With their groundbreaking 1996 album, Roots, Sepultura took the sound of their native Brazil and blended it with riff-heavy, rhythmic groove of the then-burgeoning nu-metal genre, celebrating Brazilian lifestyle and culture and even going as far as including the indigenous Xavante tribe to play on the album. The result was one of that year’s most celebrated heavy albums, which went on to be the last to feature both brothers, Max and Igor Cavalera.
Sepultura continues to this day, with Brazilian powerhouse, Eloy Casagrande having joined on drums in 2011. Eloy recently paid a visit to Drumeo, where he took time to break down the main parts of Sepultura’s best-known song, Roots Bloody Roots before playing it in full.
“Roots…was recorded back in 1996, the original drummer who played it was Igor Cavalera.” Eloy is quick to point out. “The whole album, Roots, was highly influenced by original Brazilian music. We play Roots Bloody Roots at every Sepultura show, It’s impossible to do a Sepultura show and not play this song.”
Eloy — who was five when Roots was released — plays the song pretty faithfully to Igor’s original, while also beating the kit as if it just spilled his drink. There’s a double bass drum groove in the song’s chorus, and moving to the verses he demonstrates how he uses a high-tuned rack tom to simulate the song’s timbalito parts.
However, Eloy admits that he’s added his own stamp during the song’s short guitar solo, adding some extra tom hits over the top of the double bass drum groove and maintaining the snare backbeats on beats 2 and 4 of each bar. “It’s not supposed to be better” he says, “Because the original version is perfect…it’s just something different that makes sense for me.”
In closing, he adds that a key part of Sepultura's Roots era is groove and energy over perfection “The producer of [Roots] was Ross Robinson, who I’ve also had the opportunity to work with.
"He’s an incredible producer because he doesn’t care about perfection or technique. He just cares about the energy of the song. This is something that you can feel when you listen to the whole Roots album.
“Also, the song was recorded without a metronome, so the tempo flows a little bit. Sometimes you cannot think like a metal drummer…you have to relax, calm down and enjoy the song.”