Sepultura by the time this album was released. Chaos A.D. was enough for me. Was a fan of Beneath the Remains back in the day though.
ScreamingSteelUS - 17.08.2012 at 18:25  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 17.08.2012 at 12:49

Written by Mr. Doctor on 17.08.2012 at 12:42

I like a couple of songs but that's it. Quite a mediocre album indeed and I can't say I disgaree with the review except... you know...

The whole part when you imply that Chaos A.D. is death metal. Big LOL on that one.


Yeah, I don't understand why people, especially in the US, keep on labelling old Seputura as death metal when it clearly is thrash metal. Labelling f.e. Arise and Beneath The Remains death metal is like saying Slayer played death metal on their best known albums.

I know that Sepultura used to be thrash, I just noted that there was a lot less of it on "Chaos A.D." "Propaganda," "Slave New World," and such were obviously thrash, but then there was also "Amen," "Nomad," and songs like "Refuse/Resist" and "Territory" which were kind of a mix.
Mr. Doctor - 17.08.2012 at 19:49  
Written by ScreamingSteelUS on 17.08.2012 at 18:25
I know that Sepultura used to be thrash, I just noted that there was a lot less of it on "Chaos A.D." "Propaganda," "Slave New World," and such were obviously thrash, but then there was also "Amen," "Nomad," and songs like "Refuse/Resist" and "Territory" which were kind of a mix.


It has less thrash indeed... but death? Hell no
cobrapel - 18.08.2012 at 17:53  
Originality....4???
Please write me down the band/s where they copied this kind of sounds, because i am very intereted to know them!
Sonic MrSumo - 22.08.2012 at 03:14  
Written by cobrapel on 18.08.2012 at 17:53

Originality....4???
Please write me down the band/s where they copied this kind of sounds, because i am very intereted to know them!

Agreed. This is one of the most unique metal releases of the last 20 years!

Furthermore, I don't feel that Max's other projects (i.e. "Roots, Soulfly, Nailbomb, Cavalera Conspiracy…") can be defined as "there was no need to separate the material by band.", as they're all vastly different, with the exception of perhaps Roots and Soulfly.
Daniell - 22.08.2012 at 13:01  
Welcome to another instalment of ScreamingSteelUS's series "I want to stand out somehow so I will write retro reviews and bash musical classics!

Even though I don't love this album at all, there is one reason that blows your credibility out the water and makes me not take your reviews seriously. You rated originality with a 4. Your gave a 4 to one of the most original metal albums in the last quarter-century...
!J.O.O.E.! - 22.08.2012 at 14:22  
Written by Daniell on 22.08.2012 at 13:01

"I want to stand out somehow so I will write retro reviews and bash musical classics!"

I don't see any musical classics being bashed though?
IronAngel - 22.08.2012 at 16:22  
I have no opinion on the album as I've never been interested in hearing it, but I like your writing. Clear, concise and informative but also alive and opinionated.

Also, what Joe said. Even if I thought this was a classic, I can't find a "series" in his previous reviews. Seems to be a pretty mixed bag with a wide range of scores.
Warman - 22.08.2012 at 18:01  
Well written review which I mostly agree with. The album has the title song, which is a killer, and a couple of parts here and there which are really good. But during its bad moments - and there's A LOT of them - "Roots" is just a terrible album.
Marcus - 13.10.2012 at 01:35  
BOO! I've always liked this album since it was one of my first metal cds. Too bad I can agree with most of what you're saying.

Also jasco and itsari are excellent non-nu songs you forgot about
matai65 - 03.11.2012 at 22:15  
Absolute RUBBISH!One of the worst albums ever,i was so disappointed after hearing all their other brilliant releases.

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