Soulfly return with their 9th full length album and Max Cavalera has been in Soulfly now longer than when he was in Sepultura.  Boy time flys by so quickly and Soulfly, by and large release a new album every 2 years, although they did release Enslaved in 2012.  Savages is a pretty good album and if you are a fan of the band things will sound pretty familiar to you.  I have loved their gradual progression towards heavier albums over the last few years and I think Enslaved was phenomenal, with blast beats and a pretty death metal influenced album, the band scales back their approach on Savages.  No blast beats this time around, the band opting for a return to their original roots style.  The majority of the tracks having that bouncy groove feel, ala Primitive.

“Bloodshed” opens the album with a real nice groove throughout the song.  Song gets a little too long, reaching close to 7 minutes with pretty much the same bouncy groove based beat.  The ending has a definite deathcore tinge to it, the way the song breaks into a slow breakdown and remains that way until the end.  This part was actually pretty interesting.  “Cannibal Holocaust” is up next and sounds like a leftover from Enslaved-the fastest track on Savages, that stays in a pretty fast beat throughout, again it would be nice to have heard a blast beat in here, but not happening.  Max sounds really good on this, with his vocals harkening back to his death metal roots and really reaching the deeper register.  Kudos to Marc Rizzo who has some killer solos on this and the rest of the cd.  Song is simple, catchy and features a nice chorus.

The rest of the album pretty much stays in mid paced territory throughout the rest of the album.  I wanted faster songs, and was disappointed.  The musicianship of Tony Campos, on bass, is outstanding.  Playing some of the best bass I have ever heard from him-great job. Max’s son Zyon is the new drummer, he’s good, nothing too special but he is a hard hitting drummer and Max sounds great on this album.  The production from Terry Date is the best thing the band could have done.  The sound is massive and this is one of the best sounding albums of 2013.  The bonus tracks are kinda meh. “Fuck Reality” sounds like the rest of the mid paced tracks and we get another “Soulfly” instrumental, that I do actually like.

However at the end of the day I am left wondering where do Soulfly go from here?  Are they turning into a Six Feet Under where they just flood the market with their releases year after year, all sounding too similar?  The album cover of Savages, for one, is bland and lacks energy, which is how some of these songs sound.  I really thought the intensity and strong output of Enslaved was going to be continued on Savages.  However the band rather made a regression.  This is not a stab at their musicianship, because they all sound wonderful and are talented.  It’s more a mark on the songwriting, which is kind of average on this.  C’mon guys, bring back the intensity-I know you have it in you.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
October 14th, 2013


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