Posted on August 19th, 2015 (4:00 pm) by Addison Herron-Wheeler

Another band that just won’t call it quits, metalers Soulfly have been playing music since 1997 as the pet project of former Sepultura frontman Max Cavalera. The band has always been met with a mixed response – they were huge in the nu-metal scene and have a die-hard fan base, but a lot of death metal fans who hailed Sepultura as one of the great founders of early extreme metal and the ones who put Brazil on the map were disappointed by the group’s more mainstream direction.

Soulfly has always had a rotating lineup with Cavalera as one of the only certainties in the group, and recently he has gotten involved with some other projects (Killer Be Killed, The Cavalera Conspiracy). Soulfly already have nine albums, and these other projects are going strong, so it seems like Cavalera is on a roll with no plans to slow down any time soon. However, the group’s latest release, Archangel, leaves a lot to be desired in terms of content and form.

As always, Cavalera and his chosen crew are immaculate musicians. Whenever a solo or riff is executed, it is done extremely well. This man can hold his own among the metal greats and he sure can play and pick out a solid lineup. But the issue comes with the extremely awkward form and construction of the record. Things start off with "We Sold Our Souls to Metal" which is Sepultura-era death metal, but lyrically sounds like the ramblings of any angry fourteen-year old. The lyrics are all about how he would do anything for metal, and at one point he actually sings "come on punk, make my day." Right after that it goes into the title track, which takes the record in a religious direction. I supposed the "sold our souls" reference could allude to the religious connotations of the rest of the album, but this still seems like a bit of a stretch.

One of the most problematic and odd tracks is the third song, "Sodomites," which deserves special mention because of its odd title and lyrical content. The song seems to mostly be a Biblical reference to Sodom and the destruction God did there to the heathens, and the lyrics are purposely left open-ended - they just tell the story, they don’t condone it. But it does talk about killing people in the name of God and calls out "whores." All of this coupled with the potentially inflammatory title in light of recent gay rights issues really seems a bit odd. I doubt Cavalera meant any of this to be offensive, but the timing and choice of title and lyrics do seem somewhat questionable.

The biggest issue with the album is while everything is executed well and the playing is perfect, the riffs sound old and tired and have a decidedly nu-metal vibe. This record is not relevant musically, but it doesn't seem like Cavalera cares what is relevant, based on how the album sounds. Diehard Soulfly or Cavalera fans might find themselves grabbing a copy of this, but all in all, this is a release that can be passed up in favor of newer and more exciting records that better capture the exciting sound and fury of 2015.

Track List:

  1. We Sold Our Souls to Metal
  2. Archangel
  3. Sodomites (feat. Todd Jones of NAILS)
  4. Ishtar Rising
  5. Live Life Hard! (feat. Matt Young of KING PARROT)
  6. Shamash
  7. Bethlehem's Blood
  8. Titans
  9. Deceiver
  10. Mother Of Dragons (feat. Richie Cavalera of INCITE, Igor Cavalera of LODY KONG, Anahid M.O.P.)
Soulfly Archangel album cover
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

45 / 100
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