Review Summary: Excellent and solid Soulfly album that features a lot of experimentation and is a turningpoint for the band. A great album that tends to be a bit underrated by Soulfly fans.
Prophecy is a standout in the Soufly catalogue and in my humble opinion far and away the best Soulfly album to date. On the writing for this album Max leave's behind much of the one fingered mid-paced groove/bounce guitar riffs that plagued Roots and Soulfly's first 3 albums and dishes out some real metal. Those hoping for the second coming of Arise will be rather let down, however those who will write this album off as more tribal nu-metal ala Roots and the first 3 Soulfly albums may be very surprised. To compare this to anything Max has previously done; it probably sounds the closest to Chaos AD, however this is 2004 not 1993 so the vibe is much different, Max still sounds passionate and pissed off but just in a different way.
Max is a very religious man and Prophecy is an expression of his faith as you can tell by the album title and some song titles, a lot of metal fans may be turned off by this but it for this reason that Prophecy is such a good album. It's not Max kicking and screaming about war and the injustices to 3rd world countries like he has on Dark Ages, Chaos AD, the Nailbomb record, Roots and just about every other record he has written, its not Max talking about death and insanity like on the early Sep albums, its Max talking about something different thats just as important to him and it works, it makes the delivery of the music sound far more inspired than it has on previous albums.
Prophecy opens with the title track and it is pretty standard fare for Soulfly, a repetitive bouncy riff with simple but catchy vocal lines and a chorus that people will be jumping to and screaming along to in the pit, ex-Megadeth bassist performs on this song but its hardly a notable performance. The last 30 seconds or so of this song is a surprise, it finishes with a speedy thrash riff with Max chanting "New millenium tribal War", the album only goes up from here. Living Sacrifice, Execution Style and Defeat U are all catchy songs that sport infectious choruses but are different from previous Soulfly material in that they are very thrash-based, while they may not be as fast or as heavy as early Sepultura they are stylistically similar and I get very Arise-era vibe from them.
Mars is a monster of a song, featuring a very heavy bouncy groove throughout the verse and a slow stomp in the chorus with some very chant-able vocal lines, its at about the halfway point of this song that Max's love for world-music comes into play when the song breaks into a slow dub rhythm with a sweet melody and some very nice Flamenco guitar work dne by Marc Rizzo.
Mars marks the point where the album turns from raging groove thrash metal to more experimental metal. I Believe is one of the said songs that heavily express Max's religious beliefs and is probably one of his most personal songs to date. The song features a heavy stomp throughout as it weaves in and out of these beautiful atmospheric sections with Max experimenting with some spoken word lines. Moses is one of the most experimental songs Max has penned, it opens with a reggae/dub rhythm and some horns playing, it features a guest performance by a vocalist from a portugese reggae band who sings a large portion of this song. Experimentalism aside it is still a good song if you can accept how different it is. Born Again Anarchist brings back some straight metal with some a very fast hardcore punk flavour, this is the only song on the album i consider to be 'filler', that is until halfway through when the band have an experimental jam. Porrada opens with an acoustic latin jazz jam with some beautiful flamenco playing again by Rizzo, this last for about minute and a half before it errupts into a furious thrash punk song. In The Meantime is a fairly decent cover of the Helmet classic, yep. Soulfly IV follows in the tradition of its predecessors with a laid back acoustic jam, these just keep getting better.
Wings is a song I could have done without, its basically an RnB song featuring an African diva who has a great voice, but this song is just incredibly uneccesary, but the fact that its the last song does not hurt the album too much.
Despite this albums many departures into experimental world territory it serves as a very consistent and solid metal release. This stands as Max's heaviest, most experimental and most mature Soulfly release to date and has many many surprisingly great moments. While Soulfly did venture into more extreme thrash styles on Dark Ages and especially Conquer, Prophecy still stands as Soulfly's all round best album to date.