Metal fans might have Max Cavalera and his music / lyrics pegged but I’ve gotta say, you never really know what you’re going to get with his main band SOULFLY and Archangel, their tenth album, proves this fact.
Starting off the record is the blistering We Sold Our Souls To Metal, a track guaranteed to be a popular staple for future Soulfly concerts. Indeed, the song is effective, with Max growling for the fans in a sort of demonic call to arms. It’s sort of cheesy but hey, it’s affectionate and it sets up the chaos to come.
Archangel, the title track, is up next, with Marc Rizzo showing off his stuff before the song moves into groove metal territory – a Soulfly staple. Archangel’s got a nifty theme about it and an air of doom metal about it all as well – and it’s always great to see Max embrace that side.
But enough of the track-by-track description – how’s the album on the whole? What instantly becomes apparent is that Archangel feels different – it feels lively. Yes, it contains the same theme of war that surrounds most of Soulfly’s latest catalogue and Max tends to repeat himself on occasion but it’s tapping into a different mythology here while being backed up effectively by orchestral cues.
More than that, the band – particularly Max – feels energized by the content and batch of songs here and all are in top form. Max, in particular, shakes it up a little by adopting different rhythms from the typical Soulfly album.
Speaking of being in top form, young Zyon Cavalera on drums is proving to have some of that killer Cavalera blood in him, as he is a powerhouse and definitely stand out among the production here. He brings his a game to every track, managing to keep up with the older members of the band, while even stealing the spotlight on occasion.
Sometimes Archangel has a few bumps along the journey though. Live Life Hard! Misses the mark, despite its message, and Deceiver’s lyrics get more laughs more than anything, despite its ace hardcore punk feel. Maybe that one’s a grower.
However, the rest of the album is a blast, showcasing Max’s tastes for Doom / Death / Groove metal and delivering some of Soulfly’s strongest tracks in a while, which ends in the tranquil Soulfly X, perhaps their best instrumental in a long while!
Clocking in at only 36 minutes, Archangel is a brisk album but it’s such an energetic album with a collection of killer cuts that I can guarantee Soulfly fans will dig. It is not without its issues but between the seemingly inspired performances of the band and the slick production, Archangel is a brutal and energetic effort from Soulfly.
J’s Verdict: ☆ ☆ ☆