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Album Review: Soulfly – Archangel

2 min read

Archangel is the newest album release from prolific metallers Soulfly, the legendary band fronted by the equally legendary and equally prolific Max Cavalera. Spiritual godfather of the genre, this latest record sees Cavalera exploring the mysticism and ritual of biblical icons. Far more brutal than previous releases, Archangel reflects the savagery of primal faiths in an aggression inspired by extreme metal. With less of the groove that characterised albums like Primitive, Archangel is a battering force of salvation.

Soulfly - ArchangelWith its constantly rotating line up, this incarnation of Soulfly brings together long serving guitarist Marc Rizzo and bassist Tony Campos, along with the Cavalera tribe; including sons Ritchie and Zyon. Zyon Cavalera is a real driving force on this release (his debut recording with Soulfly), his rock solid drumming propels Archangel into a new aggression. Cavalera himself pushes the vocals to new depths with primal screams and abrasive growls on Bethlehem’s Blood and Deceiver, and ritual chanting on Shamash. Also joined by various guests, King Parrot’s Matt Young lends his scream to Live Life Hard and Anahid M.O.P brings her vocals to the final track Mother Of Dragons

Soulfly’s Archangel delves just as deeply into spirituality as previous releases, possessing itself of a brutality inherent in the themes of justice and retribution. The Archangel himself, as an instrument of divine judgment, is the opening theme and title track. The looming Sodomites refers to the destruction of biblical cities Sodom and Gomorrah, and on Shamash and Ishtar Rising, Cavalera reaches back to the ancient Babylonian empire. One the Sun God of justice and retribution, the other, a Goddess of love and war who condemned her lover to take her place in hell as punishment. The flip side of this retribution is mirrored in tracks like We Sold Our Souls To Metal; whether that would be condemnation or salvation, the lead single is a tribute to the metal that is Cavalera’s life and legacy.

Archangel is a fast and powerful addition to that legacy, crashing through with a force that feels like the violent expulsion of energy and attack from Cavalera. And, if there was ever any doubt, proof that Soulfly are very much alive with the fire invention, and still leading the hordes of metal the world over.