It seems Massimiliano Cavalera has got his teeth into all manner of stuff lately, be it with the Cavalera Conspiracy, trying to get the original Sepultura back together, jamming with the likes of Troy Sanders and Greg Puciato, and contributing guest vocals to other bands such as Man Must Die. It seems he must have been consuming a lot of cannibal horror films a lately as Soulfly’s new album ‘Savages’ is full of butcherous lyrics and macabre themes, and indeed marks a further shift away from the thrashier approach of ‘Dark Ages’ and ‘Omen’, and more into the groove metal they originally became known for. Don’t balk at that though – for the most part ‘Savages’ has more than enough in the band’s collective experience to keep it as what we understand Soulfly to be, having developed more into a crushing unit in recent years.
The first thing to note before delving into the remainder of the review, its worth noting this is the first Soulfly album to feature Max’s son Zyon Cavalera, helming the drummer’s throne and doing so with aplomb, pushing and pulling through every groove even without as much technicality as his uncle Igor – for which there’s plenty of time to develop yet. Back on track, ‘Savages’ is not without a smattering of guests, the finest of which is Neil Fallon, appearing on the track ‘Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla’, a welcome diversion from the cannibalistic theme with Fallon delivering spoken like a prophet over a super groove, and appropriately hollering during the faster section between Cavalera Snr’s trademark gruffness. There are times when the nu sees the metal a bit too much, case in point: This is Violence, which contains some sliding effect that harks back to the stale days of nu-metal’s fall from popularity; Mitch Harris’ cameo on ‘K.C.S.’ doesn’t really prove to be much of a thriller either, considering how awesome a prospect a Cavalera/Napalm Death meeting of minds was. Still, for the most part, Soulfly get it spot on, not spectacularly but efficiently so, be it the thrashier ‘Cannibal Holocaust’, or with satisfying succulent grooves on ‘El Comegente’, its gang vocal chorus appropriately describing its subject matter, Dorangel Vargas, aka ‘El Comegente’ – the Venezuelan ‘people-eater’.
Like most veteran bands these days, if you don’t know what to expect from Soulfly by now, where have you been? And for those that do, don’t expect miracles – but a good solid all round Soulfly album which proves groove metal can still be done well in this era.
Soulfly – Ayatollah of Rock ‘N’ Rolla (feat. Neil Fallon)