As another great year for heavy music comes to a close, APESHIT takes a look back at our favorite pieces of music of 2012. This year had some great comebacks in CRYPTOPSY and STRIFE. There were also some nice surprises in the new sheer quality of the new SIX FEET UNDER and brutality of the new SOULFLY.
We want to thank all our readers, friends in the industry, and all the amazing artists, big and small, that we get a chance to work with for a great 10th year of existence. As the music industry as a whole continues to take an economic hit, let us all remember: If you like a band or one of their releases, support it!
6131 Records and STRIFE give you an inside look into the making of the band’s upcoming album Witness A Rebirth.
This first video from the three part documentary series, “The Sao Paulo Sessions,” takes you down to Mix Nova Studios in Brazil and shows the recording process with drummer Iggor Cavalera (ex-SEPULTURA, CAVALERA CONSPIRACY, MIXHELL). Directed and edited by Pablo Menna.
STRIFE traveled to Brazil to start the recording process with producer Nick Jett. Soon after, they returned to California and put the rest of the pieces into place, including guest vocals by Billy Graziadei (BIOHAZARD) and Scott Vogel (TERROR), plus a guitar solo by Marc Rizzo (SOULFLY).
STRIFE‘s Witness A Rebirth is due out this Fall on 6131 Records.
2012 will see the release of Enslaved, a brand new SOULFLY album, which will be their eighth overall. 2012 also marks the band’s 15th anniversary of the band.
The lineup features Max and guitar dynamo Marc Rizzo, with STATIC-X‘s Tony Campos taking up the bass. The lineup is rounded out by ex-BORKNAGAR drummer David Kinkade.
Enslaved was recorded at Tallcat Studios in Phoenix, Arizona and was produced by Zeuss and Max Cavalera.
SOULFLY also collaborates with Dez Fafara of DEVILDRIVER and Travis Ryan of CATTLE DECAPITATION. Ryan said it was “an honor to receive a call from someone you had pictures of on your wall as a kid.”
Cavalera also wrote a song “Revengeance” about his slain stepson Dana, whose death was the catalyst for the creation of SOULFLY. He partners with his sons Igor and Richie on vocals, while his other son Zyon plays drums. It is the first time Max has performed with three of his sons.
Roadrunner Records announced today the addition of French metal behemoths GOJIRA to the label.
“We are so stoked to walk with the legendary Roadrunner,” vocalist/guitarist Joe Duplantier said about the new partnership. “We discovered SEPULTURA, MACHINE HEAD, DEATH, FEAR FACTORY and so many other great bands thanks to these guys. Roadrunner has been a great source of inspiration for us as metal fans. It’s an honor to be part of this family today as a band. We feel we’ll get the right support at the right moment in our career. We cannot wait to release our new record and get back on the road.”
The band’s Roadrunner debut will be its fifth album overall. It was 2005′s From Mars to Sirius and 2008′s The Way of All Flesh which established GOJIRA as a metal force of nature and a key player in the scene. The band will record in New York City, also the label’s headquarters, in November 2011, with a spring 2012 release date being eyed. Joe Duplantier will serve in a co-producer capacity along Josh Wilbur.
GOJIRA have kept busy in between albums. They recently recorded the four-song Sea Shepherd EP, with all proceeds from the EP benefiting the Sea Shepherd charity. Sea Shepherd is a Washington-state based non-profit marine conservation organization which employs direct action tactics to protect sea life. Release details on that EP, which is loaded with guests like MASTODON‘s Brent Hinds, LAMB OF GOD’s Randy Blythe, SOULFLY’s Max Cavalera and Devin Townsend to name a few, are yet to be determined.
The pressure of writing a great SEPULTURA album, years after Max Cavalera departed, has certainly been a daunting one. After getting back on track with A-Lex, the new offering, Kairos, has its moments of “classic SEPULTURA” elements, but the aggression and speed are stripped away. There are heavy moments with catchy riffs, but for the most part, what you will find on Kairos is a mixture of mid paced and mediocre tracks.
