Review Summary: Arguably the strongest work from this band, setting the metal scene alight with some brutal vocal work and fantastic vocals that attacks the senses with no remorse
Following a string of five albums that ranged from mediocre (2002's 3) to atrocious (Omen, released eight years later), Brazilian metal band appear to truly be back on track and fired up. Their 2012 effort, Enslaved, was a startlingly ferocious tribute and tale of the gladiator period of history, built on the back of a strong and vicious set of riffs and a visceral vocal performance from Max Cavalera, forever destined to be remembered as former front-man of thrash legends Sepultura. Less than a year on, and the band have once again stepped their game up with an album aptly titled Savages, released in October 2013.
Simply put, Soulfly's 2013 outing does exactly what the title suggests. This is not a band interested in incorporating experimental elements, but instead they are content to be the very formidable force in loud and violent music that they have evolved into over the last two years. One would expect a rushed and uninteresting album coming so soon on the heels of a release as well received as Enslaved, but instead the band has done completely the opposite and one-upped themselves. Entering the bloody and aggressive musical fray is Max's own son, Zyon, and with the line-up they have here, the band prove almost unstoppable at what they do.
Savages hits the listeners square in the jaw from the word "Go", and is an album that refuses to release you from its choke-hold until long after it has actually finished. Elements of thrash metal, death metal, their groove-metal past and nu-metal are all at work here, slotting together and working in cohesion to provide a blistering experience. The guitar work is phenomenal, constructing an impregnable barrier of sound that shakes you to the core, whilst the drumming is as varied and forceful as could be asked for. Max's guttural roar is as deluded and fear-inducing as always, whilst the low-end rumbling of the bass maintains enough of a presence in the mix to add another dimension to the band's sound.
The air raid siren that opens up brutal seven minute track Bloodshed leads into a eerie sounding but crushing guitar line that kick-starts the album in a bizarre but somewhat fitting fashion. This is not a speed-based album, but instead would rather beat the listener into the ground with instrumentation so hot it must have been created in the bowels of Satan himself. The lead work is very nicely integrated here, as the opening track shows very well, whilst Spiral shows how well thought out the rhythm assaults on this album are, whilst this track even includes a little techno influence. Soulfliktion is a faster paced track that revels in all its groovy glory, surely rattling the head off of even Megadeth's steel-capped mascot in a frenzy of vicious musical work.
Soulfly succeeded massively on their 2013 outing, firing on all cylinders with an album that continues the year's trend of producing magnificent metal releases. Savages is arguably their strongest work to date, putting many of its contempories to the sword in a whirlwind of hazardously powerful riffs, great guitar solos and blood-curdling vocal work.