Review Summary: "ROOOOTS BLOO- I mean... Yeah, Soulfly!"
It’s business as usual in Camp Cavalera. Soulfly’s 10th album arrives just over a year after its predecessor, “Savages”; Max Cavalera has also formed a supergroup called ‘Killer Be Killed’ at the same time as releasing a new Cavalera Conspiracy album, “Pandemonium”. And of course after 18 years Max is still moaning that he thinks Sepultura suck- in his humble opinion. It appears that, recently, Max has his dreads tied up in knots with the amount of new music and extensive touring he is undertaking with Soulfly- but will he channel this pressure into heaviness as he once did on 2012’s “Enslaved”.
Max Cavalera’s presence is copiously spread across the album. His voice is as gravelly as ever- almost a reflective noise of what Lemmy would sound like if he took up death metal instead of rock. ‘Titan’ is just as titanic as the title suggests; undertaking a menacing death metal tone as hefty riffs grate over Max’s howling screams that lead to a truly hostile breakdown. ‘Ishtar Rising’ provides us with vocal hooks in the chorus that generate massive power despite the simplicity of the lyrics and the deathly growls in ‘We Sold Our Souls To Metal’ attempt to unite the masses. (We’ll just gloss over that Fred Durst collaboration shall we then, yeah")
His riffs in “Archangel” are also just as meaty as his voice. ‘Sodomites’ is an affronting and hoarse track where his leads trudge their way through sludgy soundscapes. The only complain about on guitar front with this album is down to Marc Rizzo. He’s trying so hard to display his technical abilities on this album, particularly the title track, ‘Shamash’ and ‘Live Life Hard’, that his constant hooks and licks become irritating at times. At times, they just sound like Ned Flanders having a mental breakdown. (“diddlydiddlydiddlydiddly”).
There are a number of different genre styles found in this album that sound like Soulfly are experimenting with their gruff and tribal-like sound. Soulfly have been built on a nu-metal foundation which is replicated with bass heavy grooves in ‘Shamash’. The thrash influence is just as potent as ever which is displayed in frantic and alarming tracks such as ‘Deceiver’. The first 50 seconds of ‘Mother Of Dragons’ are also frantically thrashy however the majority of the song is down to a basic breakdown that unfortunately ends the album on a sluggish note. The clearest attempt of experimentation is during ‘Bethlehem’s Blood’ though where trumpets, horns and acoustic passages crop up unexpectedly to create a majestic tone. The issue with this is that ‘Bethlehem’s Blood’ would be an even better track without these textured elements. Occasionally Soulfly need to realise that all they require to create a great song are unsympathetic vocals and a chunky riff; anything extra ends up compromising the elephantine weight of the song.
As Max recites in ‘We Sold Our Souls To Metal’: “metal runs through my veins”. This statement is very much true with “Archangel” however it might be time for him to chill out a bit before his numerous album releases and frequent touring affects the band on their next album.