Review : SOULFLY – ‘Enslaved’

Release: 2012Mar13
Label: Roadrunner
Rating: 8/10

Who among you deny Max Cavalera‽  Fucking ingrates.  Not only is the man largely responsible for broadening the horizons of death metal in the ’90s, but I bet many people—like me, for example—received their introduction to the genre via Sepultura. Starting with the watershed Chaos A.D., I worked my way backwards, and before I knew it, I was digging Beneath the Remains and trying to understand Schizophrenia.

I really can’t escape Soulfly. Once you have a band on your license plate, there is some unexplainable, inextricable link that you just need to simply own. Ps&btw, it remained on my car through most of the band’s rough years, critically speaking: 2000-2004. But like I’ve mentioned beforeSoulfly has strove to maintain heaviness. They’ve worked the thrash hard over the past few albums, but now the death metal is finally creeping back, too.

As always, Mark Rizzo provides a perfect, classy counterpoint to Max’s unbridled gnashings.  And the band, as a whole, definitely has lots of fun throughout; check out “Treachery” with its sweet instrumental midsection, or the visceral gang shouts of “Intervention”. New drummer David Kinkade has less of a tribal backbone, but coming off the heels of Borknagar, the dude is no slouch; plus, virtually zero nu metal to be found. He brings speed, above all else—and in fact, this may be the first Soulfly album with genuine blast beats.

Guest vocals are again well-chosen this time around. Cattle Decapitation‘s Travis Ryan rends layers of dynamics to better enrich your ears on “World Scum” (frontrunner for heaviest Soulfly song to date) and DevilDriver‘s Dez Fafara allies effectively in “Redemption of Man by God”. New bassist Tony Kampos (MinistryProng, Static-XAsesino)  channels a slight industrial charge (Nailfly?) and commands center stage on the exemplary “Plata O Plomo”. Listen for  Rizzo doing about seven awesome riffs in that song, too. Holy fucking flamenco.

Max can still be so hard to digest, lyrically. For example, the laundry list of “-tion” words in a row has really been overdone. But if you focus on the strength behind the arrangements, their palpable power engulfs every time. It’s great to see Soulfly mutate once more—Max Cavalera has spent half of his 28 professional musical years nurturing this brainchild, after all. You must respect the dogged desire of this brazen Brazilian, who barely goes a year without releasing something new. For better or for worse, that is truly admirable artistry.

FCC: 11
Try: 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9

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

Digital-only bonus tracks:
12. Slave
13. Bastard
14. Soulfly VIII



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