Friday, 11 October 2013

Review; Soulfly - Savages

Track Listing:

1. Bloodshed
2. Cannibal Holocaust
3. Fallen
4. Ayatollah Of Rock 'N' Rolla
5. Master Of Savagery
6. Spiral
7. This Is Violence
8. K.C.S.
9. El Comegente
10. Soulfliktion

Soulfly is no longer 'The band that Max Cavalera started after he left Sepultura'. Just wanted to clear that up right away. A band nine studio albums in and as consistently great as Soulfly deserve the same respect as any metal band of this age, if not more. This record marks the first Soulfly effort with Max's son Zyon Cavalera on full-time drumming duties, and it's a role he steps up to admirably. When it comes to the material itself, we know what is to be expected to a point; which is groove driven thrash/death metal with some South American tinges and tints here and there. This is delivered by the truckload, and there is also room for a few well-executed melodic guitar leads, those found in the sixth song 'Spiral' are personal favourites.

The vocal talents of Max Cavalera had never really waned over his career, but last year's 'Enslaved' saw him really dive back into more old-school death metal territory. On 'Savages' there are generous helpings of both death and thrash metal sensibilities. It's relieving to hear that he is still on good form. The venom is still there, and the conviction seethes from each song. While the riffs are never really the focal point on a Soulfly album, rather the band's whole sound seems to blend and storm together like an aural whirlwind, there are some very catchy riffs that would easily send a baying crowd into a trance of headbanging and stomping.

There are a few guest vocalists on this record, which is almost a given on a Soulfly album by this point! Most notably, Neil Fallon of Clutch delivers well on 'Ayatollah Of Rock 'N' Rolla' having written some of the lyrics himself, then later in the album, usual-guitarist Mitch Harris of Napalm Death fame belts out some rasping cries on 'K.C.S.', a song that also has some of the most infectious jungle beats I've heard on a Soulfly record.

Terry Date, who did the production for previous albums '3', 'Prophecy' and 'Dark Ages' as well as historic albums such as Pantera's 'Cowboys From Hell' and Deftones' 'Around The Fur', puts the band's sound across in a perfect fashion, and the impact of the percussion is massive throughout the fifty eight minute running time. It's clearly benefitted the band to go back to a tried-and-tested producer, and I personally wouldn't be disappointed if Date took on the next record too.

There's a great breakaway into tribal territory during penultimate track 'El Comegente', a track which also has some asshole-ripping death metal vocals as well as Max's trademark bark. It acts almost as an interlude before the album closer 'Soulfliktion' comes out swinging, with the main man delivering a brilliant chant-ready chorus in what is perhaps the album's best song altogether. Save the best for last and all that, eh?

Soulfly may not demand the same attention from the metal community and press that Sepultura did in the 90's, they may not be an all-conquering band, but if you choose to listen to this album, you may come to care less about all that and simply enjoy Soulfly for what it is; a great metal band featuring one of modern metal's most hardened road-dogs.


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