American / Brazilian metal mainstays Soulfly seem to be reconnecting with their heavy roots step-by-step with every album that passes. Dark Ages rediscovered frontman Max Cavalera’s love of American thrash, Conquer indulged in epic doom metal fantasies, and Omen had dalliances in modern hardcore. So with Enslaved, their eighth album in total, what we have is their heaviest record to date, one that owes a debt to death metal and grindcore while still being quintessentially Soulfly. That is what makes them so damned endearing; you want to hear what new landscape that Soulfly find themselves in with any new release.
With the garbled ramblings and pneumatic beats of “Resistance,” the album starts on a strong note. From there every track bleeds attitude and kicks like a heavy metal mule. Longtime guitarist Mark Rizzo has yet another star-making turn on “Plata o Plomo” (“Silver or Lead”), his rubbery leads meshing beautifully with flamenco guitars on this volatile Latino thrash-fest. As has also become customary there is a new line-up and a slew of guest appearances on board. New to the group are Borknagar drummer David Kinkade and ex-Static-X bass player Tony Campos. The vocalist cameos are also very telling of the album’s overall tone. DevilDriver frontman Dez Farfara is at his throat-shredding best on “Redemption of Man by God” and deathgrind figurehead Travis Ryan (Cattle Decapitation) out-heavies the already heavy “World Scum.” “Revengeance” also has some interesting personnel involved: namely Richie, Zyon, and Igor Cavalera, Jr. — Max’s three sons.
Ultimately Soulfly is all about the venerable Max Cavalera. At this point in his career he knows exactly what the people want from him and he delivers it in spades. Between the new Soulfly album that inevitably comes out every two years and Cavalera Conspiracy (Max’s band with his famous drummer brother, Igor) being an active band as well it would be very easy to get Cavalera Fatigue. But Max argues his case with his music, which is always held to a high standard. It sure helps that Enslaved is one of the heaviest albums he has been involved with since Sepultura’s late-’80s heyday. If you are in desperate need for a serious headbang, throw on Enslaved and do your stuff!
Stream: Soulfly – “World Scum”
Stream: Soulfly – “Plata o Plomo”