I remember the first time I heard Sepultura. It was early summer 1991 when MTV’s infamous Headbangers Ball pretty much ruled the network’s Saturday night lineup from 1987 to 1995. It was must-watch TV indeed for young rockers everywhere.
Anyway, the song was Dead Embryonic Cells, the final video of the night from an album called Arise. At the time, heavy metal was in a transition of sorts. By all accounts, Sepultura was in the right place at the right time.
In retrospect, I think Sepultura was played more on the “Ball” than they ever were played on radio. Well, at least in Arizona, where Cavalera would eventually move to.
I think it’s fair to say that many a metalhead would gladly put them in the same pantheon alongside Pantera and maybe even Testament, to name just two.
Fast forward to 2022. Now, former Sepultura members Max and Iggor Cavalera are revisiting the aforementioned Arise (from 1991) and 1989’s Beneath The Remains on tour.
During a phone chat earlier this spring, I asked lead vocalist/guitarist Max Cavalera what it’s been like going back in time on this tour.
“My brother (Iggor) and I actually started the Return Beneath Arise shows back in 2019 throughout Europe. We had a blast going through the material, which still sounds as fresh today as it did when those albums were originally released”, Cavalera said proudly.
“We initially were planning to tour the U.S. in 2020, but of course, the pandemic ended everything for everybody.”
Joining the Cavalera brothers on tour are current Soulfly bassist Mike Leon and guitarist Daniel Gonzalez of Possessed.
Max continued. “It’s amazing how good the songs sound with Mike and Daniel. They give the songs new life while still remaining respectful to how they were originally written.”
It should be said that I never saw the original Sepultura live. The first time I saw Max was during Soulfly’s first tour in December 1998. That particular show was memorable: it was billed as New Years Evil at Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix, now called Chase Field. Roughly 35,000 people were in attendance.
The lineup, you might ask? It was Black Sabbath, Pantera, Megadeth, Slayer, and Soulfly. Pretty cool way to ring in the New Year, don’t you think?
Needless to say, I had to ask Max about his recollections of the show.
“Oh fuck brother, it was a dream come true for me! I can remember taking a tour of the stadium months before it opened. Obviously, I grew up listening to Black Sabbath, Megadeth, and Slayer. Pantera at the time were in a league of their own as well. Just a great night of metal, and the crowd was insane”, Cavalera recalled.
Max continued. “One thing that really stands out for me was putting my infant son to bed at the time… backstage (laughs)! That alone made me think if I had died the next day, I would’ve died a very happy man. We (Soulfly) were first to go on, and we just killed it that night.”
“Every band on that bill was incredible, and it’s something I’ll never forget”, he said.
As to what “hometown” fans can expect for the final night of the tour?
“If you love metal music, this show is for you”, Max said. “Playing a good portion of both Beneath and Arise gives us the chance to play songs that we’ve never played live before.”
“Also, for those whe never got a chance to see Sepultura back then, honestly, this is the closest that fans will likely ever get to seeing a “reunion”. We can’t wait to
-Val Tapia, BADS Contributing Writer
IF YOU GO:
Max and Iggor Cavalera (w/ special guests Cephalic Carnage, Healing Magic, Scattered Guts, Necessary Space, Ocean Harvest, and Kill Command) are scheduled to play on Sat. June 25 at Marquee Theatre in Tempe. Doors open at 4:00 p.m. Showtime, 4:30 p.m.
TICKETS: $32.00, available at luckymanonline.com and the Marquee Theatre box office.