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 Trauma 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 Trauma. 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)

CAVALERA CONSPIRACY Announce Sophomore Album, Blunt Force Trauma

Once again, anticipation is high as ex-SEPULTURA brothers, Max and Iggor Cavalera, are set to release CAVALERA CONSPIRACY‘s second album, Blunt Force Trauma, in March of 2011. The follow-up to 2008’s Inflikted includes participation from SOULFLY guitarist, Marc Rizzo, and FIREBALL MINISTRY‘s Johny Chow on bass.

Here’s the Blunt Force Trauma track listing:

1. “Warlord”
2. “Torture”
3. “Lynch Mob”
4. “Killing Inside”
5. “Thrasher”
6. “I Speak Hate”
7. “Target”
8. “Genghis Khan”
9. “Burn Waco”
10. “Rasputin”
11. “Blunt Force Trauma”


Ever since guitarist Marc Rizzo joined SOULFLY, he has single handedly changed the band from a nu-metal/SEPULTURA Roots-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)

MARC RIZZO – Legionnaire

One of the most exciting lead guitarists in metal makes a welcome return with his third instrumental solo album. Legionnaire is both the jaw dropping shredfest and showcase of Marc Rizzo’s non-metal playing skills that have become hallmarks of his solo albums. Newcomers will certainly be impressed by hearing dimensions to him that are not on display with his work in SOULFLY or CAVALERA CONSPIRACY. You’re treated to his absolutely mind bending lighting speed licks, warm toned-melodies, mastery of rhythms, and overall feel.

In terms of his metal riffing style, Marc is right up there with the modern, technical bands such as latter-era DEATH, NEVERMORE, and latter-era TESTAMENT.

His classical/flamenco guitar stylings are vibrant, lively, and the type of music that anyone, regardless of personal music tastes, can wholeheartedly enjoy. The fantastic percussion is an excellent complement, adding to the spirit of these particular songs.

The song titles are easy indicators for what to expect as songs like “Victims in Shred” are shredfests while songs like “Bandidas” are Latin-styled songs. In general, Legionnaire is really no different than its predecessors, Colossal Myopia and The Ultimate Devotion. It’s really about being more of the same tasty songs that Marc Rizzo has become known for. Highlights include “Peaks and Valleys,” “Bandidas,” “Victim in Shred,” and the title track.

If you’re looking for a very musical and stimulating kick in the arse, Marc Rizzo has what you need. (Phlamencore Records)

GOJIRA – The Way of All Flesh

There may be a trillion metal albums being released each month on a trillion labels and the metal media machine at large would have you believe that they are all worthy. Truthfully, few newer bands are doing anything noteworthy. Thankfully, we are blessed with the greatness of GOJIRA to make us forget about the soulless and utterly unnecessary 99% of metal. Building upon their excellent album, From Mars to Sirius, The Way of All Flesh takes things to higher marks of quality. The twelve tracks provide more than enough content to satiate any listener with GOJIRA‘s unique brand of extreme metal. The album is loaded with tasty riffing, fierceness, top-notch performances (especially drummer Mario Duplantier), and a confidence that is undeniable. One of the band’s best characteristics is their mastery of understanding and creating music with dynamics. Whether it be tempo changes, tone changes, or different riffing styles, the songs never grow stale nor do things ever seem redundant. There is also an interesting amount of experimentation with different sounds outside the conventional metal confines such as the tribal drums on “The Art of Dying” or the synthesizers on “A Sight to Behold.” GOJIRA embody all the things that make metal great. It’s fierce, confident, well played, dynamic, creative, and just plain solid. The Way of All Flesh is a mandatory listen. (Prosthetic Records)


APESHIT’s Top Metal Albums of 2008

We finally got off our asses and did it.  It’s already the year 2009, but we’ve complied a list of our top albums of 2008.  Compiling such a list is never easy, and 2008 was no exception.  Maybe it was a lack of albums that really stood out, or maybe we just weren’t paying enough attention.  Regardless, we took a quick look back on the metal albums we felt were notable in 2008.
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Since Max Cavalera‘s departure from SEPULTURA in 1996, the metal world has wished for none other than a SEPULTURA reunion. While that dream still remains, the recent reunion between brothers Iggor and Max has proven to be more special and meaningful. Their new project CAVALERA CONSPIRACY marks the first time the Cavalera brothers have recorded together in more than a decade. The result? A blistering infliction of thrash, punk, and metal that seethes with excitement and enthusiasm. Just before the album’s release, frontman Max took some time to express his delight to APESHIT about the reunion with his brother and the subsequent spontaneous musical output.

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CAVALERA CONSPIRACY Announce Headlining U.S. Tour

CAVALERA CONSPIRACY have announced their first ever headlining U.S. tour featuring support from DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, THROWDOWN, BURY YOUR DEAD, and INCITE. Tour dates are as follows:

July 17 – Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA
July 18 – The Palladium, Worcester, MA
July 19 – The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza, New York, NY
July 20 – The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza, New York, NY
July 21 – Rams Head Live, Baltimore, MD
July 23 – Vic Theater, Chicago, IL
July 24 – Orbit Room, Grand Rapids, MI
July 25 – Wake Stock, Toronto, ONT Canada
July 26 – McMahon Stadium, Calgary, ALB Canada (Monsters of Rock fest)
July 27 – Myth, St. Paul, MN
July 29 – Gothic Theater, Englewood, CO
July 31 – The Fillmore, San Francisco, CA
Aug 2 – House of Blues, Anaheim, CA
Aug 5 – House of Blues, Hollywood, CA

SOULFLY, CAVALERA CONSPIRACY Guitarist Marco Rizzo on Solo Tour

SOULFLY/CAVALERA CONSPIRACY lead guitarist Marco Rizzo is currently on tour promoting his latest solo album, The Ultimate Devotion.

Current tour dates:

26-Mar New York, NY Fat Baby
29-Mar Lowell, MA Lowell Brewery Exchange
30-Mar Haverhill, MA Welfare Records
3-Apr Battle Creek, MI Plant Rock
5-Apr Huntsville, OH The Blue Cat
6-Apr Berwyn, IL Tiger O’Stylies
8-Apr Green Bay, WI Toxic
9-Apr Davenport, IA River Music
11-Apr Sioux Falls, SD Nutty’s North
12-Apr East Peoria, IL Tails and Tops
14-Apr Kansas City, MO The Riot Room
15-Apr Springfield, MO Outland Ballroom
16-Apr Mulberry, KS Foxtown City Limits
18-Apr Mesa, AZ Cell Block
21-Apr Hollywood, CA Roxy
22-Apr Salt Lake City, UT Club Vegas
23-Apr Billings, MT Foe
24-Apr Denver, CO 3 Kings Tavern
25-Apr Lincoln, NE Kinckerbockers
27-Apr Chicago, IL Red Line Tap