Roots is the sixth studio album by the Brazilian metal band Sepultura. It was released in February 20, 1996 (1996-02-20) by Roadrunner Records, and was the band's last studio album to feature founding member and vocalist Max Cavalera. Following the experimentalism of the album Chaos A.D., Roots has more influence from Brazilian musical rhythms, and features Brazilian musician Carlinhos Brown, percussionist David Silveria, turntablist DJ Lethal, and vocalists Jonathan Davis and Mike Patton. Roots sold more than 2 million copies worldwide. The album has been identified as influential to the nu metal scene that followed in its wake, and helped lay the framework for the sound of Cavalera's later project, Soulfly.
The band incorporated these elements into almost all songs in the album, and one of them ("Itsári") was actually recorded with members of the Xavante Indians at their ancestral home. Meeting the Xavante Indians meant a lot to Sepultura. Igor says that the band identified a lot with the natives: "In a certain way, I think that we, as a band, had a lot of things in common with the Xavante Indians. We also lived on the edge of society, and our music and lifestyle is a long way from being assimilated and respected by that society." A spokesman of the tribe declared: "We had seen pictures of Sepultura and we knew that they were different, with their long hair and many tattoos. We also knew that they had been discriminated, like we were. Because of that we were very curious about them." Some songs also include participation ("Ratamahatta", "Dictatorshit" and "Endangered Species") and co-writing ("Ratamahatta") from Carlinhos Brown, a popular Brazilian musician. The political theme and influence of hardcore punk on the album are further reflected in the topic of "Dictatorshit", namely the 1964 Brazilian coup d'état. The lyrics to "Attitude" were co-written by Dana Wells, Max Cavalera's stepson, whose death (in part) led to the events which caused Max to leave the band. Dana also came up with the concept for the video for the song, featuring Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu experts the Gracie family.
Roots received worldwide critical acclaim. The mainstream press appreciated the album's unusual rhythms. American newspapers like The New Times, the Daily News and the Los Angeles Times reviewed the Brazilian band: "The mixture of the dense metal of Sepultura and the Brazilian music has a intoxicating effect", wrote a Los Angeles Times reviewer.The Daily News praised the album saying: "Sepultura reinvented the wheel. By mixing metal with native instruments, the band resuscitates the tired genre, reminding of Led Zeppelin times. But while Zeppelin mixed English metal with African beats, it's still more moving to hear a band that uses elements of its own country. By extracting the sounds of the past, Sepultura determines the future direction of metal".
Specialized heavy metal critics also reviewed the album positively. Martin Popoff, author of the book The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal, ranked Roots as the 11th best metal record of all time. "This is a spectacular metal and futurist hardcore LP", wrote Popoff, "a masterpiece, accomplished by a band with an enormous heart and an even larger intellect". Kerrang! magazine awarded Roots second place in the list of "100 records that you have to hear before dying"; just after In Utero from Nirvana. In 2001 Q magazine named Roots as one of the 50 Heaviest Albums Of All Time.Rolling Stone Brasil named it the 57th best Brazilian music album.Rolling Stone (3/21/96, p. 98) gave the album three stars out of five and said, "Sepultura play a violent game of sonic overload... the band uses its catharsis as a creative force, funneling torrents of noise into a tunnel of hate." Music critic Piero Scaruffi includes Roots at number nine, just after Dream Theater's Images and Words and before Electric Wizard's Come My Fanatics..., in his classification of the best metal albums of all time. Music critic Robert Christgau gave the album a negative review. He qualified the album with a "dud" rating.
The Roots of Sepultura is a double-disc album by Sepultura, released in November 1996. It was a collection of unreleased tracks, b-sides, alternate mixes, and live recordings. This release is unique from Roots and the 2005 25th Anniversary Roots album as the B-Sides disc has a drastically different series of tracks. This album also contains a unique cover of tracks by Motörhead, Dead Kennedys, Os Mutantes and Ratos de Porão paying tribute to the bands that heavily influenced Sepultura as a band.