October 29, 2009 | 9:00am
It's enough to make metalhead purists wail and gnash their teeth. Half of the producer/DJ duo Mixhell
is Iggor Cavalera, who co-founded seminal Brazilian groove-metal act Sepultura when he was just 15 years old. For the next 20 years, he toured the world and sold out stadiums as the band's drummer, until a 2006 epiphany that came unexpected, at least to outsiders. He changed the spelling of his name from the original "Igor" to its present, two-G iteration, quit Sepultura, and, apparently, discovered the joys of dance music.
With his wife, Laima, he's since then been tweaking the knobs as Mixhell, garnering the support of all the electro-house heavies like Soulwax, Justice, MSTRKRFT, Diplo, James Murphy, and so on. And while Mixhell mines plenty of the ass-tastic funky rhythms of the Cavaleras' home country, everything still grinds with a residual heaviness. Iggor is known to play his drum set live, along with the tracks, too, and the most open-minded of his fans will find a link between his two projects in aggression and low-end rhythm. In fact, I first heard Mixhell spin at a 2008 SXSW showcase between live sets by Napalm Death and Motorhead, and nobody in the black-leathered crowd seemed particularly offended.