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Not Quite Savage Enough... - 55%

doomknocker, October 27th, 2014
Written based on this version: 2013, CD, Nuclear Blast

How interesting to see time weather even the most solidified of opinions...there was a time when this reviewer found Soulfly vacuous, cloying, just outright HORRIBLE due to more than one bad first impression (both in the live and recorded settings). It's like "really, Max? You left Sepultura for THIS???" But as time marched on, a darkness overtook the band and, despite what I'd originally thought about them, I found myself enjoying later recorded works. I'd even go so far as to say "Enslaved" was one of Max's strongest albums in YEARS/in GENERAL, not just for Soulfly. I, as well as many others I'm sure, were glad to see Max remember his old groovy thrash roots and incorporating more of that into the mix (Cavalera Conspiracy helped a lot with that, as well...), replacing the Korn-fed bongo drums appeal of his early days. Damn fine stylistic replacement if ever there was one.

So with this new work, what can one expect...?

On the plus side, I'm still stoked to hear Max continue on his path of born-again thrasher like he has something to show the world. After a milquetoast opener, it really comes to life by way of pounding rhythms, simple yet groovy brutality and piss-headed Slayer worship (not too unheard of given the talent at hand, here). The rhythm work is devastatingly tight, from the grinding guitars to the sharp (if mixed too loud) drum work, when it stays on target that is. I'm sadly seriously, here...there were a few too many moments where the drumwork sounded too detached from the rest of the group, doing it's own thing while keeping time with everything else in its barest term. And really, Zyon, you DO have a high hat and ride cymbal, I hope...lay off the crash next time, please! But anyway...when it comes to the main bulk of the record, things don't really leave a specific tempo all that often; sometimes things are faster ("Cannibal Holocaust"), some are slower ("Spiral"), while the majority is a fine middle ground of mid-ranged groove and outright nastiness ("Master of Savagery"). It doesn't matter how to slice it, it will all come off the same block of meat, and can still serve to satisfy in their own way if taken for what they are.

That being said, that increase in heaviness and songwriting appeal tends to be limited by the group's still-present sense of repetitive performance and arrangement schemes. Maybe it's just so deeply engrained in the Soulfly way of life, but I couldn't help but feel that some extra riff padding would only serve to work for the group's benefit that much more. And given how long some of these tracks are that would REALLY be a good thing. Can you imagine how much more could have been added the 8 minute rager of the same few riffs in "El Comegente"? Barring that odd acoustic segment, of course, which kinda comes out of nowhere. You may not notice it all that often with the previous work, so I'm curious to know what happened with this one. Maybe as it had only been a year or so since "Enslaved" and not as much time had passed for the creative juices to naturally flow and truly breathe as well as they need to. Maybe that could have been the catalyst to making this more of a grand album that it is at this point in time. Well...guess we won't know now, for here it is in all its completed glory.

At the end of the day, "Savages" offers fleeting moments of awesome fury in between bouts of tedium and blahness. Take what you can get from it, but with the understanding that while Soulfly is still a far better group now than way back when we had to jumpdafuckup, we all know they can do better than this, even in their own small way.

Soulfly - Savages - 85%

Orbitball, November 11th, 2013

1st album that I've owned by this band, was interested because I figured that if it is Max Cavalera's band, they must be GOOD. Not to seem biased, but since he was the frontman for Sepultura alongside his brother for years, his own band I concluded I'd give it a try! I was not disappointed at all really and since the focus was on groove/thrash metal, that sparked my interest in them. After hearing this latest CD some times now, I thought that everything seemed to fit together-the music, lyrics and genre(s). There really wasn't anything that I disliked about this release, it is at the top of the list for best albums in 2013.

That I felt so strongly about because it's wholly creative and original not to mention an album to "chill" to. The lead guitar work was also good and well played out on that aspect, it wasn't in any way half-assed or just annoying executions, there was real talent here that Max recruited, not to mention playing with his 20 year old son now on drums. Amazing production, thickness in the guitar riffs (I'd say they're in B-tuning). Not really overtly aggressive songs with exceptions of course. Ultimate creativity in the songwriting, lyrical concepts, vocals and mixing. The fact that they're on Nuclear Blast says something great which is another reason why I picked this out to try.

Everything seemed to fit together and the concept of pure hatred wasn't the only goal I think Max wanted on this album, I also think that the focus was originality in the music alongside lyrics that people could relate to. I'd have to say that the backup vocals/guest vocals fit the album quite well. Some of the music was really atypical though, giving it more of an aura about it which brought about more depth. There wasn't a song on here I disliked. All of the music and vocals I enjoyed immensely. A very groove-laden release and definitely a CD that's well worth hearing. If this sparked some curiosity in my review, YouTube "Cannibal Holocaust" and you'll hear what I'm talking about.

The thickness in the guitar is what stuck with me and Max's vocals seemed more higher pitched than what I was used to on Sepultura releases that he was on. I actually like his voice here more than on Sepultura, which is quite a thing to say regarding the album. Definitely good to have variety in the vocals so that you're not stuck hearing monotonous screaming or low bellowing bouts it's a little bit of both on here which is another reason why I like this release. No regrets here, the musical compositions are just so darn creative and expansive. Max definitely remains high still on the creativity factor.

Savages will hit you hard with heavy guitar work and tempos that are simply awe-inspiring. I don't think that this one you'd get bored with, like I said, a mild metal album with a modicum of fast tunes, mainly just riffs that'll just knock you on your ass. Totally awesome work here and the band needs more recognition with this one because Max does a great job at coming up with music and lyrics that really rock! It'd be great if they stick with this kind of style because it really is an album that deserves more praise. Definitely not a sell-out at all, a balls out release with great riffs. Get it and you may come to the same conclusion!