Another day, another album from Max Cavalera. Soulfly‘s latest offering, Archangel, arrives just 22 months after its predecessor Savages, during which time Max also released a Cavalera Conspiracy album and participated in the supergroup Killer Be Killed. Now, you if you’re thinking, “Gee, Dr. Fisting, that sure sounds like an awful lot of releases for a guy who’s also touring most of the time! I wonder if that affects the quality of the music,” you might be onto something.

The album immediately takes the low road with “We Sold Our Souls To Metal,” a cheap attempt at rallying the faithful. This track amounts to Cavalera rattling off various Max-isms (“fuck you all,” “poli-tricks,” “no,” etc.) while guitarist Marc Rizzo plays licks that sounds like Sonic the Hedgehog collecting 8 billion rings. I’m too old to care either way, but hearing Max Cavalera — a guy who chased trends, grew dreadlocks and collaborated with Fred Durst — pretending that he’s been my trve heavy metal buddy all along, does not sit well with me.

Title track “Archangel” kicks in with a slow chug and some esophagus-destroying vocals from Max, before abruptly transitioning into a riff where Rizzo two-hand-taps his way through what may or may not be music from Super Hang-On. I made a comment to this effect while reviewing Cavalera Conspiracy, and I stand by it: Rizzo’s constant meedly-mee’s and whammy pedal shenanigans completely undermine both the heaviness and metal cred that Max is grasping at. On a positive note, drummer Zyon Cavalera (Max’s son) has grown into a solid, capable drummer since his debut on Savages. And Wikipedia lists Soulfly‘s current bassist as Igor Cavalera….Junior. Max basically gets to go on tour with his entire family, how cool is that?!

Soulfly-Archangel 02

The most interesting element of Archangel, honestly, is Max’s newfound fascination with the Old Testament. Granted, he’s probably just getting really stoned and then picking out the cool-sounding parts, but if that’s your plan, you could do far worse for source material. Shouting about “Sodomites,” the “Tribe of Judah,” and “violating the Sabbath!” is pretty sick, but don’t expect the man to convert to Judaism anytime soon. But “Deceiver” proves that a vengeful god is no match for a vengeful Max Cavalera, pairing speedy riffs with furious anger (choice lyric: “I vomit on you”). “Live Life Hard!” features a somewhat jarring guest vocal by Matt Young of King Parrot, and contains terrible lyrics even by Soulfly standards. “Bethlehem’s Blood” has some trumpet overdubs, which could have been used to great dramatic effect if they were in key with the song and didn’t sound like an afterthought. Final track “Mother of Dragons” thrashes righteously for exactly 46 seconds, followed by two minutes of an extremely generic breakdown, ending the album on a definite low note.

Archangel feels like a closer cousin to the last Cavalera Conspiracy record than to Savages, not that it makes much difference at this point. Having the same two guys writing music for two separate bands is a recipe for redundancy, and it’s no shock that the line between the two bands has gotten extremely blurred. Archangel also holds the distinction of being the shortest Soulfly record to date, clocking in at a mere 36 minutes. Packing a CD with music (good or otherwise) is not something Max Cavalera usually has a problem with, so perhaps this is a sign that the well is running dry.

It may not be apparent from the tone of this review, but I enjoy a good deal of Max’s back catalog, and I respect his contributions to the genre. That said, I think this might be a good time for him to step back and recharge the creative batteries a little. The last few albums from both Soulfly and the Conspiracy feel pretty phoned-in and interchangeable, and Archangel continues that trend. The Doctor prescribes some much-needed bed rest, and orders Mr. Cavalera to stay away from the recording studio until at least 2017.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 273 kbps mp3
Label: Nuclear Blast
Websites: Soulfly.com | Facebook.com/Soulfly
Releases Worldwide: August 14, 2015

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  • Grymm

    This review makes me wanna fire up Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection on the PS3 when I get home tonight.

    #Flicky4Lunch4Evah

    • Dr_Fisting

      Shit, now I kind of want to do that too.

  • dblbass23

    Well damn. I was actually looking forward to this album. And several of the points brought forth above are things that have gone through my mind at one time or another. Maybe a couple years out of the studio WOULD do Max some good.

  • dduuurrrr dddduuuurrrr

    Someone should confiscate the album cover for this and give it to a more deserving band.

    • dduuurrrr dddduuuurrrr

      Oh nm the angel wings are the soulfy logo…

      Barf

      • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

        Didn’t mean to downvote that, finger slipped. Good catch!

    • Elton Chagas

      Best comment ever hahaha. I’d do the same to one thousand albuns at least.

    • Here’s Johnny

      Someone should confiscate your internet connection.

    • Joaquim Ghirotti

      Stop whining. The band is awesome, you are clearly an idiot.

  • Andres Pintos Nocerino

    up brazil

  • RuySan

    I would buy a Max Cavalera poetry book. It could be called “Watch me freak!”

    • Dr_Fisting

      Or “Jumpdafuckup”.

      • RuySan

        I hope “We sold our souls to metal” includes that “word”.

        It would be very post-modern

    • Doomdeathrosh

      Rated R it will be!

