Max Cavalera is a busy man, given his work with Killer Be Killed, Cavalera Conspiracy and Soulfly. While his vocals are always distinguishable, all three bands have a different sound and vibe. Soulfly have always retained an almost tribal, stripped-down, and groove-oriented feel, but they’ve ventured into different territory, especially on their last two releases, Enslaved and Savages. Well, brace yourself for Archangel, their tenth release, which takes them in a totally different direction.
“We Sold Our Souls to Metal” is probably the most traditional sounding Soulfly song here. It’s brutal and thrashy, yet melodic and catchy. The title track takes a different direction with its Middle Eastern vibe and flair. It’s angry and pummeling. The guitar solos that Marc Rizzo and Cavalera trade off are absolutely killer. “Sodomites,” featuring a guest appearance from Nails vocalist Todd Jones, hearkens back to a different era with an old-school Sepultura feel. And again, it’s just fucking heavy, and Cavalera’s vocals have never sounded better. “Ishtar Rising” brings back a familiar Soulfly groove laced with heavy, razor-sharp riffs and brutal vocals. “Live Life Hard!,” featuring Matt Young of King Parrot on guest vocals, is straightforward, but it still retains the crushing heaviness heard throughout the album. Cavalera’s deep guttural vocals actually balance really well with Young’s high-pitched shrieks. “Shamash” brings back that Middle Eastern tone and biblical lyrics. It’s textured and layered with melody in areas, then switches gears to an adrenaline-charged, groove-stomping verse. “Bethlehem’s Blood” follows a similar suit and features horns to really pummel you with that biblical flair. “Mother of Dragons,” featuring Cavalera’s sons Richie and Igor on guest vocals, moves between a heavy-as-hell section to an almost Slayer-like tempo in another section.
Soulfly have proven, once again, that they are a force to be reckoned with. Archangel is definitely their most diverse yet consistent album to date. It is also my current favorite Soulfly album.
Archangel is out August 14 on Nuclear Blast Records. Pre-order it here!
SkullsNBones Rating (Out Of 5):