Max Cavalera believes that Sepultura’s ‘roots’ were labeled Nu-Metal because it was popular

Sepulturaalbum from 1996 Roots is often associated with nu-metal, and like many other artists who have written off the label, the Brazilian band’s former frontman Max Cavalera do not agree with that. He believes that the record was broken with the categorization because of its success and popularity.

Cereal were largely at the forefront of nu-metal when they released their eponymous debut album in 1994, and other bands such as Limp Bizkit, System of a Down and Slip knot began to break through over the next few years. Thus the timing of roots’ the release likely contributed to its association with the subgenre. In an interview with Chile’s iRockshared Cavalera’s feelings about the album’s uniqueness.

“To me, Roots is a very heavy record. I think some of the stuff like ‘Straighthate,’ ‘Spit,’ ‘Ambush,’ and ‘Endangered Species’ were so fucking heavy, and it’s fast and it’s brutal,” the singer recalled. “I think it is because it was branded… It became really popular, it became trendy. Some people associate it with nu-metal. I do not think Roots is a ‘nu-metal’ record. In fact I think it’s quite the opposite, it’s really kind of more caveman. It’s more simple – downbeat but simpler riffs, very heavy percussion.”

Cavalera praised the musical risks the band took on the album, such as recording with Brazilian natives, as experimentation is something he doesn’t think enough bands do with their own music.

“A lot of bands like to play it safe. [They’re like] ‘We’re just making this record for the fans and we’re good.’ And we’re just not that kind of band. We like to push the envelope. We like to move forward. And we never really tried to make the same record. For me it was an exciting record,’ he elaborated.

The Sepultura founder further added that he understands why old-school metalheads might prefer the band’s albums Arise (1991) and Chaos AD (1993) over roots, but that it was simply the direction they wanted to take at the time. But by chance it ended up being the last of their records he played on.

See the full discussion below.

Max Cavalera believes that Sepultura’s ‘roots’ were labeled Nu-Metal because it was popular

How 15 Nu-Metal Musicians Felt About Being Called ‘Nu Metal’

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