The busiest man in Metal, Max Cavalera, is back once more with another SOULFLY record under the title “Enslaved." Although one would assume his massive workload between this and his other side project CAVALERA CONSPIRACY would eventually work its way into how effective he can write and play, SOULFLY’s eighth album continues to pummel with the Thrash spiced intensity that the band has been scratching since “Dark Ages." Not only is it one of the band’s best albums to date, it also experiments in some new and surprising ways.
Fans of the ever-controversial SOULFLY will find familiar territory covered on “Enslaved." Max’s barking vocals, a groove-influxed rhythm section, and Marc Rizzo’s wailing guitar leads and flashy solos all remain intact on this album. The style essentially hasn’t changed much since “Dark Ages” and while some might find the taste of SOULFLY’s groove-centered Thrash sound to be getting stale, the album delivers the ground work that fans expect nicely here with some instant classics like “Gladiator” and “Revengeance."
What “Enslaved” does differently is that it adds more brutality to the mix. The first single “World Scum” offers some serious Death Metal influences (the most Max has seen since the demos of SEPULTURA) and a guest performance from the vocalist of CATTLE DECAPITATION only adds to this. The addition of Campos on bass and Kinkade on drums has only added to the sheer intensity of the record as both have played in extreme metal bands prior. Particularly the drumming has kicked up a notch, throwing in some intense fills and double bass work that now was obviously missing from the mix prior.
As a bonus treat, fans are required to purchase the special edition of the album for the now staple track “Soulfly VIII” and two bonus tracks (which ironically might be two of the best tracks on the record). This is the only way to get “Enslaved” for the fact that three of it’s best tracks happen to be the extra material only available on this release with the memorable screaming on “Slave” and the chanting and Thrashy sound of “Bastard."
“Enslaved” might lose most of the tribal elements to focus down on creating a Thrashier/Deathier experience of an album, but this is SOULFLY performing at their best with a reinvigorated line-up of talented musicians. It blasts with some Death Metal intensity. It Thrashes with chaotic touches. It grooves with the rhythmatic swagger that the band has always been known for. It’s a combination that might be one of the best things that the band has yet to release.
Songs to check out: “Intervention," “Slave," “Redemption Of Man By God."
(Online May 9, 2012)