Possibly the best Soulfly since 98

Not a lot is left to be said about Max Cavalera, other than if you don’t know who he is by now, you need to hand you metal card back in at the desk and leave without a fuss.

The quality of material from Soulfly has dipped across the last few albums as other projects have spread the taken the front man’s thin, but a rediscovered love for older death metal and thrash saw a distinct upturn in events with the last album released with brother Igor(also ex-Sepultura) on their Cavalera Conspiracy album Psychosis. This album is a continuation of that rediscovered love for some of Max’s earliest musical influences.

Opening with ritualistic chanting setting a mood akin to the first couple of  albums ‘Ritual’ comes complete with pig squeal guitar licks and nonsense lyrical content, though it settles into a solid hardcore groove with the heaviest breakdown that the band has laid down for a while.

The thrash groove amps up a bit across ‘Dead Behind the Eyes’ and ‘The Summoning’ really showing the growth in particular of drummer, and Max’s son, Zyon Cavalera who has come along in leaps and bounds since his first record with the band, Savages. To be fair though, a lot of that album sounded like Max was slightly bored. ‘Dead Behind the Eyes’ features the considerable vocal talent of Randall Blythe, who sounds typically terrifying covering material that is an ode to the Hellraiser film series.

The opening of ‘Evil Empowered’ is yet another great pointer to how far Zyon Cavalera has come as a musician and it also allows guitarist Marc Rizzo some room to play a noodling riff underneath the battering percussion, allowing the thrash elements of the song to really come to the fore.

Ritual carries on through some fairly typical output for Soulfly on the second half, with the intro of ‘Demonized’ really letting Marc Rizzo stretch his fingers on acoustic guitar as one of the major standouts. The best is left till last as they stretch into Motorhead territory on ‘FeedBack!’, a refreshing change in tack and song writing for the band, and a direction that would be great to see explored more, because stacked up against the rest of Ritual this is the best thing here and the first half of the album is excellent.

Something has to be said of the great production job that Josh Wilbur has done, getting everything sounding upfront and clear, and also helping maintain a focus on cohesion, so much so that the come down instrumental ‘Soulfly XI’  sounds lush and just right. All things considered this is possibly the best album since the band first exploded in 98, and that can only mean good things right?

  1. Ritual
  2. Dead Behind the Eyes
  3. The Summoning
  4. Evil Empowered
  5. Under Rapture
  6. Demonized
  7. Blood on the Street
  8. Bite the Bullet
  9. Feedback!
  10. Soulfly XI