Album Review: Soulfly - Ritual

15 October 2018 | 2:14 pm | Brendan Crabb

"Collaborations are a Soulfly fixture and 'Ritual' offers some of their better ones of late."

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Across his various projects, Max Cavalera possesses a studio work ethic that’s as old school as it is arduous, crafting albums with ruthless efficiency. Twenty years on from their debut, metallers Soulfly are remarkably now 11 full-lengths deep.

The main man has typically kept an ear to the ground of today's scene - having son Zyon behind the kit likely helps - while also paying homage to the fare that initially inspired him (note the hardcore influences of Feedback!). These sensibilities are apparent againsingle Evil Empowered could have slotted on to previous LP Archangel. However, moments also recall the band's early days. The opening title track infuses the tribal chants and exotic touches as well as the hefty grooves, that were hallmarks of said releases, but subsequently retains a sonic and stylistic connection to latter-day efforts.

Collaborations are a Soulfly fixture, and Ritual offers some of their better ones of late. Cavalera's bark neatly complements Randy Blythe's (Lamb Of God) harsh tones on thrashed-up Dead Behind The Eyes, and Immolation's Ross Dolan lends guttural growls to death metal bruiser Under Rapture. Closer Soulfly XI feels tokenistic though; the latest in this instrumental series often relegated to bonus track status on recent albums. Kudos again to longtime axeman Marc Rizzo's distinctive lead playing style, adding additional class to the whole affair.

Even as he approaches 50 years of age, Cavalera continues to make a mockery of any suggestion that he should slow down and adopt a more accessible approach.