“Spectrum” starts off slow with a groovy and simple riff that sounds decent, and the listener expects the speed to increase somewhere within the song, but the tempo never picks up. The pattern continues, as the title track starts off well and shows great potential only to decrescendo and slow down again. “Relentless” finally shows some spirit, as the beginning riff is reminiscent of the slow, catchy, crunchy style of early OBITUARY, and finishes off with an Arise era solo. The album starts to wear thin as songs like “Dialog” and “Born Strong” drag with their slower beats and rhythms. Aside from the occasional slow double bass, drummer Jean Dolabella does not let loose, and takes a “simpler is better” approach.
The start of “Mask” contains a riff and vocal pattern that is interestingly very similar to CAVALERA CONSPIRACY’s “Inflikted,” with Jean finally showing aggression and blasts in the song. There is a tasty solo towards the end – showing that there are a few good tracks on Kairos. The short and thrashy “No One Will Stand” and “Seethe” sound like classic SEPULTURA and help liven the album up. However, the pace of the other tracks outweigh these thrashier songs. SEPULTURA has never been afraid to experiment, and “Structure Violence (Azzes)” is an interesting collaboration with the French percussive group, LES TAMBOURS DU BRONX, but at the end of the day, most fans would probably skip this track.
Kairos includes the MINISTRY cover “Just One Fix,” and while the original sounds great, this cover would have been better suited for a future EP release. The digipak CD/DVD version of Kairos includes their cover of THE PRODIGY’s “Firestarter,” and is easily one of the best tracks the band recorded during the Kairos sessions – it’s aggressive, catchy, and the solo by Andreas is amazing. The other bonus track of the digipak version is “Point of No Return,” an aggressive song which sounds like a mix of A-Lex and Chaos A.D. Why the band chose to leave these tracks off of the normal version is an enigma, as these bonus tracks would have spruced up the album immensely.
The concepts and lyrics on Kairos are interesting and very well suited to the current incarnation of SEPULTURA. Derrick Green still does a commendable job on vocals, and Andreas puts in an amazing effort in terms of bringing back remarkable Arise-like solos throughout the entire album. Although Kairos is an above average record, most of the songs may be too slow and bland to keep the listener interested throughout the entire voyage. While some Max-era SEPULTURA purists have missed out on some great albums such as Nation and A-Lex, Kairos offers more variety and melody, but a lot less aggression and speed than the new CAVALERA CONSPIRACY. (Nuclear Blast Records)
SOULFLY/CAVALERA CONSPIRACY‘s Max Cavalera has thanked “God” on all of his albums for quite some time now. However, it should be clarified that he is not Christian. Check out this video interview conducted by Alexander Holland Jensen, which aired on November 2009, for Norwegian TV where Max is asked about church burning among other things.
The latest CAVALERA CONSPIRACY tour gives the chance for fans to enjoy songs from Blunt Force Trauma, as well as seeing Max and Igor Cavalera tear up some SEPULTURA songs. It’s unlikely that there will ever be a reunion of the “classic lineup” for SEPULTURA, so CAVALERA CONSPIRACY may be the next best thing. While Igor missed the show in Hollywood due to visa issues, he was behind the kit in Anaheim, and certainly did not disappoint.
Marc Rizzo was lively on stage and performed flawlessly – also for the first time in recent years, he left his trademark hat at home. Although Max seemed to be more focused on singing and getting the crowd involved than playing his guitar and guitar parts, Rizzo more than adequately covered the guitars.
Igor never skipped a beat as the drums sounded great in the club, and his chops were just as lethal now as they were in 1991.
Max was on stage sporting an old NAPALM DEATH shirt, and showed that CAVALERA CONSPIRACY is a more simple “going back to the roots” project than his main band, SOULFLY. Although the band seemed to have more energy during the Inflikted tour, this was another excellent show put on by the Cavalera brothers, and hearing old SEPULTURA songs with Max and Igor will never get old.
