After the initial disappointment of the first SOULFLY record, I was interested to hear if Max Cavalera would take the band in a new direction. A direction that didn’t feel quite so experimental and unfocused. So when “Primitive” arrived in stores I reluctantly picked it up. And although the band has made progress with the sophomore effort, there is not enough change in the album to fix all the flaws of the previous.
For starters, “Primitive” feels like “Soulfly” part 2. Normally, having a solid sound and style is something a band does want to carry on but since the first album was so disappointing it just means that the disappointment carried over to this album. It follows in the Nu Metal style that was established on the first album but (thankfully) “Primitive” does feel a lot more focused and less experimental. There is a better flow to this album than the first in the use of tribal elements in the mix of the Nu Metal. And it seems as though the song writing a tad stronger on this album too.
Now comes the magnificent but… this album still lacks a lot of overall feeling and energy that makes a great Metal album. It still only feels like a side project and not an actual band. It doesn’t help that already two of the original members from the first album are gone (leaving only Max and bass player, Marcelo Dias) but that there are so many guest performances on the album they might as well have called it, “Soulfly II: Max Cavalera And Friends”. Some of the guests are good choices and others are not. The rap montage on the track “In Memory Of…” is something that should never grace the likes of a Metal album but some guests (like Corey Taylor of SLIPKNOT on “Jumpdafuckup”) adds a new element to the band.
Although it has a slightly better focus and songwriting, “Primitive” still falls short from being a good album. Hindered by a feeling of being too incohesive, SOULFLY still has a long way to go before creating that same feeling Max was able to conjure earlier on.
Songs to check out: “Back To The Primitive”, “Pain”, “Terrorist”.
(Online August 29, 2008)