Eight albums later, Soulfly release their ninth longplayer, 'Savages'. Introducing ex-Sepultura man Max Cavalera's son Zyon on drums, it may well be one of their heaviest albums yet.
As a way of background to the album, Cavalera has talked about the current state of the human condition; how we are supposed to be a sophisticated, intelligent society but still we find ourselves warmongering and living in a world of corruption. OK Max, the ideology is there but what about the music?
The album kicks off with 'Bloodshed' which also features Zyon's brother Igor. The track has a nice grindy texture to it with a faster, almost a hard rock-like chorus. Back to basics thrash follows with 'Cannibal Holocaust', whilst 'Fallen' features some nice rhythmic changes with Tony Campos' (ex-Static X) basslines adding to the heaviness of the track.
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But to avoid things getting boring, these are followed by the ridiculously titled 'Ayatollah Of Rock'n'Rolla'. At a whopping 7½ minutes long, it is a hard-driving, smouldering number, with guitarist Marc Rizzo providing snarling, vicious blasts of six string wizardry. The track also has Neil Fallon of Clutch on guest vocals/narration, and the man does not disappoint providing his usual dependable performance.
For those searching for any remnants of Brazilian indigenous music and world music in general from this album, 'Master Of Savagery' may bring some satisfaction with itsoutro of percussion work from Cavalera Junior, the track itself being pretty standard metal.
'Spiral' consists of two parts with grinding heavy guitars to start before changing pace just over halfway to an even heavier, groovy, swampy rock. Sadly, 'This Is Violence' does not really add anything to the proceedings and 'K.C.S.' only really raised my curiosity when I heard that Mitch Harris of Napalm Death was on guest vocals.
Harris' screaming vocal style in dialogue with Cavalera's growls seems to be the only selling point for this track as otherwise it really does not have much to offer.Cavalera sings the entire 'El Comegente' in Portuguese. The track starts as a bog standard blast of metal but transforms into a simple acoustic jam after five minutes. The final track 'Soulfliktion' is a fastheadbanger of a beast, an awesome album closer.
The album was produced by Terry Date, who earned his credentials from work with the likes of Pantera, Deftones and Soundgarden. 'Savages' sounds BIG. Staying true to the purer, straight-up metal sound they have had since 'Dark Ages', it is pleasing to hear that the band haven't completely abandoned beat samples and interesting rhythmic interludes.
Despite falling into slightly uninteresting territory in the middle of the album, this is a solid enough Soulfly album with some gems ('Bloodshed', 'Fallen', 'Soulfliktion'), and includes some standard thrash tunes with a groove which should keep the fans happy. Personally, I would have liked to hear Soulfly's Brazilian heritage mixed in more explicitly, but all in all, 'Savages' ain't no bad effort at all.
'Savages' is out now as a limited edition digpack CD, 2LP vinyl and digital download.
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