Sepultura, the legendary Brazilian metal band, left an indelible mark on the music scene with their groundbreaking 1996 album, “Roots.” Fusing the vibrant sounds of their native Brazil with the groove-laden, riff-heavy essence of the emerging nu-metal genre, the album not only celebrated Brazilian culture but also featured the participation of the indigenous Xavante tribe. It remains one of the most revered heavy albums of its time, marking the last collaboration of brothers Max and Igor Cavalera within the band’s lineup.
While Sepultura continues its musical journey, Eloy Casagrande, a formidable drumming powerhouse hailing from Brazil, assumed the role of drummer in 2011. Recently, Eloy graced the studios of Drumeo, where he embarked on an insightful deconstruction of Sepultura’s iconic anthem, “Roots Bloody Roots,” followed by a thunderous live performance.
“Roots… was recorded back in 1996, and the original drummer behind it was Igor Cavalera,” Eloy eagerly points out. “The entire ‘Roots’ album drew profound inspiration from traditional Brazilian music. We include ‘Roots Bloody Roots’ in every Sepultura show; it’s an essential part of our setlist.”
Eloy, who was a mere five years old when “Roots” was unleashed upon the world, delivers a faithful rendition of Igor’s original drumming, all while displaying an electrifying intensity akin to someone avenging a spilled drink. Within the song’s chorus, he masterfully navigates a double bass drum groove, and when delving into the verses, he demonstrates his craft by employing a high-tuned rack tom to replicate the song’s timbalito elements.
Nonetheless, Eloy unveils his unique mark during the song’s brief guitar solo, incorporating additional tom hits above the relentless double bass drum groove while maintaining the snare backbeats on the second and fourth beats of each measure. He humbly acknowledges, “It’s not about surpassing the original, because the original version is flawless… it’s about adding my own touch in a way that makes sense to me.”
In conclusion, Eloy highlights a pivotal aspect of Sepultura’s “Roots” era: groove and energy trump technical perfection. He attributes this philosophy to the album’s producer, Ross Robinson, with whom he has had the privilege to collaborate. “Ross is an exceptional producer because he prioritizes the song’s energy over perfection or technique. This is palpable when you listen to the entire ‘Roots’ album.”
Additionally, Eloy emphasizes that “Roots” was recorded without the constraints of a metronome, allowing the tempo to breathe organically. Sometimes, as he notes, a metal drummer must set aside technicalities and embrace a more relaxed, immersive approach to fully savor the essence of the song.