If you're a Sepultura fan, then here's some good news and some bad news for you. First, the good news: you have a lot of money. That's quite nice really, we all want to be rich. So what could be the bad news? Well, the bad news is you're an idiot. Roadrunner Records seem to think you are anyway.
Roadrunner have always been notorious for re-releasing albums in numerous, ever so slightly different formats. When they saw their greatest ever cash cow imploding, Roadrunner panicked, and started grubbing round to see how much Sepultura material they could find. The archives were quite full, with a heap of studio outtakes and enough concert material for a killer live album. So did they put together a live album and a B-sides album? Nope, this is Roadrunner. Instead, the live stuff and the outtakes were split in two and mixed up, almost at random, on two different releases. One of the releases was a repackaged bonus disc version of `Roots', and `Blood Rooted'. This meant completists would have to buy a new, more expensive version of `Roots' and another separate album in `Blood Rooted' if they wanted to get all of Sepultura's unreleased and live material.
As for the "idiot" bit, try this on: on the front cover of `Blood Rooted' a little stamp says "Over an hour of live and rare material". How rare is something which is bundled onto a CD and released through major distribution channels world-wide? A lot of these songs had never been released, like the demos (which wouldn't have been intended for release anyway) and the live tracks. If these songs had been released on hedgehog-shaped four-inch blue vinyl on an Icelandic New Age record label, limited to 17 copies, then trumpeting them as rare would be fully justified. The cover of the Dead Kennedy's "Drug Me", storming and violent as it is, appears on both releases, and had also already appeared on at least one compilation and an EP, so you be the judge as to how "rare" it is.
Complaints aside, `Blood Rooted' gets off to a decent enough start. Celtic Frost's "Procreation Of The Wicked" would be heavy and menacing no matter who played it. This is as heavy as a truckload of bricks, with a nice line in stressed guitar effects. "Inhuman Nature" is a `Chaos AD' song, right? Well, no, it's a Final Conflict cover, so now we know where the inspiration for the sound on that album came from. Then there's "Policia", a cover of a song by Brazilian Hardcore band Titas, and it's fairly straightforward, traditional Seps material, as are the versions of "Drug Me", and Ratos De Porao's "Crucificados Pelo Sistema"
But then it gets messy. Next up is a cover of Bob Marley's "War". Cool, Bob Marley, ganga and grooves, right? Nope. This sounds more like U2 and Neurosis having a fight, and someone has recorded it on a Walkman. Think that's bad? Try this then! Sepultura manage to wreck up the unwreckable- Black Sabbath's "Symptom Of The Universe". It has two redeeming features- Igor's drumming, which is incredibly precise, and Andreas' solo. Otherwise, Max half-heartedly strums his way through the rhythms, and listlessly moans and grumbles through the lyrics. What could have been a powerful tribute to a metal legend ended up a flat and lifeless embarrassment.
The Mike Patton collaboration "Mine" was recorded during the `Chaos AD' sessions, but sounds more like a half paced `Roots' track. Patton's trademark vocal acrobatics are wasted on yet another half-baked mess of a song. "Lookaway" is a poorly conceived Korn collaboration.
The live environment is where bands live and die in the eyes of fans, and if the previous few tracks had drained the life from Sepultura's corpse, the live tracks reanimate it as a homicidal zombie intent on bringing about metallic Armageddon. Long-time fans were not at all keen on `Chaos AD' as the band had drifted from their thrash roots. In a live environment, the tracks sit perfectly comfortably next to much older material. The powerful percussive lead in to "Propaganda" could have come off any Sepultura album from `Schizophrenia' onward. The electric version of "Kaiowas" makes for a change of pace, and proved the track wasn't just a studio construct. The live tracks are reasonably clear in recording quality, and don't sound like they've been interfered with much in the studio. The energy and metal feel they convey almost belie the fact the band had metamorphosed into a much-despised nu-metal entity.
On the whole, this album is very uneven, and would have been a very unsatisfying epitaph for a once great band had it been the final release. The studio tracks are hardly worth the effort, and the half-a-live album is too short. Approach it with eyes and ears wide open.