I’ve been a fan of SOULFLY since 2000, the Primitive record. I really enjoyed that one, thus cementing my fandom. So here we are some 18 years later and the band is getting ready to release their audio version of the Kraken with brand new album Ritual (October 19, Nuclear Blast Records). Holy mother of fuck, this album is an absolute beast that I guarantee will have many of you looking to destroy things, set stuff on fire, and run amok like animals. Because that’s exactly the effect it has on me every single time I put it on. Producer Josh Wilbur has gotten the best out of this band, no question; the results are damn near perfection.
Opener and title track “Ritual” is the welcome to the festivities, and quite frankly it’s looking to take your head off from jump. Vocalist and rhythm guitarist Max Cavalera sounds like a man possessed, and the band is en fuego as well. Lead guitarist Marc Rizzo coaxes some killer sounds out of his axe on this, and many other songs throughout the disc. “Dead Behind the Eyes” is all out war from start to finish, with a bloodthirsty main riff, Mike Leon’s thumping bass, and Zyon Cavalera (Max’s son, DUH!) drumming like a runner sprinting toward the finish line. Oh,and is that Randy Blythe from LAMB OF GOD guest starring? Oh, I think it is!!
Speaking of riffs, check out the goings-on in “Under Rapture.” This is a headbanger that absolutely needs to be played live on the upcoming tour. Max is like a snarling, bloodthirsty wolf here, and all of a sudden we get some deep death growls from Ross Dolan of IMMOLATION as the band behind him goes completely berserk. This track combines the best elements of Thrash and Death Metal, so it’s impossible not to like it. “Demonized” opens acoustically, and features some gorgeous flamenco work from Rizzo, then it all kicks in and Zyon really gets to go nuts. He has the right balance of attack on offense, get back on defense, making this an instant winner.
My absolute favorite though is 100% “Bite the Bullet.” The Rizzo tapping over the buzzsaw riff is fucking sick, and Max sounds ready to bite your goddamn face off. This might just be one of my favorite metal songs of 2018. “Feedback” is a rock n roll/punk rock hybrid, which might confuse some of you. Just go with it, man…and bang your head till it hurts! Tribal drumming permeates “Blood On the Street” as the group moves forward like an armored tank division looking to shell their enemies into extinction. “Evil Empowered” is the sonic equivalent of a baseball bat with barbed wire wrapped around it making its way through your windshield. Cower, bitches!!
And then comes “Soulfly XI,” the closer. An acoustic instrumental with some amazing saxophone work, it serves as a perfect comedown after nine tracks designed to rile everyone up. This is your chance to catch your breath and decide whether or not throwing that chair through the window is really worth it. It’s not, by the way (Yes it is!! They told me to say it’s not.). So what do we know? We know that SOULFLY have released the fucking best record of their career with Ritual. We also know that this motherfucker will be on my Top Albums of 2018 list for sure, and quite frankly it should be on yours as well. I HIGHLY recommend!!
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM