Over 21 years ago, the Klown was just a wee clown trying to understand the world. Outdoor play was a thing, Saturday morning cartoons were still around, Goosebumps and Animorphs were the go to literature masterpieces of the day, MTV still had music but most importantly, Sepultura still had the Cavaleras. When MTV was a trendy musical catalyst and was shown in Telemundo, the Klown had visual and musical exposure to some great classics in our beloved genre such as “Roots Bloody Roots” and Roots was being heavily promoted as one of the best albums of the year at the time.
On March 4, Ugh Metal took a trip up to Santa Ana, CA to the Observatory to not only see the Brazilian metal gods but to experience old school Sepultura in some form. Before the Klown begins, he would like to issue a mea culpa to the upstarts from LA known as Art Of Shock. Unfortunately for Ugh Metal, the weekend traffic on the 5 North was unpredictable and bad making us miss out on this group. The Klown was actually looking forward to hearing Art Of Shock dish out “The Reaper” or “Freaking Out”. Hopefully, next time the Klown will be fortunate enough to catch these gents in action. Who knows maybe they’ll pop in San Diego one of these days?
Instead, Ugh Metal kicked off this night with the Pomonan quintet known as Sangre. These guys were a treat and kept the present momentum going. Truth be told, the Klown didn’t know what to expect, but the Klown enjoys surprises for the most part. Once yours truly made his way inside, he was greeted by Henry Sanchez’s vocals combined with Mike Reyes and Anthony Ibarra’s wailing guitars and solo. Sanchez also had the charisma and presence to keep a hyped crowd going. Sangre treated us to “Forever I” and more songs from their last studio album The Great Tribulation and performed the anthem for every metalhead and punker, “Me Vale Madre.”The group also promoted their latest EP Atonement by performing “Self Destructive Destiny.”
After Sangre, the Klown had the pleasure to see the flavor the fast rising grindcore from Mars second time, Full Of Hell. We were kicked off with “Halogen Bulb” by the self proclaimed Martians, which by the end of that performance had frontman Dylan Walker so pumped up that he ended up revealing that the band was really from Massachusetts… go figure. Unlike the last time, Walker didn’t use his mixer and his fancy mouthpiece as much. But when Walker used the mouthpiece and mixer it was brief and for the performance of “Vessel Desserted.” Unlike the last time, Full Of Hell was more fast paced than usual and more aggressive especially when they unleashed “Amber Mote.” Before their time was up, drummer Dave Bland treated us to a drum solo after “Thrum in the Deep.”
Before the Klown continues with Immolation, he would like to state that although he loved their time on the stage, it would be a disservice to take away their true limelight which happened on the following day at the Brick. Nevertheless, they kicked major ass and the Klown knew that the following day was going to be a major treat! The quartet from Yonkers kicked off their set with “The Distorting Light” from their latest album, Atonement. They would later take us back to 2010 with “Majesty and Decay” and hit fast forward to a year later with their 2011 EP Providence for “What They Bring.” Although they didn’t finish with the following song, frontman and bassist Ross Dolan took us back to the beginning by performing “Immolation.”
As Immolation departed, the stage was set for those who never had the chance to experience Sepultura with the Cavaleras. Although the collective didn’t have their original line up, bassist Tony Campos and lead guitarist Marc Rizzo, filled in as the missing piece of this tour. If you thought the Klown was excited, it couldn’t match up to the Observatory as a whole especially the second “Roots Bloody Roots” began! The Klown’s inner child lit up and took a trip down memory lane to the moment he was first exposed to this masterpiece as he sat in front of the tube during the 90’s.
The pit looked like a swarm of killer bees after the hive was kicked, and the rest of the venue sang along with Max Cavalera. Max proved why he’s the Brazilian metal god and showcased his multi-instrumentalist skills by playing a berimbau, a traditional Brazilian percussion instrument that looks like a bow, for the beginning of “Attitude.” The Klown was really stoked to finally hear his other favorite song from the Roots album, “Ratamahatta.” Aside from it being an awesome song with some tribal and Afro-Brazilian influences, the song also serves as a metal version of Muzzy for some quick Portuguese.
Although “Jasco” wasn’t performed, “Itsari” was which featured a drumming solo and instrumental/intro prior to “Ambush” from Igor Cavalera. Max would share bits of Sepultura’s history and gave a fun fact about Roots by revealing to fans the Xavantes Tribe from Brazil was actually brought to the studio to record that session back when iconic album was still being recorded. The night got better when members from Full of Hell and Immolation and Faith No More drummer Mike Bordin joined the Cavaleras on stage for a drumming session.
As the show was coming to a close, Max would then invite Dylan Walker and Ross Dolan on stage for a vocal demo and to perform two songs thereafter. The first was in honor of a legend that is gone but never forgotten, Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades” in which Walker and Dylan served as backup vocalists. The last was in honor of pioneers that are still alive and kicking, Venom’s “Black Metal,” a song in which Max would share vocal duties with Walker’s guttural vocals and Dolan’s harsh growls.
After the covers were performed, Max expressed his love for music and gratitude to fans by referring to them as his tribe whether you support Sepultura or Soulfly. Cavalera shared an anecdote about Igor and himself and reminisced about the times they were starting out and jammed out in their childhood home in the favelas of Belo Horizonte. Cavalera said that it was a time in which he would say were some of his best moments despite of everything they went through and where the idea of Sepultura would eventually come from. The night would conclude with Campos and Rizzo returning to the stage alongside the brothers and performed a fast paced mash up of Sepultura’s classics starting with “Roots Bloody Roots” as the catalyst.