A rant: thoughts on a Sepultura reunion ><

Sepultura live, 2007. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

In today’s media blizzard, if you’re a metal fan who follows blabbermouth.net or other metal news sites, you know that it’s almost impossible to go more than a month or two without reading something about a possible Sepultura reunion.

A brief history

Brazilian thrash/death metal band Sepultura was founded by brothers Max and Igor Cavalera in 1984. After several increasingly successful albums, Max Cavalera (rhythm guitar/vocals) threw a hissy fit over management issues and left the band in 1996. The remaining members, Igor (drums), Andreas Kisser (guitars) and Paulo Jr. (bass), spent several months jamming together before deciding if they wanted to continue as Sepultura or begin a new band.

Eventually, they chose American vocalist Derrick Greene to replace Max, with Andreas handling all of the guitars. Over the past 14 years, they have released another five albums and a double-live album. However, the split with Max caused a rift between Max and Igor that lasted ten years. This estrangement began to thaw around 2006. Igor would leave the band, reconnect with Max, and eventually team with him to create Cavalera Conspiracy. Meanwhile, Sepultura continues to tour and record without either of the Cavalera brothers.

Blah blah blah. Enough history.

The rant

Although I wouldn’t include either band in my list of favorites (unless it was “my favorite 200-250 bands” or something like that), I consider myself a fan of Sepultura, as well as Max’s post-Sep band, Soulfly. As such, I generally read any news about them that I happen to come upon.

It’s now a decade and a half after the split with Max. In that time, as far as I can judge, he has done nothing to soften the enmity between the two parties, although every year he seems more and more willing to talk about a reunion. Or, more specifically, how he feels that there should be a reunion, that Andreas Kisser is holding up any reunion talks, that Andreas wants more money, that Sepultura shouldn’t continue under the name since there are no original members, etc. His latest salvo was offered the other day.

Typically, he places all blame on Andreas, who has, in spite of media attempts to get him to fire back, declined to address the issue other than to say that he could be open to a reunion at some point, but that the current incarnation of the band is touring behind their newest album and is doing fine at the moment. I won’t go over the other garbage that’s in the article linked above; if you’re interested, it’s all there.

Personally, I’m tired of all of it. In light of the fact that Max has whined so much over the past 14 years about Sepultura, the band he left, I don’t want to hear any more about it unless it actually happens.

I’m not a fan of reunions, unless they embrace the entire history of the band. For example, Testament reunited their original lineup several years ago. After a “classic lineup/album” tour, they now mix songs from every Testament era into their live shows, which is very satisfying to the fans. Many other bands have done the same, but Max is so full of himself that he would almost certainly want to perform only the songs that he wrote.

While I’m not a fan of band reunions, especially if they’re temporary (I’m talking to you, Van Halen… /puke), I am a fan of bands progressing, making new music, growing, and evolving in spite of the obstacles they face. While he and Max sound very different, I do like Derrick Greene’s vocals. Sepultura has evolved from a brutal sound to something more organic. Part of this is because Andreas handles the guitar duties by himself, rather than sharing them with Max. Sepultura is a different band now, but they’ve grown and changed. They’re certainly not a cover band or a shadow of their former selves, as Max would like everyone to believe.

Personally, I don’t want to see a reunion unless the band completely falls apart for a few years. I don’t want Derrick Greene to be kicked out so that Max can come back and receive all kinds of ego-massage from the fans, while Igor drums along to songs that he doesn’t want to play anymore. But that’s just my perspective.


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