L:abel: Nuclear Blast Records
Spreading his riffs and shouts for over a quarter of a century under this moniker is enough time to have a complete idea of what Max Cavalera has to offer us with Soulfly. Wise enough as Max has almost forty years in music industry he changed the hybrid of nu metal – jump around – dread lock – “Roots” worshipping motif to a many ore old school death/thrash pattern. And yes it is more suitable to his voice, attitude and personality. And to our ears of course! Certainly Max has a lot creativity to his genius mind still there were so many projects he was involved (Cavalera Conspiracy, Killer Be Killed and Go Ahead And Die) while this is the 12th album by Soulfly so there was always the chance that Max was out of inspiration or new ideas. Well truth be told in terms of originality there’s definitely lack of it but yet the songs sound fresh and the material is worth exploring. The chugg riff and tremolo is present if not dominant and the proto-metalcore and Brazilian tribal rhythms too but in small doses. What makes the groovy “Totem” worth so ever is the brutal early 90’s riffs, the “Chaos A.D.” aura and the punk oriented attidute that you can feel as long as the record spinning. Well Soulfly’s two previous efforts was in this spirit (2015’s “Archangel” and “Ritual” from 2018) but this time I think the assault is more savage than ever. Personally speaking I think that “Ritual” has better songs in its entirety but “Totem” is solid and pretty close to that high level. The band’s line up features Max, his son Zyon and bassist Mike Leon. The album was recorded at Platinum Underground in Mesa Arizona by John Aquilino and Arthur Rizk with assistance from John Powers. It was produced by Max and Arthur Rizk (Code Orange, Ghostemane, Outer Heaven) that was also responsible for playing lead guitar on the record, and we can find guest appearances from John Powers (Eternal Champion), Chris Ulsh (Power Trip), and John Tardy (Obituary). The artwork for the album was created by James Bousema.
A dynamic album that may moves close to Max’s comfort zone, but that will be endorsed by the band’s numerous fans.
Cavalera comments, “For nearly 30 years our Soulfly Tribe has been growing steadily, from big cities to obscure corners of the world. Now we have our own Totem to celebrate our existence. Listen to it at maximum level to let your soul fly free.”
Highlights: the blasting opener “Superstition”, “Filth Upon Filth”, “Ecstasy Of Gold” and the almost 10 minute long closer “Spirit Anima”.