Max Cavalera discusses the guitar rig that was used on Sepultura classic Arise

In a recent Guitar World interview, currently Soulfly and former Sepultura frontman Max Cavalera discussed the writing and recording of Sepultura’s seminal thrash album Arise.

Arise is a big record in our career. I think at that time, I was approaching the songwriting at a very exciting level – mixing death metal and thrash metal together. We were listening to [Metallica’s] …And Justice for All, but at the same time, we were listening to Morbid Angel – and trying to bridge them together somehow.”

“I think Arise showcases that – especially in the riffs. A lot of the riffs I wrote for the record is the pinnacle of the ‘death/thrash’ idea.

“It opened a lot of doors. We did the biggest tour ever for this record – something like 200 shows. It was the most ridiculous, crazy, longest tour ever. But we went everywhere – Russia, Indonesia, Australia. I’m very proud of Arise.

Sepultura - Arise [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

On the recording of the record, Max spoke of the sessions at legendary death metal studio Morrisound.

“It was the first time we recorded in the US – we recorded at Morrisound [in Tampa, Florida]. And we had available for us for the first time a real studio – with people who knew about this kind of music. Scott Burns producing and Andy Wallace to mix – it made the record sound even better when Andy put his mixes on. Mostly, I didn’t have many effects pedals – it was straight-up riffing.” 

Asked about the gear he used on the record, Max explains:

“A white BC Rich Warlock was my favorite guitar at the time. I think we were into trying to get that crunchy Metallica sound – maybe we used some Mesa/Boogies. Probably some Marshalls, too. It was a combination. 

“It was definitely before Peavey – I’m using Peavey these days. I use a lot of 6505 Peaveys. That’s my favorite amp.”

Sepultura - Dead Embryonic Cells [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

His rig these days is a lot different, as he goes into detail:

“I’m using ESP guitars. I’ve been with ESP now for 25 years. I’ve got my own model, the RPR. Me and my friend, Chris Cannella – he’s in Deicide now – we designed it together. 

“My idea was to mix an Explorer and a Warlock. If the Explorer and a Warlock got together and fucked and had a baby… the RPR is what it would look like! It’s the bastard son of the Explorer and Warlock. 

“I’m using mostly Peavey 6505s. And then I’ve got three pedals that I use – a chorus, a Boss Auto Wah, and a tuning pedal… a drop-tune pedal [DigiTech Drop]. 

“I don’t think they make the Auto Wah anymore. It’s just wicked and crazy when you step on it – it is louder than anything on the stage. My soundman used to hate that pedal!”

Catch Max on tour right now with Soulfly, and next year with his brother/former Sepultura drummer Igor playing both Arise and Beneath The Remains at Maryland Deathfest.

Brian Kelleher

I'm the main guy at and I want to tell you all about guitars. I've been playing music since 1986 when my older brother taught me to play "Gigantic" by The Pixies on a bass with two strings. Since then, I've owned dozens of instruments from guitars to e-drums, and spent more time than I'd like to admit sitting in vans waiting for venues to open across Europe and the US.

Brian Kelleher has 132 posts and counting. See all posts by Brian Kelleher