Since bursting onto the international scene with 1989's Roadrunner Records debut Beneath the Remains to closing their classic era with the 1996 nu-metal-inflected tribal opus Roots, Sepultura have left an indelible mark on the face of heavy music. The Brazilian band is still going on strong but without the founding sibling duo of Max and Igor Cavalera. We asked you the fans to pick the group's single greatest song, and not surprisingly, their early Nineties output dominated the conversation. See the top five vote-getters below.
"Walking these dirty streets/With hate in my mind," Max Cavalera opens his lyrics on this standout cut off Sepultura's breakthrough third album, Beneath the Remains, the band's first for Roadrunner Records. Drawing on the gritty reality of life in Brazil, it's a gnarled death-metal-inflected thrash stomper of the highest order.
Chaos A.D.'s shock-and-awe opener is one of heavy music's great protest anthems, punk in spirit, metal in its dense, orchestrated sonic attack. Opening with compulsive tribal drumming and a timeless groove-metal riff, it also resoundingly ushered in the next step in Sepultura's ceaseless evolution.
Call it nu-metal. Call it Korn worship. Call it whatever the fuck you want. "Roots Bloody Roots," the lead cut off 1996's polarizing 1996 Roots LP, is an insanely awesome battle cry of an anthem, riding on its bouncing, bass-heavy main riff through heavy parts and even heavier parts. It's arguably Sepultura's signature number, standing, as well, as the bittersweet swan song of their classic era.
The second cut off of Chaos A.D. to get voted to this list, "Territory" is a blunt, relentless ripper, ferociously underlining the absurdity of war — a theme memorably brought to life in the song's MTV Music Video Award–winning music video, which was shot in the Middle East, the band captured throwing down in the desert, painted in black mud from the Dead Sea. No wonder Gojira have taken to covering it as a regular part of their live show.
Released in 1991 as the then-rising Brazilian stars' first official single, the title cut off their fourth album thrashes like prime Slayer but roars with that special, primal Sepultura savagery. For many old-school fans, it was their jaw-dropping introduction to the band; for others, a surprising revelation of the group's early ferocity, discovered after bigger Nineties hits. However you came to it, "Arise" rules.