September 28, 2022

Soulfly – Totem Review – Your Online Magazine for Hard Rock and Heavy Metal

Released By: Nuclear Blast Records

Release date: August 5, 2022

Genre: Extreme Metal


Line up:

Max Cavalera | Vocals & Guitar
Zyon Cavalera | Drums
Mike Leon | Bass guitar

List of tracks:

Scouring the vile
Dirt on dirt
Rot in pain
The damage caused
The ancestors
golden ecstasy
Soulfly XII
spiritual animation

Soulfly turned out to be more than Max Cavalera’s post-Sepultura numetal project. Cavalera brings his love of the underground to Soulfly’s penchant for regular Brazilian tunes and high-tension Heavy Metal. Heavier and meaner than ever, Soulfly continues to push forward with their 12th album Totem. Along with his son Zion and bassist Mike Leon, Max imbues Soulfly’s contemporary album with the catchy beats and hard-hitting brutality that make the band’s modern touches so easy to listen to. While no longer exactly groundbreaking, Totem’s showcases what he loves about metal as well as his home culture.

The opening with “Superstition” demonstrates that Max is not too old for Rock. The haunting and resonant percussive intro stays in keeping with their style, however, the meat of the song is a deadly onslaught of hard, roaring rhythm. Sepultura’s wild base shines as bright as Soulfly. “Scouring the Vile” lights all the right torches, everything from the intro guitar solo and battle-hardened chugs to the explosive jackhammer rhythms retains real verve.

Incidentally, Soulfly handles the three to four transition on “Filth Upon Filth” so naturally due to the fact that these riffs are multi-faceted in their difficult groove/thrash edge. Zion using a cymbal trip connects this track to “Ecstasy of Gold,” which evokes those basic Killer mid-tempo breakdowns and Cavalera Proto-metalcore stomps before the tremolo riffs take over. It’s handy to think of Max taking part in the song’s final war riff and saying, as he often does, “that’s killer,” and it is! This heavy, imaginative and prescient song channels that primal intuition to shake heads and spin in circles to aggressive music.

Speaking of primal instinct, a lot of that vibe here comes from Max showing his son the innovative way that led to classics like “Chaos.” Despite this, deeper cuts like “Rot in Pain” control to do more than rehash 90s Sepultura fabric. The song’s intro sounds like old-school death metal, however, delivers a full riff straight out of Roots. Most of the melody casts a wider net, covering the excessive and contagious ends of the spectrum. Therein lies the key to Max’s genius. He’s good at death-metal and nu-metal, so why not do both on the same track?

Beyond his previous work with Conspiracy, Cavalera delivered a top-notch album full of pristine Hardcore Metal to Dirty Death-Metal. This would explain why a track like “Ancestors” achieves attraction beyond its mid-tempo beats. Soulfly knows when to push and pull his punches to have the most impact, but that influence is something to consider nonetheless.

Written by: shadow editor

Rating 8/10

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