10 songs we want Sepultura to play before they retire

Sepultura Press Pic 2024
(Image credit: Press/Nuclear Blast)

When Sepultura announced they were planning to call it a day after 40 years as a band, it's fair to say it came as a shock. Naysayers might point to the departure of the Cavalera brothers (in 1996 and 2006 respectively) as a point where the band were no longer Sepultura as the world knew them, but the fact remains that with vocalist Derrick Green the band have forged an impressive and adventurous career this side of the 21st Century.

Although they're planning on riding into the sunset, Sepultura aren't going out without one last massive bang. The band's farwell tour 'Celebrating Life Through Death' kicked off in their hometown of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on March 1 2024 and is currently making its way around the world, starting off with an extensive tour of South America before making its way to North America and Europe this fall and winter. 

But with 40 years and 15 studio albums' worth of material to pick from, we've called out the 10 songs we hope either stick in the setlist for the whole world tour, or otherwise pop up as the set evolves. And before you ask, no, we're not including the likes of Roots, Refuse/Resist etc. - they all go without saying. So with no further ado, these are the 10 Sepultura deep cuts we hope they include in their farewell tour. 

Metal Hammer line break

1. Biotech Is Godzilla (Chaos A.D., 1993)

Kicking off with one that's already made its way back into sets, but is a surprising rarity nonetheless. Before this year's tour Seps had played this Chaos A.D. cut pretty sparingly, it popping up just once a year in 2018 and 2017 respectively, despite being a staple of their sets for years prior. It's not hard to see why this one has made its way back in though; imperious and tight, the thundering fury at the heart of the track is perfect for Green's snarling vocal - if you don't believe us, check out the live video below - and captures the changeover from their 80s thrash/death metal roots to a more groove-indebted style. 

2. Policia (Chaos A.D., 1993)

A more cheeky pick, considering it's not a Sepultura original, but the fact remains when the Brazilians took on this punk track, they made it their own. Originally by Brazilian group Titãs, Sepultura's rendition turned it into a Discharge-style slice of aggro hardcore punk. Given Green's own background in hardcore, its probably no surprise this one has popped up a few times over the years, but given the utterly incendiary version the band recorded as part of their Sepulquatra sessions in lockdown (with Shavo Odadjian and Titãs member Tony Bellotto, no less) this is one we'd love to see pop up again. 

Sepultura - Biotech is Godzilla & Polícia (Shavo Odadjian & Tony Bellotto) System of a Down | Titãs - YouTube Sepultura - Biotech is Godzilla & Polícia (Shavo Odadjian & Tony Bellotto) System of a Down | Titãs - YouTube
Watch On

3. Spit (Roots, 1996)

Yep, Spit is a rarity - we're surprised too. One of the more overtly thrash numbers from 1996's Roots, Spit looms with an air of menace thanks to its gut-churning bass intro before giving way to an all-out assault on the senses. Captured on the iconic Under A Pale Grey live record, the track has nonetheless been sparingly used over the years. Given the sheer intensity of the Derrick Green incarnation of the band, it's astounding this one hasn't popped up in sets more, but with it being dusted off for a single show so far, we can hope that it'll make more appearances on the dates to come. 

4. Hatred Aside (Against, 1998)

Derrick Green's debut with Sepultura, Against's biggest mainstay in the live set has always been lead single Choke. But with a selection of fast 'n' furious thrashers like Reza and the title-track in its ranks, it's more the pity that the band haven't kept more of the songs in their set over the years. Our pick goes to penultimate track Hatred Aside though, a last outpouring of thrashy thunder that originally featured guest instrumentation by Metallica's Jason Newsted. Another track that was dusted off during the quarrantine sessions, it's not hard to see how utterly venomous this one could be in the set. 

Sepultura - Hatred Aside (feat. Fernanda Lira, Angélica Burns & Mayara Puertas | Quarantine Version) - YouTube Sepultura - Hatred Aside (feat. Fernanda Lira, Angélica Burns & Mayara Puertas | Quarantine Version) - YouTube
Watch On

5. Who Must Die? (Nation, 2001)

By and large, Sepultura's flirtation with nu metal was short-lived. 1996's Roots was about as close as the band got to directly adopting the style, and even then the incorporation of Brazilian folk helped lend it an entirely new flavour. By the time Against rolled around the band were focused more on a mix of thrash, sludgy heft and more folk-inspired inclinations. That doesn't mean they'd cut ties entirely though. The downtuned bounce and percussive vocals of Who Must DIe? are definitely indebted to the scene, but also show that Seps never struggled to stamp their own identity on anything they tried a hand to. 

6. Corrupted (Roorback, 2003)

The magic of Derrick Green-era Sepultura has long been in how suffocatingly heavy and tight the band can get. 2003's Roorback never really got a look-in so far as songs making the setlist goes - which is a real shame, especially with excellent tracks like The Rift - but if you want to feel that sheer claustrophobic heft, look no further than Corrupted, claustrophobia-inducing riffs swallowing you in a tide of sludgy thrash. This song is what sweaty club pits were made for. 

7. False (Dante XXI, 2006)

Every time Sepultura haven't included False in their setlist over the past 18 years has been a catastrophic oversight. Taken from 2006's Dante XXI, the track should be exhibit a for anyone that questions the quality of their material post-90s, its blitzkrieg rumble and unstoppable force perfect for live shows. Thankfully the band have resurrected it thus far on the tour, giving us plenty of hope that it'll still be a fixture on future legs.  

Sepultura - False (SepulQuarta Quarantine Performance) - YouTube Sepultura - False (SepulQuarta Quarantine Performance) - YouTube
Watch On

8. Convicted In Life (Dante XXI, 2006)

As above with False, Convicted In Life has all the hallmarks of a classic Sepultura track. From its frenetic, gattling-gun drum intro to the rabid, rampaging energy it carries forward, the track was enough of a stand-out to be selected as the lead single from the record, but has been another glaring omission from sets in subsequent years. It's only popped up on one show of the tour so far, but this one deserves to be brought out every night, to devastating effect. 

9. Phantom Self (Machine Messiah, 2017)

As the most played track from 2017's Machine Messiah, you'd think Phantom Self is almost guaranteed in the Sepultura set, but the track has disappeared from a few sets thus far. Representative of how the band have struck a balance with the many disparate styles they've tinkered with in the past, the track's orchestral underpinnings and tribal beat certainly mean it's a trickier proposition in the set than say, Choke, but the track's sheer forcefulness makes it an instant favourite, showing just how vital those last two Sepultura records still are. 

Watch On

10. Isolation (Quadra, 2020)

Now this is a surprising omission. The opening track of what now seems to be the band's final album, Isolation hasn't popped up in a single Sepultura setlist in 2024 so far. But given the track's perfect position as an intro (whether to the main set or encore) and sheer thrash force, this song is a prime example of the sheer bluster and power that Sepulutra still possess in the 2020s. When it comes to tracks that set up your swansong, you can't get much better than Isolation

SEPULTURA - Isolation - Bloodstock 2023 - YouTube SEPULTURA - Isolation - Bloodstock 2023 - YouTube
Watch On
Rich Hobson

Staff writer for Metal Hammer, Rich has never met a feature he didn't fancy, which is just as well when it comes to covering everything rock, punk and metal for both print and online, be it legendary events like Rock In Rio or Clash Of The Titans or seeking out exciting new bands like Nine Treasures, Jinjer and Sleep Token.