Soulfly is the popular extreme metal outfit fronted by former Sepultura lead singer Max Cavalera. Since forming in 1997 the band have released eight studio albums which have earned widespread acclaim and which have been notable for a high volume of guest appearances from artists involved in largely disparate forms of metal. The group are about to follow last year’s uncompromisingly dark Enslaved album with new record Savages.
The new album starts in the best possible way with ‘Bloodshed’, a characteristically aggressive track with a real groove to it. Cavalera’s uniquely powerful voice shines throughout (aided by backing work from son Igor Cavalera Jr.) while his guitar work, along with that of longtime Soulfly and Cavalera Conspiracy comrade Marc Rizzo, creates a thunderously heavy main riff so addictive you’ll be humming it within a couple of listens. New drummer Zyon Cavalera (Max’s son) and bassist Tony Compos complete an enticing sound with a rhythm that is simply irresistible.
‘Cannibal Holocaust’ is a fun fast-paced thrash number with some brilliant guitar solos and fantastically furious drum work, while ‘Fallen’, featuring I Declare War lead singer Jamie Hanks, is a more methodical track with elements of ‘World Scum’ from Enslaved, though not as dark by any means. ‘Ayatollah of Rock ‘N’ Rolla’ is notable for an epic clash of vocal styles between Cavalera and Clutch front-man Neil Fallon. Distinctive in its rhythmic heaviness, this track is one of the most fun to listen to on the album.
‘Master of Savagery’ is an intriguing number that is at times reminiscent of Fear Factory. The song is three and a half minutes of brutality before a solid bass break ushers in a breakdown, followed by an eerie finale in which Zyon Cavalera displays his drumming finesse. ‘Spiral’ recalls some of the darkness of the previous album, as well as much of the chaotic fun of the early releases. Really two songs in one due to a dramatic shift half-way through, this is nevertheless definitely a track that you can jump the fuck up to.
‘This is Violence’ is an adamantly vicious number with elements of modern Metallica about it (Death Magnetic not St. Anger, relax). The chorus refrain is strikingly similar to ‘All Guns Blazing’ by Judas Priest, and the guitar work is coarse yet soaring. ‘KCS’ is a lot of fun, essentially Max and guest vocalist Mitch Harris from Napalm Death engaging in a screaming match with each other. Once again, Zyon Cavalera’s drumming is tremendous.
‘El Comegente’ is a beast of a track at just over eight minutes in length. Sung entirely in Portuguese by both Max and bassist Tony Campos, this is a track in two parts. A crushingly brutal first half, and a scintillatingly ambient second half in which acoustic guitar work dominates, this is a true stand out. The album then closes with ‘Soulfliktion’, a suitably heavy and frenetic finale with rhythmic echoes of the opening song.
There are few acts as uniquely heavy in metal as Soulfly. A lot of this has to do with Max Cavalera’s unparalleled aggression and vocal style, but what makes this particular album truly work is a tremendous understanding between each of the four musicians involved. Everything is driven towards giving the listener something truly, well, savage. But there is beauty in this fiery brutality, an epic grandiosity that is unlike anything else out there. This album is a must have.
Savages is released through Nuclear Blast Entertainment on September 30th in North America and the UK, and October 4th 2013 in Europe.
Max Cavalera – Lead vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Marc Rizzo – Lead Guitar
Tony Campos- Bass
Zyon Cavalera – Drums, Percussion
Official Soulfly Website
Soulfly Facebook Page