For album number eight since leaving SEPULTURA, Max Cavalera has continued to expand on his vast musical legacy. To his credit, just like his first notable group, every album has been different from the last while retaining what can be called his signature tribal metal sound. Some of their albums are more hardcore flavored, others have been more focused on world music and more recently he has guided the band back to his thrash roots. All of these elements are at play and added to the mix are a heavy influence of classic death and black metal for the first time in this band. Although not a wild stretch for Max and company to pull off, the new sound and direction has invigorated their sound and helped to make Enslaved one of their finest efforts to date.
“Resistance” kicks things off with a punishing double kick drum part and frenetic riffs. The main lick sounds kind of like an alarm of sorts, announcing the musical terror that is to come. The first track is short and to the point like some of the original SOULFLY and it works. Very punk meets death metal feeling. The single “World Scum” alternates between grindcore-esque blast-beats and Max’s trademark stomping chorus parts. The song is full of rage, but not without melody and the co-production by Max and Chris “Zeuss” Harris let’s everything shine. “World Scum” was apparently the first song Max wrote with new drummer David Kinkade (ex-BORKNAGAR) and this sets up the vibe for the album with brutal guitar parts of sick death and black metal inspired beats. Adding to the ill sound of the song is Travis Ryan of CATLE DECAPITATION on guest vocals. He is a good match for Max’s sound and makes the track even better. “Intervention” is another furious paced track with more of the great lyrical and vocal work Max is known for. The slowed down ending of the track just crushes. Fortifying the band is the addition of bassist Tony Campos (STATIC-X, PRONG, MINISTRY, ASENSINO). Tony adds a lot of low end heft that the band relies on. He is especially valuable on the most brutal passages since he has a great picking hand for speedy riffs.”Gladiator” is another top track made for mosh pits and screaming along to at a show. The vocals are again top notch and sound fierce as ever. “Legions” is a old-school feeling track that could have been from the Arise-era. Lead guitarist Mark Rizzo shreds all over the place and provides plenty of melody against the grinding chords. Lyrically and philosophically Max sounds anguished by trying to cling to his spirituality in the face of organized religion. Without being too preachy he is able to drive his point home to the listener. “American Steel” is a bit more on the experimental side with some chilled out elements, but still has that crunch you want to hear most of the way through. “Redemption Of Man By God” continues the religious theme and features strong guest vocals by DEZ FAFARA (DEVILDRIVER/COALCHAMBER). When Dez and Max trade off lines with each other it sounds like pure, evil magic. “Treachery” might be the most brutal track on the album and is one of my favorites by far. Insane battle drums, sick guitars, black metal motifs and some inventive grooves that inspire a lot of headbanging. The middle section of the song could fool people into thinking they picked up a spacey sounding MASTODON album for even more added texture. “Plata O Plomo” is an amalgam of thrash, power groove, flamenco guitar, and even some melo-death lead guitars. There is also a rap en Español vocal by Campos that is excellent. Other top tracks include “Slave” (the Berimbau is back!) “Chains”, “Revengeance” which features Richie, Zyon and Igor Cavalera Jr. and the latest chapter in the bands’ eponymous beautiful instrumentals, “Soulfly VIII”. SOULFLY has managed to condense the soul of their entire history into these vibrant, rebellious songs while still pushing boundaries of what heavy music can be.
Keith (Keefy) Chachkes