    • Norfair Legend

      Or a Max dictionary so we could get some clarification whilst listening through songs.

  • Kronos

    ‘ “no,” etc.’ is the point when I lost it.

    • Grymm

      “No.”

      CAVALERA 2016

  • Elton Chagas

    After reading this review, I got more interested in the Sonic video.

    • tomasjacobi

      Don’t forget Super Hang-On…

  • Elton Chagas

    I can easily imagine Max touring with his grandson and his great-grandson.

  • sir_c

    I know Cavalera and generic metal are almost a pleonasm, but even by those measures, Soulfly’s latest creation sounds as generic as ‘cheese sandwich’.

    • Dr_Fisting

      For me, a different kind of sandwich comes to mind.

      • Garak

        Sauerkraut?

        • Monsterth Goatom

          Think Spinal Tap.

  • Fear Factory, then Soulfly, when is the next Biohazard album coming?

    • Right after the next Slipknot.

      • Dr_Fisting

        And the Coal Chamber reunion…oh wait, that really happened.

    • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

      Life of Agony or bust!

    • Joaquim Ghirotti

      Wow. You are fucking dumb and you compare unrelated bands to try and diss them. But all we find out is…. that you are dumb.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    100% agreed with the trend chasing part of the review.
    I wonder if Max really thinks anyone is going to buy the ““We Sold Our Souls To Metal” schtick from him.
    Maybe naming the song “We mortgaged our souls to Nu-metal, took a second mortgage to Rap-metal, a third one to groove-metal… what´s selling well now?” was too metalcore a thing to do since metalcore is down in sales now.

    • Dr_Fisting

      Damn!!!

    • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

      Still waiting for Max’s Occult Rock or ReThrash project.

    • Joaquim Ghirotti

      Trend chasing my ass. He worked with different genres and excelled in all of them, helping create thrash, death, black, groove and even working with industrial metal with nailbomb. Weep, mortal.

  • Wilhelm

    If I was Junior, I’d be like “Yo Dad, this music sucks, let’s play something off Schizophrenia”

    • Joaquim Ghirotti

      Which displays and informs us that you ARE a junior.

  • kmal666

    I’m not going to waste my time listening to this (the above track told me all I needed to know) but I must ask, is “Mother of Dragons” about Game of Thrones – specifically, the Targaryens?

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Not a fan, so i’ll probably give this a miss, but credit where credit is due, that is one killer album cover…Though the the soulfully font could have been more artfully incorporated.
    Enjoyable review BTW.

  • JL

    this is one of “those bands”….i’ve never understood how people can praise them so much….so bland and uninspiring….blah

  • AndySynn

    It always amazes me how differently some albums are viewed/reviewed by people within our scene.

    Compare this write-up to the one over at HeavyBlog and you’d swear blind that they’ve been listening to entirely different albums!

    • Dr_Fisting

      I just checked it out — I don’t know WHAT the hell those dudes were listening to, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t this album.

  • Doomdeathrosh

    “We sold our souls to metal……but we don’t know about the album though.”

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Why O why with the lyric videos!

    • As I said when MetalSucks posted it, making a lyric video for this song is like making Everybody Poops a scratch-n-sniff book.

  • Norfair Legend

    No lie, never heard this song before but I’m at work eating a quick granola bar and washing it down with a nice cold water as I always do when I peruse this site…when Max said poli-tricks I spit some out in laughter.

    …I cannot purchase this album based on that alone.

  • Here’s Johnny

    Don’t release records, be damned for it(Metallica). Be prolific and release albums(plus tour a lot), be damned for it. Can’t win.

    Forget all the bullshit for a moment. Max is a metal legend, to say he has a cheek being ‘your metal buddy all along’ is a bit of a joke. Typical sniveling elite attitude towards Max when he has been releasing good/great albums for more than a decade now, be it Cavalera Conspiracy, Soulfly, Killer be Killed.

    Can someone else review this please? Can this site take the stick out its elitist arse too?

  • Jeremy Freeman

    This is the lowest rating site yet. And I have to agree this is the most sloppy (production sounding), muddy, bad album in the Soulfly catalog. It’s like listening to Soulfly under water. Much like the last Cavalera Conspiracy album. Horrid production. Songs are very meh as well. Sodomites being the best. This is why people download everything for free. Or get on Itunes/Amazon etc. And only buy like 2 songs. Not our fault bands can’t put out good stuff anymore. This was my biggest hope for 2015 metal. Guess I’d better change my expectations. Max had never let me down before. And get his son OFF the damn kit, let him start his OWN band, like his step son. The kid can’t hold a candle to the other drummers. He’s worse than Lars, yet better. haha

  • Jack Tors

    That song “We sold our souls to metal’ is indeed cheesy as fuck. But the majority of this new album is heavy and dark as fuck. I am really digging it. That song Titans is bad ass.

  • Joaquim Ghirotti

    “pretending that he’s been my trve heavy metal buddy all along, does not sit well with me.”

    He has done much more for metal than you ever did or will do. Get down from there. You will fall, kid.

  • RyanM1985

    I saw them live last night in Belfast and he was just going through the motions. Weak.