Sepultura’s career is a complicated tale of what was, is and what might have been: a two-act Greek drama taking place in Brazil, in which a key protagonist of the first act (vocalist, guitarist and chief songwriter Max Cavalera), departed but never stopped haunting the remaining players in the second act, always leaving fans in lip-biting anticipation for a third act that has yet to be written… and may never be written.

Why oh why is there such a passionate response to this particular heavy metal band? Maybe because no other heavy metal band beat greater odds to achieve global recognition than Sepultura, that’s why.

Formed in the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte, in 1984, by teenage brothers Max and Igor Cavalera, Sepultura (their name is Portuguese for sepulcher, or crypt) was pretty much willed into existence with the help of guitarist Jairo T. and bassist Paulo Jr., and the hungry quartet essentially learned to play their instruments while recording 1985’s Bestial Devastation EP and ‘86’s Morbid Visions full-length.

Then came an astonishing and wholly unexpected technical and creative growth-spurt following the recruitment of Sao Paulo-born lead guitarist Andreas Kisser, and Sepultura literally took the globe by storm with increasingly accomplished death/thrash classics like Schizophrenia, Beneath the Remains and Arise, which saw them graduating from anonymity into one of extreme metal’s best-selling bands.

And then rather than sitting on their laurels, 1993’s Chaos A.D. and ‘96’s Roots saw Sepultura brazenly testing the limits of their sound, generally with acclaimed results, only for a total meltdown in their internal business and personal relationships (prompted by the sudden death of manager Gloria Cavalera’s son, and Max’s stepson, Dana, just as the other three band members were considering dismissing their manager) to splinter the group.

Max quit, launched a new band called Soulfly, while a resilient Sepultura soldiered on with new singer Derrick Green. Ever since, both bands have prospered independently of each other, to some degree, with Sepultura issuing relatively well-received LPs like Against and Roorback. But Igor’s eventual departure in 2006 (soon to rejoin his brother in Cavalera Conspiracy) has been too much for many fans to stomach, intensifying calls for a reunion.

Nevertheless, Sepultura has carried on, led by guitarist Kisser, and their efforts have hardly been in vain – it’s just that fans will never be at peace over the way Sepultura’s incredible career was so rudely interrupted, while always hoping against hope for the group's “classic” foursome to bury the hatchet. Hey, stranger reunions have happened in the realm of rock and roll bands, so we can only hope...

Until then, sit back and click through the gallery above for a review of both sides of the coin that is Sepultura’s discography!

See More Albums Ranked

More From Loudwire