Following the departure of frontman Max Cavalera in 1997, Sepultura found themselves in the unenviable position of being the true underdogs of thrash/groove metal. Replacing a much-loved frontman is never easy, but in Derrick Green they secured a powerhouse performer; a man capable of bringing a new energy to the band’s old songs, and also maintaining a commanding stage presence.
The first two Sepultura albums featuring Derrick (1998’s ‘Against’ and 2000’s ‘Nation’) show a band really delivering in terms of riffs, but also branching out. On tunes like ‘Choke’ and ‘Hatred Aside’, listeners are able to witness a band who were not willing to take the changes lightly, and yet going into the new phase of the career very naturally. By the time of ‘One Man Army’, the confidence in the “new” line up had grown enough to temper the usual Seps anger with art rock elements closer to Faith No More, and although there were moments that sometimes sounded like Sepultura on autopilot (‘Saga’) there was little doubt that they’d have a huge future without Max.
The complete show captured below features the ‘Nation’ era Sepultura in full flight at Rock In Rio 2001, mixing new anthems ‘Sepulnation’ and ‘Saga’ with some well loved classics, even venturing as far back as 1985’s ‘Morbid Visions’ album for a storming ‘Troops of Doom’. In terms of festival gigs, it’s more than enough evidence that Sepultura could not only survive a major line up change, but might even have some of their best days to come. The footage is also a strong reminder of a couple of albums that are certainly in need of a reappraisal if you’ve not heard them in a while.
[The ‘Against’ and ‘Nation’ albums are available as part of the 2021 box set ‘Sepulnation’, a 5 disc anthology, also including ‘A-Lex’, ‘Dante XXI’ and a special edition of ‘Roorback‘]