Talking of Soulfly means talking of Max Cavalera, and talking of Max cavalera means talking about one of the living legends of groove metal, if not one of the actual fathers of this genre. At the same time, whenever we come across to a new album from one of his bands, we already know what to expect. But if we take into account that it’s now more than twenty years that Max Cavalera initiated his second life as bandleader, I mean after his departure from Sepultura, the fact that we can so precisely predict what’s inside every new LP is at the same time the sign of an appreciable stylistic coherence but also the evidence that Max Cavalera has chosen to remain in the comfort zone and play the same kind of music that has brough him success and celebrity. Having said this, the fact remains that Max Cavalera’s recent productions are still good and exciting. Both his 2017’s release Psychosis, with Cavalera Conspiracy, and this brand new LP Ritual, with Soulfly, are objectively two solid albums.
Ritual is the eleventh record in the long history of Soulfly and it’s quite easy to say is that the new LP is certainly more compact and exciting than the previous Archangel, which in my opinion remains one of the less convincing episodes in the band’s discography. Ritual, in fact, not only has all the ingredients of the winning recipe that Max Cavalera has tailored and perfected through the years, but it also presents a level of energy and an immediacythat we didn’t hear since many years and that resemble, to some extent, the early works of the band. And in fact, alongside the heavy and groovy riffs, the screams and the tribal inserts that have now become the signature of Cavalera’s music, we appreciate nice inserts from hardcore and also the choice of the push forward the average speed of many of the songs.
As I already said, however, when comparing the various albums released by the band we’re spekaing of details, nuances, of a musical style that is substantially stable and predictable. Consequently, if on one hand the music in Ritual is certainly powerful and enjoyable to listen to, on the other hand it’s absolutely missing the surprise effect, or something that could really leaves a mark, as it happened a few decades ago when Cavalera was composing the music of Arise, Roots or, if we want to remain in the new Century, when Max Cavalera, together with his brother Igor, released in 2008 the album Inflikted.
Based on the above, I was completely unprepared at the improvised explosive device that was hidden by the band inside the ninth track of the album. Afther eight relatively standard groovy songs, which are substantially similar for style and scheme, you encounter the incredible track named Feedback!, which contains three minutes of tight, sharp and pure hardcore punk. At that point in the album, the song leaves you literally breathless. It’s an unexpected blow in the face, just when you were thinking that most of the energy of the album was already exhausted. And ironically, just as the song finishes, you start hearing a saxophone playing over a smooth jazz guitar arpeggio. Is it really something coming from the album or rather your mind that tries to recover from the explosion?
“Feedback, feedback, Um, dois, três, quatro, Not a fucking regret!”(from “Feedback!”)
Well, if only Soulfly would consider to start from this song to redesign their future sound, then we would talk of a new miracle from Max Cavalera and his fellows musicians!
Ritual can be streamed from Spotify.
Standout tracks: Evil Empowered, the opening song and title-track Ritual, The Summoning, and of course the already mentioned Feedback!
Soulfly couldn’t miss from the playlist GROOVE METAL FEAST, an anthology of the best of new Groove Metal, Thrash and Crossover. Listen to it, follow it and spread the word!