Will Soulfly's 'Archangel' Build On Bands Cult Status?
Soulfly will be releasing their latest album "Archangel" on 14th August. This is Soulfly's 10th album, and that, coupled with Max Cavalera's previous work with highly influential Sepultura is worthy of a more than just respectful nod of appreciation in deference to a long and distinguished musical career.
From the first listen of 'Archangel' it is reassuringly clear to hear that ol' mother time is having no effect in placating the ferocity and passion which is clearly part of Cavalera's fundamental physical matter and this leads to moments in Soulfly's latest offering in which the band soars. The album opener 'We Sold Our Souls to Metal' immediately grabs the listeners attention. At times chaotic, bordering on almost incoherent, it benefits from a tight chorus and some nifty guitar work which holds the whole thing together in a unique fashion. This is surely a track to become a bit of a classic in their live repertoire.
Whilst listening to the album you can't help but notice there is a dark, almost death metal edge to this album compared to a lot of Soulfly's prior work. 'Archangel' is a good example of this with its duelling guitars, crushing drum work and visceral vocals. 'Live Life Hard!' is another track worth a mention. After a dubious opening vocal assault, imagine a death metal scream after having inhaled several balloons worth of helium, it gets into its stride and the hook of 'Go hard, or go home!' will be one that will resonate with all who listen to this album. 'Bethlehem's Blood' is probably the strongest track on the album; it coherently combines the ideas evident throughout the album into one cohesive track that you can listen to again and again.
However, there is also evidence of the effect that such a long musical career can have on the musical creativity reserves. There are times when this album sounds almost repetitive, as if the band were trying to realise what they achieved in 'Bethlehem's Blood' but were still working through it, and to be honest for a band of Soulfly's calibre this isn't acceptable. There are then also the tracks 'Sodomites' and 'Deceiver' in which the band sound more like a parody of themselves rather than the band who have been so influential on the metal scene for so long. This is by no means a bad album but it is perhaps one which will not reach the cult status of a lot of their other work.
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Words by Dominic Munden