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:

Sepultura - Dead Embryonic Cells [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

“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.”

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.