Review by Steve Jenkins
I've been following Soulfly since their very first release back in 1998, and during that time they've released some really good albums and some that were a bit of a miss. But one thing is certain, when there's a release with Max Cavalera's name attached to it, you can be sure that it's always worth checking out. Now that Soulfly has been around for 20 years, they're at that stage now where they are a staple in the metal world. Eleven albums into their career, we might just have one of the best Soulfly albums yet, from the very first track "Ritual" to the final track "Soulfly XI", it's definitely up there and a worthy AOTY contender.
When Max Cavalera releases an album from one of his many different metal projects, it's usually a very similar formula that we tend to hear. Heavy, brutal, tribal, you know by now what to expect. But when I first heard the title track from this new album, I was taken back a little. With it's incredible percussion, tribal chants, thick and nasty riffs, it's completely and utterly infectious. This is the kind of Soulfly song that makes you want to "Jumpdafuckup", yeah I went there. The rest of the album continues to deliver, and it's also quite a diverse offering when you take the time to listen to the entirety of it. Clocking in at just over 40 minutes, it's almost the perfect length and there's no moments where you feel bored and wanting to skip a song.
Standout track "Dead Behind Eyes" which features Lamb Of God vocalist Randy Blythe is full of groove and some seriously good shredding accompanied by a couple of trademark Rizzo solos. "Demonized" is an interesting one, beginning with an acoustic guitar that sounds an awful lot like the classic Slayer track "Raining Blood" before bursting open with a gigantic riff that sounds like something Code Orange would flatten you with. Another highlight is the Motorhead influenced track "Feedback!" which you might think wouldn't work that well considering the traditional Soulfly sound mixed in with it, but it's actually quite cool. If you're after the heaviest sounding song on the album look no further than "Under Rapture" which features Ross Dolan of Immolation, with blast beats galore, fast riffs, and of course demonic vocals, it's bone-crushing stuff.
This album feels like Cavalera Conspiracy on steroids, it's all very familair but there's a certain aggression and heaviness that takes it to the next level. It's also really cool that Max's son, Zyon Cavalera, is behind the drum kit on this album, and man he can definitely smash those drums hard! I had a lot of fun listening to this Soulfly album, and I usually always love everything Max is a part of and I really think he's at a place in his career where he's releasing some of his best work to date. With a solid release last year with Cavalera Conspiracy, this Soulfly album, and Killer Be Killed currently in the works, there's no stopping the Brazilian master of metal it seems. Soulfly are back in big way, still maintaining their roots but taking modern metal influences and executing them in a devastating and memorable way. Ritual should be more than enough to get you back on board with this band.
8.5 out of 10
Ritual comes out October 19 via Nuclear Blast.