Listeners intrigued by the rhythmic innovations and Brazilian influences of Chaos A.D. will be quite pleased by Sepultura's sprawling, frequently brilliant follow-up. True to its title, Roots wholeheartedly embraces Sepultura's native Brazilian rhythms, augmenting their music with field recordings of the Xavantes Indians, vocalist/percussionist Carlinhos Brown, and expanded percussion sections. The guitarists create an array of noisy, textural effects, so their technique and riff writing are not as impressive for fans of old-school thrash, but that's more due to the growing influence of alternative metal on the band, with Korn being a particular touchstone (vocalist Jonathan Davis even guests on one track). The songs sacrifice the tight structure of Chaos A.D. for extended percussion jams, plus some acoustic instrumental work. At 72 minutes, Roots inevitably loses focus in spots, but when the music connects (and it does so often), it carries tremendous visceral impact. Roots consolidates Sepultura's position as perhaps the most distinctive, original heavy metal band of the 1990s.
by Steve Huey