The band cruised through a good balance of songs from the two CAVALERA albums and SEPULTURA material. Songs from Inflikted, including “Ultra-Violent” and “The Doom of All Fires,” incited the crowd. But when Ritchie Cavalera came on stage to sing “Black Ark,” a frenzy of bodies marched into the pit. From Blunt Force Trauma, the band played the title track, “Killing Inside,” and a few others to promote the new album, but the crowd was most excited for the SEPULTURA material.
CAVALERA and co. blasted through a sped up version of “Arise” to the delight of the crowd, and also brought out the oldie but goodie, “Troops of Doom,” which sounded excellent with the precision of Igor’s drumming and Mark Rizzo’s mastery of the axe. The band closed out the night with the SEPULTURA fan favorite, “Roots Bloody Roots” and the frantic audience dispersed into the night, mingling with tourists and the Disneyland crowd.
Now that the celebration of the Cavalera brothers reuniting and putting out a strong, hard hitting debut album is over, we can all see what album number two from CAVALERA CONSPIRACY is all about from purely a musical perspective. Blunt Force Traumaa is good but the songs as a whole are simply not as good as its predecessor.
With any Max Cavalera release, you can expect plenty of hooks and catchy riffs and the new album is no different. His charismatic vocals and easy to follow vocal lines are all there. In a lot of subtle ways, Max has expanded his riffing vocabulary to include new thrash sounds as well as more of a simple, punk-like songwriting approach.
Igor Cavalera took a “less is more” approach to his drumming, which resulted in his least intricate drumming performance since the first two SEPULTURA releases. Sure, he keeps the tempo with his expected power but many of the characteristics that make Igor such a distinct and excellent drummer have been omitted on Blunt Force Traumaa. Those powerhouse fills are largely gone and any trademark tribal rhythms are relegated to one song intro (“Burn Waco“).
Having said all that, Blunt Force Trauma still delivers urgent punk-influenced, thrash/death metal that is perfect for a live environment. There are some really cool songs such as “I Speak Hate,” “Target,” and “Burn Waco.” The band is not out to revolutionize metal nor create a super technical album. It’s all about creating catchy, fast, aggressive songs that get the blood moving. Thus, the album does exactly what it sets out to do. (Roadrunner Records)
Ever since guitarist Marc Rizzo joined SOULFLY, he has single handedly changed the band from a nu-metal/SEPULTURARoots-era cover band to an exciting extreme metal band with one of the most unique vocalists in the metal scene.
Amazingly, Omen is already SOULFLY’s seventh album, and the opener, “Bloodbath & Beyond,” has CAVALERA CONSPIRACY’s fingerprints all over it. “Rise Of The Fallen” and “Great Depression” are catchy tunes but the formula is one that we’ve heard before on Conquer and Dark Ages. While the old adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is true, frontman Max Cavalera needs to distinguish a little more between SOULFLY and CAVALERA CONSPIRACY, as both bands can overlap each other. A song like “Jeffrey Dahmer” sounds like it could end up on either a SOULFLY or CAVALERA CONSPIRACY album, depending on how he sees fit.
“Kingdom,” however, is a top notch track that is uniquely SOULFLY, as Rizzo’s melodic yet aggressive approach beings out the best in Max’s vocals, and the double bass and riffs fit together with a brutal and cohesive effect. Surprisingly, Max goes back to his roots, as “Vulture Culture” has hints of NAILBOMB splashed with old punk riffs thrown together, and adds a good variety to the album. Rizzo has excellent taste of how he chooses to place his solos and his talents are brought to the forefront in “Counter Sabotage.” As with all SOULFLY releases, the instrumental “Soulfly VII” track closes out the album, contrasting all the aggression peaking beforehand.
While definitely an enjoyable listen, Omen offers nothing new that the previous Rizzo-era SOULFLY releases haven’t displayed already, but like SLAYER, fans already know what to expect and will still enjoy it anyway. (Roadrunner Records)