Soulfly – Savages

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Review by Mabh Savage

Label: Nuclear Blast

When I was just getting into the local metal scene, many moons ago, all the up and coming bands wanted to play a certain type of metal. You know the type: some widdly fast bits that let the guitarist show off his wrist action; some chuggy, slow bits for the crowd to stomp to; lyrics about dark or sick or political themes sung either in a guttural growl or an animalistic shriek; maybe some special effects, probably something industrial and subtle so as not to be accused of being ‘progressive’. Soulfly have been playing this type of metal since 1997, and while not necessarily being very original, boy, are they good at it! This album is no exception.

Max Cavalera really reminds us in this album that he used to be a driving force in Sepultura, in fact from the first track, Bloodshed, I have echoes of Roots bouncing around my head. Bloodshed is a bit of a family affair, with both Igor and Zyon Cavalera (Max’s sons) performing. Zyon is now officially the full time drummer for Soulfly.

Max’s intense and gutsy vocals are backed up not only by Igor Jr. but by guests Mitch Harris of Napalm Death (KCS), Jamie Hanks of I Declare War (Fallen) and Neil Fallon of the almighty Clutch, on my favourite track on the album, Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla. I love the stomping, irrepressible nature of this track, and although I didn’t twig at first, when I found out it was in collaboration with Fallon, I smiled to myself as there is definitely an element of Clutch-ness about this track.

Despite an almost brand new line up (excluding Max, the only original Soulfly member remaining), Savages still carries that Soulfly brand of unapologetic, in-your-face gravity inducing metal that doesn’t need to be complicated or try too hard to be something it’s not. I went back and had a little listen to the 1998 debut again, and in comparison, well, the songs themselves are not massively different. But Soulfly have clearly fine-tuned their methods; the stomping bits are stompier, the fret-wanking is less self-indulgent and more entertaining and Max’s vocals, helped by guests in this case, just go from strength to strength.

I like this album loads. I’m not gonna give it 5 stars, because it simply doesn’t wow me to the point of awe, but I am impressed, and this album has been on so much this week that it’s driving my boyfriend nuts. If you want a good, fun, stomping, hair thrashing, fist pumping album, with maybe a few thought provoking lyrics along the way, this is the album for you, and existing Soulfly fans will not be disappointed.

****/5

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