Released by: Nuclear Blast Entertainment
Released: August 14th, 2015
Genre: Heavy Metal
Max Cavalera – Vocals/Rhythm Guitar
Marc Rizzo – Lead Guitar
Zyon Cavalera – Drums
Igor Cavalera Jr. – Bass *Note – Tony Campos recently left Soulfly back in May to join Fear Factory, he has played bass on the album prior to his departure. *
01. We Sold Our Souls To Metal
03. Sodomites (featuring Todd Jones)
04. Ishtar Rising
05. Live Life Hard! (featuring Matt Young)
07. Bethlehem’s Blood
10. Mother Of Dragons (featuring Richie Cavalera, Igor Cavalera Jr. and Anahid)
Soulfly has been releasing a new album roughly every two years since their initial formation back in the mid-late nineties. This is all thanks to the legendary Max Cavalera, who has pretty much dedicated his life to Metal. It has been less than a year since the release of Pandemonium from his other band Cavalera Conspiracy, that was formed in 2007 with his brother Igor Cavalera Jr. Creating new material has become a second nature for Max, and Soulfly fans couldn’t be happier. I am personally thankful that I don’t have to wait five, ten or even fifteen years for a new album. It has been roughly two years since their 2013 release of Savages and with an ever growing style, I couldn’t wait to see what Archangel, the tenth studio album was going to consist of.
My interest peaked like crazy when back in early June the artwork and tracklist was announced. While reading this announcement, my head turned in curiosity as I saw that Matt Hyde produced it. I knew that Hyde worked on Slayer’s God Hates Us All album (2001), which made me sense that a Thrashing sound would be added to the epic-esque Archangel. I also believe that this is the best cover artwork for a Soulfly album to date, thanks to Eliran Kantor who has created cover artwork for bands such as, Testament, GWAR, and Iced Earth.
I remember back in 2000, I was wearing an old discman and listening to Soulfly’s Primitive. As the album blasted in my ears, I fell in love with the distinct sound of Groove Metal that it portrayed. It was heavy, enjoyable and somewhat chanting, depending on how you look at it. This is the album that got me hooked into Soulfly. From loving this original style, I have to admit listening to Archangel for the first time took a bit for me to get used to. I did hear a lot of Thrash elements but, there were parts of it that even reminded me of Punk Rock, simply due to the fact that the tracks are incredibly short. I personally love both Thrash Metal and Punk Rock, however, I wanted to listen to the Soulfly I thought I knew. I was disappointed by the fact that the entire album consisting of ten tracks, clocks to a total running time that is less than forty minutes. After I shrugged off my reluctance, I decided to give it a few more listens and well, I have become hooked.
The album opens up with a track that many Metalheads could relate to, “We Sold Our Souls To Metal.” Finally an anthem that will hopefully become a historical track for years to come. I can see this being played live, featured in movies, TV shows and what have you. It aggressively opens up with a Thrashing sound, where the young Zyon Cavalera reminded me of a younger Dave Lombardo during the Hell Awaits days. This is my personal favorite track and I am so thankful that it has been created, especially since I have sold my own soul to Metal.
The next track happens to be the title of the album “Archangel,” it slowly progresses with an atmospheric slow guitar riff which briefly reminded me of the Deftones from Adrenaline. This resemblance faded quickly as the pace shifted dramatically, where Max’s growls cut right in. This is another track that would be great live, especially with the brutal chorus. Demonically moving along when “Sodomites” peaked in with its heavy guitar riffs and its crunching darkened anthem. Being nearly a third way through in the album already, this particular song leaves a fun and yet horrifying taste.
The album dips down a bit when “Ishtar Rising” crawled in, which is a shorter and slower moving track. It isn’t until the near end where it morphed into a headbanging blissful experience. It is still enjoyable however, could have been compiled a bit differently and more aggressively to keep one engaged throughout. Kicking back to full gear when “Live Life Hard!” ignited with its harsh guitar riffs and bloody screams. This is where I have once again, become instantly hooked.
Transitioning along to a more spiritual and mystifying opening of “Shamash.” This track flowed together, combining historical lyrics, intensified riffs and a captivating instrumental melody that is incorporated with a demonized symphonic atmosphere. You can really hear Max’s latest influence of Death Metal from artists such as Behemoth with tracks, “Bethlehems Blood,” “Titans” and “Deceiver.” Quality remained fierce and consistent, that included wicked guitar solos, maniacal screams and a harmonic atmosphere.
The album closes with its ongoing Warrior theme of “Mother of Dragons.” All in all Archangel has a roaring entrance and a howling exit. The tracks are short, but quality is persistent throughout.
Written by: Zenae Zukowski
Rating: Zenae 9/10