Max and Iggor Cavalera play their classic Sepultura record Roots to a sold out Gramercy Theatre crowd in New York City.
Following years of discord regarding the end of Max Cavalera’s time in the legendary Brazilian thrash metal outfit Sepultura, founding members and brothers Iggor and Max reunited to found Cavalera Conspiracy in 2007.
Generating three critically acclaimed LPs in the form of 2007’s debut Inflikted, 2011’s Blunt Force Trauma and 2014’s Pandemonium, Max and Iggor have been touring rather extensively with one another again for what is now going on close to a decade.
Cavalera Conspiracy live shows have always featured a handful of classic Sepultura cuts, however, the performances of those songs also seemed more like a mandatory inclusion to appease the fan base more so than being tracks the brothers Cavalera actually had a burning desire to showcase.
The Return to Roots tour, featuring Max and Iggor alongside long-time Soulfy and Cavalera Conspiracy guitarist Marc Rizzo as well as former Static-X bass player Tony Campos, is giving Sepultura’s Roots record a new life once again.
Not only is this tour providing the band’s fans both old and new an opportunity to take in the Sepultura classic in a live setting, a larger take away concerning the tour could be the fact that the Cavalera brothers appear to have potentially reached new levels in terms of their musical and personal relationships again.
The laughs the two have been sharing with one another on stage consistently, the brutal and beyond emotive renditions of the Roots’ tracks that they’re performing together again and the sheer playfulness and joy the Cavaleras are sharing with one another and the audience, all seem to speak volumes about the bond the two brothers share with one another as well how the two likely feel about their own Sepultura legacy.
Recently the Return to Roots tour stopped at the Gramercy Theater to deliver the New York City metal crazies their mandatory dose of destructive Sepultura riffs and thrash induced circle pit madness. Could there be a more appropriate destination than New York City in terms of the Return to Roots tour than a locale that helped birth and raise the genre Sepultura would later go on to define?
The roots of metal in Gotham are as legendary as Max and Iggor themselves. Whether it’s the legacy Jon Zazula and his label Megaforce Records laid down, the countless metal outfits who call this speck of dirt in the northeast home base such as Anthrax, Biohazard and Nuclear Assault, or the current wave of venues that continue to be a haven for heavy metal music such as the Gramercy Theatre or Saint Vitus in Brooklyn, the roots of metal’s past and present seem to coarse through the very veins of the Big Apple.
Old school Sepultura and Cavalera devotees alike lined the streets outside the sold out Gramercy Theatre’s doors hours before show time in anticipation of being a part of what was sure to be a brilliant display of Brazilian themed thrash metal.
Conversations amongst fellow metal heads concerning the opportunity to witness the iconic Roots record being performed live, along with others hoping for a reunion between Max and Iggor and their old band mates in Sepultura could be listened in on throughout nearly every nook and crevice of the venue.
Specifically pertaining to any reconciliation with Paulo Jr. and Andreas Kisser it certainly appears as though that’s something neither Max nor Iggor are all that much interested in. Instead, the pair has voiced in the press that they are secure and proud of their legacy and that they are also content with honoring that past while also continuing to eye the future.
Iggor recently commented on the topic in an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune stating, ‘At the end of the day it would be special for the fans, so it’s not like it is a closed door, but at the same time, we have no time to spend energy on that kind of thing. So we just move forward.’
The faithful had come out in their droves to feel the tribal vibes and groove driven thrash masterpiece that is Roots being sung by the raspy voice of a metal generation Max Cavalera, backed by his brother Iggor, one of the true metal drumming icons of the last thirty years, crashing and banging away behind him.
There’s not much to be said in terms of the set list on the evening. The band, as expected, played the entirety of the Roots record, minus a few cuts that likely only the most hardcore of Sepultura fans noticed or even missed.
Beyond the Roots material, the night also featured two United Kingdom inspired covers as Max and the boys took a run at extreme and thrash metal godfather Venom’s “Black Metal” as well as Lemmy and Motörhead’s, “The Ace of Spades.”
Towards the end of the evening perhaps the most genuine and feel good metal moment occurred when Max and Iggor returned to the stage by themselves to kick around some choice tunes which included snippets of “Desperate Cry” and “Murder” off of Sepultura’s Arise record, as well as a few bars of Slayer’s, “South of Heaven.”
Just the sight of the pair up on stage grinning and trying to hold back a laugh here and there, you could imagine the two could very well be reliving the countless times they spent as youths smashing away at their instruments together while trying to figure out who they were as musicians.
Thoughts of the lasting legacy the Cavaleras would have on metal music for generations to come were likely not present back then, instead what probably existed was two brothers simply sharing their love for one another and for metal music.
Thus if there was any clear takeaway from the Return to Roots tour stop at the Gramercy Theatre it would be less about what was played and more so about the opportunity the night presented for those in attendance to revel in a glorious metal celebration of one of the genre’s most beloved records penned by one of the genre’s most defining families, the Cavaleras.
The Cavaleras metal seed spreads further than just Max and Iggor as Gloria, Max’s Wife, has been involved with all things Sepultura, Soulfly, Killer Be Killed and just about everything else Max related for over three decades now.
Gloria has consistently been out in front in terms of supporting metal music on numerous levels for more years than most of the fans at the venue have probably even been alive. Gloria has continued to nurture and showcase younger metal bands on every tour Max plays on. Her tireless efforts have helped many bands break into the mainstream and her commitment to the cause has gone a long way to ensuring metal music will continue to drive forward long after the Cavaleras touring days are in the rear view mirror.
For the Cavaleras metal has never just been about them, it’s been more about their sharing something special with the metal community that cannot be talked about nor defined on paper, but instead, felt by only those in the club who know the secret handshake. That something is the spirit of metal music itself and how it bonds and unites those who’ve come along for the ride with the Cavaleras and countless others over the years.
The night’s metal proceedings concluded with the band reprising the first song played on the evening and the title track off of the Roots record itself. One last time the entirety of the Gramercy Theatre audience cried out with Max, Iggor, Marc and Tony, “Roots, Bloody Roots, Roots, Bloody Roots.”
As the venue echoed with those three words, most everyone in attendance was likely thinking about how they were proud to be a part of the metal family that is Cavalera and how unbelievably fortunate all of them were to have seen their friends Max and Iggor playing music together yet again.
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Event Date: 02-21-2017