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Album Reviews : Soulfly – Archangel

By on August 27, 2015

soulflyFresh from an absolute ‘killer’ run of world exclusive Australian shows with metal supergroup Killer Be Killed (also featuring The Dillinger Escape Plan’s Greg Puciato and Mastodon’s Troy Sanders), Max Cavalera has reconvened with Soulfly, his most celebrated post-Sepultura group, for their tenth studio effort, Archangel. For a band that has been known for their experimental, collaborative approach to metal in the past, this album is a no fuss, thirty six and a half minute assault of pulverizing riffs, slick transitions between frantic thrash and slower groove and Max Cavalera’s gravelly roars. Soulfly have kept it simple this time around, but does it pay off?

The opening track ‘We Sold Our Souls to Metal’ is such a furious thrasher that you would think it was an unreleased B-side from Max’s days with Sepultura (think Beneath the Remains and Arise). It is a love letter to heavy metal and showcases Soulfly at their most intense. The title track, ‘Archangel’ explores the band’s nu metal (bloody) roots, possessing a very Korn-esque feel in the riff (and if you listen closely, drummer Zyon Cavalera’s [Max’s son] tapping of the ride makes you wonder whether the riff for ‘Blind’ is on the way), but also transitions to a very uplifting melodic riff (courtesy of lead guitarist Marc Rizzo) that suggest an Iron Maiden influence somewhere there. ‘Live Life Hard!’ features silly ol’ mate Matt Young of King Parrot, who lends his ‘bozo’ squeals to the track; his collaboration proving how well received the mental Melbournian quintet are becoming worldwide. ‘Deceiver’ and ‘Mother of Dragons (if this song isn’t Daenerys Targaryen’s theme in the next series of Game of Thrones, I will be disappointed),’ the final two songs on the album, also hark back to Max’s Sepultura days; both fast thrash numbers that will make the listener determine whether Soulfly should be henceforth called Sepultura instead. Other highlights include the ‘jumpdaf***up’ worthy ‘Sodomites’ (featuring Todd Jones from ‘powerviolence’ [yes, that is a real genre!] outfit Nails) and ‘Titans,’ essential Soulfly that could fit on any of their albums.

One thing to say is that Soulfly really is turning into a family affair for Max Cavalera. His first son Zyon has played drums with the band since 2012, his second son Igor Cavalera Jr. has recently replaced Tony Campos (who has left to join Fear Factory) on bass (not drums sadly), and stepson Richie Cavalera sang guest vocals on Archangel closer ‘Mother of Dragons.’ The name Cavalera to metal is like the name Ramone to punk (though the Ramones weren’t related). We don’t have a band called ‘The Cavaleras’ yet, but if Soulfly and Cavalera Conspiracy are anything to go by, we don’t need one.

Overall, Archangel is perhaps Soulfly’s most straightforward album to date. Mostly gone are the experimental passages that sometimes made past Soulfly albums a bit tedious to listen to, and in its place are 10 flat out freakouts that will make any Soulfly fan happy. Max Cavalera’s return to a more direct approach, courtesy of his successful Killer Be Killed venture, certainly pays off!

About

Sam hails from Bathurst,a regional city 3 hours west of Sydney,Australia and home to the ultimate petrolhead monolith, Mt Panorama. Sam, however, is fuelled by his love of metal and became a fully fledged metal convert in his late teens through the teachings of Slayer, Korn, Tool, Faith No More and many others. Now on the other side of 20, Sam has almost completed a journalism degree and intends to move to Melbourne in the very near future.