Review Summary: Max Calavera finally realizes his potential and releases the most interesting album of his career.Soulfly - Prophecy
There have been many times in music where one band ends, yet the musicians in it carry on to make other succesful acts. We've seen it with The Yardbirds, Rage Against the Machine, Soundgarden, and Nirvana. Such is the case with Sepultura which was lead by Soulfly's guitarist and vocalist Max Calavera. After departing from what was Brazil's most famous metal band, he decided to continue making music with his next project, Soulfly. After releasing two previous albums with the band (Soulfly
) the band showed no signs of stopping, and then this album was put upon the world.
Soulfly was on this album:
Max Cavalera - Guitar and Vocals
Marc Rizzo - Guitar
Dave Ellefson - Bass
Joe Nunez - Drums
If you're familiar with Sepultura, you probably know that the band, while staying very heavy, stays true to their Brazilian roots with tribal drumming and chanting (especially on the album Roots
). Max's influences through his past band linger on into his modern works, and it's very easy to tell. There are plenty of tribal beats throughout the album's twelve tracks. The song "Soulfly IV" perfecly exemplifies this, being a six minute instrumental with lots of primitive instruments and tribal percussion. It's a very enjoyable song as long as you're open to hearing something different from a metal band.
Going back to Sepultura again, you'd notice that the difference in musicianship from these two bands has certainly improved. Max's riffs used to be extremely simplistic and occasionally could become boring because of the fact that technicality wasn't a high priority with the band. Soulfly has adopted, adapted, and improved for the better. The riffs, while still not extremely technical, are certainly harder than the riffs on Max's past works and there are also plenty of guitar solos that are rather impressive, especially on songs like "Execution Syle".
Soulfly is a band that blows you away with their sheer agression and crushing guitar riffs. While this is great, there is a slight downfall. That would be the fact that the bassist doesn't too much time to shine, and the drums aren't as great as they could be. Joe Nunez is a great drummer and it would be cool to hear some more technical stuff from him more often. There are however, exceptions to this, where you can hear some great bass lines on the song "Mars", which is one of the best songs on the album.
Max's vocals are also something that you either love or hate. The man never sings, but that's not the idea of the band. His vocal style is nothing more than a smorgasbord of angry shouts that fans of extreme music would seem to enjoy. Keep in mind though that the majority of people don't enjoy metal vocals as much as I do. I love his vocal style for what it is, and I think that keeping the the way it is is just fine for the band. Soulfly knows how to balance brutal and beautiful with their instruments just fine.
If you know me and my expectations for music, you'd know that I hate bands that confine themselves to one specific genre or style for an entire album. When this happens I begin to tire of the album and odds are that I will want to turn it off before all of the songs have been played. With this album Soulfly has made it so that I can listen to all of the songs and enjoy them all. While this is primarily a metal album, there are plenty of songs that include softer styles, which give the album somewhat of a progressive feel at times.
If there is one part of this album that truly drags Soulfly down, it's the lyrics. They're often so angry that they seem comical. Some examples of this could be when Max shouts:
-- "The execution of the world is set, The revolution you can't take it back, This frustration equals inspiration, The execution of your world is set" from "Execution Style"
-- "Gas masks and AK-47's, Now you won't see the gates of heaven, Blood fire destroying weather, To blow you away, blow you away forever
-- Born again anarchist, Downstroy the system within, Born again anarchist, Downstroy your bullshit
from "Born Again Anarchist"
Those are the three examples that truly annoyed me when I heard them. There are some lyrics that are enjoyable though, but they're not delivered by Max. It's on the song "Moses" which features Nemanoa Kojotovi on vocals. That song balances the two styles of reggae/rap and Soulfly's style of metal. It's a standout song that I enjoy listening to.
-- This is Soulfly's strongest album to date.
-- The band combines many different styles of music.
-- When there are guitar solos they are great.
-- Improved guitar riffs that are often enjoyable.
-- People might not like Max's vocal style.
-- The lyrics are often annoying.
-- The rhythm section is overshadowed at times.
-- The album might be too heavy for some listeners.
Final Rating: 3.5/5