My group of metal head friends all have different opinions on Roots and the Cavelera brothers.. Especially Max, who famously doesn’t play with all of the strings on his guitar. So if you don’t know, Roots is a controversial album, not because of its content but because of what it’s influenced and if it has even influenced anything.
I was going because they were playing Roots in full and my attitude was why not, for the most part in my re-listens I did not enjoy it. It didn’t really hold up and it wasn’t an album I was ever really into.
But I was still going in part because they were playing the album in full.
A friend said it best, he called it “more seminal than good” and I thought that was a fair statement. But should it matter that something is seminal if it’s not good? Is music like watching a 50s NBA game where you can respect the game for it’s time but the skill doesn’t compare to what we have now?
If Roots came out today it wouldn’t be an important album. I don’t think that form of music would be different if it hadn’t came out. The scene has passed it by. Today Roots sounds like a bad Slipknot album with tribal elements. At the time of its release it could have been mistaken for cool, but as it turns out all it ever did was pave the way for all the annoying things that are happening in metal today.
There is a place for experiencing history. There is good reason to be a spectator when something like Roots is being revisited 20 years after it’s release. If they didn’t get hurt and cancel, I’d have listened to how tight they play the record today. I’d want to compare the songs from Roots to any other Cavalera Conspiracy songs they might play. I would have looked to see if the album had a different feel in a live setting. I would hope to see live instruments for the Brazilian rhythm sections of the songs. I have interest in seeing how they handle “Lookaway” as song that had parts sung by Jonathan Davis and Mike Patton. There were good reasons to go see them live.
There’s a place to see any album performed live, even one more seminal than the good.