Even though SOULFLY had improved for their sophomore release, “Primitive”, I still wasn’t looking forward to their next album, simplistically entitled “3”. They hadn’t improved enough to show me that it was going to be worth the purchase. But after some solid enticing from a friend that “3” was worth it – I picked it up. Although, the Nu Metal sound still remains on this album, SOULFLY has improved even more with this release in many ways.
“3” starts off with a wicked bang. And the first 6 songs are perhaps the best of SOULFLY’s career. After a catchy opener that ends oddly in some tribal works, the band just seems to hit overdrive with a new focus and energy through to song six, the somewhat Thrashy “Brasil.”. And the band for the first time in their career actually sound like a band and not just some side project of various individuals. Maybe it’s because every member in the band has been on an album prior (original drummer Roy Mayorga returns for this release) and they are starting to play that way instead of just feeling like guest musicians.
But unfortunately, the surprise of the first half of this album quickly fades as the second half comes through. Starting with the odd composition of “Tree Of Pain” (which goes from an acoustic female sung intro to a Nu Metal section to a rap sections) the album quickly falls prey to the flaws of the previous releases. It becomes unfocused and the songwriting just becomes weaker. It ends with the following combination: tribal instrumental (“Soulfly III”), a Thrasher (“Sangue De Bairro”), and another tribal instrumental (“Zumbi”). It’s just a lackluster ending to an album that started so well.
So now we all know that the band is capable of being a driven aggressive Nu Metal force with the first half of the album. But the album is too split for it to feel like it deserves some of the attention of most of the Metal world. It’s good to hear the band progressing but now they just need to make sure that all the songs are solid in songwriting and focus and then we’ll see how the band sounds. It’s close but still not there.
Songs to check out: “Downstroy”, “Seek N Strike”, “One”.
(Online August 29, 2008)