Criminally Slept-On: Sepultura (1989-1997)

Posted by on December 17, 2015

4) “The Hunt”


 Chaos A.D. is the album that really made Sepultura a household name outside of their native Brazil. The album’s metallic groove and hardcore sensibility put them on the same playing field as bands like Pantera and Biohazard (lol, come on, you remember Biohazard), and it didn’t hurt that, after the promise of Arise, the band had the full might of Roadrunner Records’ growing promotional assets behind them. This record didn’t take nearly as many wild turns as Roots, but songs like “Kaiowas” definitely gave fans a look at where Sepultura might head in the future. So did their choice to include “The Hunt,” their rendition of a New Model Army song. Sepultura, of course, doesn’t try to sink too deep into the alternative/punk flair of the original. They’re just faithful enough to walk the line between destroying a song that’s too far out of their comfort zone, and bending their own considerable talents into hostile territory. The track’s place in the sequence of Chaos A.D. adds to its success, I think. It’s a great reflective moment before the intense finality of the album’s closer, “Clenched Fist” (a song that also doesn’t get nearly as much love as it should).


5) “C.I.U. (Criminals In Uniform)” 


This is probably my favorite track in this week’s CSO entry. “C.I.U.” has an interesting backstory. It’s available on special editions of Arise, and as a bonus track on a couple of other Sep re-releases, but in order to get the full story, you have to see the liner notes from The Roots of Sepultura, a special edition of Roots that featured a second disc of demos, live tracks and other rarities. This is not to be confused with the Roadrunner 25th Anniversary edition of the album, which also features a second disc, but with a totally different track listing, most of which was pilfered from Blood-Rooted (they used variations of the words “blood” and “root” a lot… you keeping up?). “C.I.U.” was written and recorded during the Arise sessions, but, at the time, only received roughly demoed vocals from Max, who performed lyrics co-penned by Metal Maniacs founder, Katherine Ludwig (Ludwig unfortunately died earlier this year). After Arise was released, Roadrunner commissioned the track’s vocals to be remastered in order for the song to be included on some bonus releases. This track would’ve been one of the trashiest numbers on Arise, had it made the cut. While it’s not as ruthless as the title track, it’s got a leaner approach, similar to the songwriting style from Beneath The Remains. “C.I.U.” was “surgically grafted” to a studio version of the intro Sepultura performed before live shows during this era. The two together make for a hell of a combination. If you’re not familiar with this one, and you don’t check out any other track on this list, run it down.


6) “Primitive Future” 


I’ve kinda got a thing for the old-school Sepultura album finales. “Primitive Future” is one of my favorite songs from Beneath The Remains, and it’s one that’s really grown on me over time. The entire record is primitive; while the band had definitely grown by leaps and bounds from their initial foray into music with Bestial Devastation and Morbid Visions, they still had so much further to go. “Primitive Future” is, for me, the song that really brings the highs of Beneath The Remains into conversation with the direction they’d take for their next album, Arise. Does it beat the title track? Hell no. But it’s still damn fine thrash.

I recently got the chance to read Max Cavalera’s autobiography, My Bloody Roots. It was cool to get a look inside some of Sepultura’s formative moments, as well as the turbulence that’d eventually fracture the band’s most successful lineup. It’s amazing to look at how young the guys were when they were cranking out some of this truly influential and groundbreaking heavy metal, and the fact that they managed to find enough of its precursors to get so far ahead of the pack is pretty uncanny. While the band may never re-tread the trail they blazed in their early days, at least we’ve still got this amazing legacy to enjoy.

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Categorised in: Columns, Criminally Slept-On