The international language of heavy metal learned a new word in 1996. Ratamahatta. The Brazilian metal titan Max Calvera was to make his last record with Sepultura before leaving to form SoulFly. And what a record it is. The mix of rhythms and guitars was like no other metal band around before or since.
Now my Portuguese isn’t strong but the lyrics seem to be about rich contrasting with poor. There’s a distant memory of meeting a Brazilian metal fan in a metal bar in the Canaries who told me this song title translates as Noble Rodent or something.
Feel free to call me out on that. I’m not going to look it up. See Ratamahatta and I have history and I don’t want to spoil it. 1996 was a long time ago and me and this song have done things together that don’t make sense in hindsight.
I like how we don’t understand each other exactly but we have a fondness for the younger versions of each other and who we used to be.
So Ratamahatta might be about poverty and wealth. It might also be about the year the annual rock festival at Castle Donington almost disappeared up it’s own arse, but a Brazilian metal band saved the day. I just can’t tell. It might be about talking to metal fans from all over the world in the TurboPub on Gran Canaria. It might be about all the times I lost my shit in the rock clubs when it used to get played back in the final few years the last century. To be honest it’s about all of those things to me.
I just smile when I hear it now. And feel really pleased with myself.