Igor Cavalera, the influential drummer of the heavy metal band Sepultura

A drummer is typically recognized by the band he plays or has played for. And in this case, Igor Graziano Cavalera is an example of greatness.

Born on September 4, 1970, the Brazilian drummer is best known for his role in his former heavy metal band Sepultura. Igor Cavalera co-founded the band with his brother Max in 1984, and the band took off.

Igor Cavalera
Igor Cavalera

Max was with the band until 1996 when he left – then followed by Cavalera himself leaving ten years later. He was the last original member of the band to leave. Since then, they have re-united the original band under Cavalera Conspiracy.

Over the years, the drummer has worked with big names like Nailbomb and Strife. He continued growing his skills and creating new styles until he became an influencer.

Starting early has always been the best process in learning drums. Cavalera started at the age of seven years old. As a child, he liked samba music more than anything else, and after he saw Queen live in 1981 with his brother Max it shifted his interest to the rock genre.

By the time Sepultura was formed, Cavalera was the youngest member at 13, while his brother was 14 then. The band grew fast into a successful group, giving Cavalera a strong foundation in the industry. It was not until April 21, 1984, that he got to play on real drums, which he had to borrow from another band.

In 1996, Sepultura split, as their relationship faced a crisis. But they seem to have worked out their differences as they have rejoined into a stronger musical group.

He started spelling his name as “Iggor” based on how it looked at the time. When his fourth child was born in 2006, it was announced he was taking a break from the band. Later, he announced his departure from Sepultura, citing what he called ‘artistic incompatibility.”

He was scheduled to collaborate with hip-hop artist Necro on a project that involved thrash/metal. But the project did not go through after Necro stopped it.


Igor Cavalera Performing
Igor Cavalera Performing

No matter how good a drummer is, it’s always his style that matters most. Cavalera says his main influence came from drummers like Roger Taylor, Bill WardDave Lombardo, Steward Copeland, and Mike Bordin.

When he co-founded Sepultura, he started off playing louder and faster on their earlier albums. He copied the thrash metal style of the 80s, which was very much “in tune” for the metal culture.

He continued to master the style between 1987 and 1991. Tribal elements can be heard from his innovative technique on the “Chaos A.D.” Later, he came up with a new style in the 1996 Roots album. With this, he added more tribal elements to the band’s music.

Cavalera has always been recognized as a hard-hitting drummer, and he has always come up with new and exciting playing styles.

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Written by Andrea

Andrea is a music lover and an experienced drummer with more than 15 years of drumming with different bands and music projects, such as Seditius and Hermano & the Marines.

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