Soulfly – Enslaved

Soulfly

Enslaved

01. Resistance
02. World Scum
03. Intervention
04. Gladiator
05. Legions
06. American Steel
07. Redemption Of Man By God
08. Treachery
09. Plata o Plomo
10. Chains
11. Revengeance

[03/13/12]
[Roadrunner]

I gotta admit, I’m a pretty big fan of the legendary Max Cavalera. Yes, his music is simple, and his lyrics are borderline idiotic, but hey, sometimes simple is good. Soulfly, also known as the Max Cavalera and Marc Rizzo band (since they are the only constant members) have gone through a lot of changes. They used to be tribal groove metal, and as Max got tired with doing that and wanted to go back to his Sepultura roots (haha), they turned into more of a thrashy, hardcore groove band. A lot of that also comes from Marc Rizzo’s influence, and if you listen to his (awesome) solo work, it’s obvious that he is as influential as Max himself on Soulfly. Dark Ages and Conquer were just excellent, but I was disappointed with Omen. It was just lacking the raw yet catchy element that the previous two albums had. Now, the new album Enslaved brings yet another lineup change. Borknagar drummer David Kinkade and Static-X bassist Tony Campos have joined the fray, and all the signs pointed to an even heavier album than before. But do they deliver on the promise?

Well, it’s definitely heavier than everything but Dark Ages. While this album has a lot of double bass and even blast beats, it doesn’t come close to the smashing ‘Frontlines’. But as a whole, this is clearly their heaviest album, and due to Max and Marc’s trademark sound, it still sounds like Soulfly. If anything, they deserve credit for constantly reinventing themselves for the better. The production is much better than ever, and Marc Rizzo is quite a bit more innovative with his playing than usual. Max’s lyrics, unfortunately, are still not above fifth-grade level. Actually, scratch that; I like them as they are. Max’s choppy delivery works well with the riffing, and the guest vocalists Dez Fafara of Devildriver, Adam Warren of Oceano and Travis Ryan of Cattle Decapitation add just the right amount of diversity. The songs are somewhere between Soulfly turned to 11 and Sepultura, which is exactly what Soulfly needed after so many albums.

Clearly, David Kinkade is to be commended for a lot of this. His drumming is what takes the songs to the next level. While he doesn’t have the enthusiastic energy of previous drummer Roy Mayorga (my favorite Soulfly drummer), he makes it up with mechanical speed and precision. Actually, that kind of applies to the entire album. There is less enthusiasm and more downright anger. This album is more oldschool Sepultura than any other iteration of Sepultur-alikes (older Soulfly, newer Sepultura, Cavalera Conspiracy). While this is clearly what everyone wants, I’m a bit disappointed because this isn’t as Soulfly as, well, Soulfly. There isn’t even a track titled ‘Soulfly VIII’, and every previous Soulfly album had that. I personally liked hearing Marc Rizzo wank over tribal instrumentals, but I guess he has his solo albums for that. Another casualty of the less-Soulfly sound is the memorability of songs. The songs on this album are less chantable and memorable than those of previous Soulfly records. There’s still some taste of the tribal medicine, but not as much as before. Again, this is a question of preference: Do you want Soulfly to be Sepultura, or Soulfly?

Either way, this is a pretty decent album. It’s definitely better than Omen, and while it doesn’t beat Conquer or Dark Ages in terms of pure quality, it’s still pretty good. It’s also their heaviest overall album, and a return to Max’s Sepultura roots. I’m thinking this album will be divisive — not as good or bad, but as the general direction. Either way, it’s solid, with good production, and it’s more or less what would expect from Soulfly. If you like Max Cavalera’s work, this album is definitely worth your while.

Soulfly – Enslaved gets…

3.5/5

– NT

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