Max Cavalera is the walking embodiment of creative energy, of all of the diverse layers of urgency that are possible from that select few whose artistic output defines genres. Mystic shaman, protest singer, revolutionary hero, everyday metalhead, furious consumer of heavy music of all shades, husband, father, leader, songwriter... Cavalera reigns as the adoptive tribal chief of a generation of fans, stretching from the roughest slums of South America to the coldest confines of Russia. Anywhere that people are disenfranchised, the songs of Soulfly serve as their anthems.
Armed with Cavalera’s four-stringed guitars, unmistakable growl and instantly recognizable riffage, the muddy tones and constant rhythmic bounce of Soulfly has retained its gritty edge while pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in metal. Savages represents a career-defining moment, solidifying the lineup with longtime lead guitarist Marc Rizzo (who has been in Soulfly almost as long as Max was in Sepultura), bassist Tony Campos (Static X, Ministry, Prong) and Max’s 20 year-old son Zyon, who splits his time between drumming in Lody Kong and now, Soulfly.
“All of the things that make Soulfly killer are combined in Savages,” Max declares.
Savages melds the most brutal, the most heavy and overall the most vibrant components that made up each record in Soulfly’s diverse catalog. By Max’s own account, Savages is possessed of the tribal groove of the first two Soulfly albums, particularly in songs like “Bloodshed,” “Ayatollah Rock and Rolla” and “Master of Savagery.” But there’s also the thrash metal that was found on Dark Ages and Omen; whereas the Cavalera Conspiracy records contain short, punky bursts, the new Soulfly record gets into the epic length territory of early Metallica. The death metal vibe of Soulfly’s Enslaved emerges in songs like “Fallen” and “Cannibal Holocaust.”
“I really like the name Savages. I like single words that sound powerful, like Primitive, Roots, Arise,” Max explains. “It’s about the human condition right now. We have the Internet and we’re working on missions to Mars, but we are still decapitating each other and blowing up marathons. We’re still savages. Even with technology and how far we’ve come in the world, our spirit is still that of a savage.”
A trailblazing pioneer and musician with millions of albums sold who nevertheless retains boundless street cred due to his grimy, raw and undeniable authenticity, Max Cavalera is one of the most prolific artists the realm of heavy music has ever known. There’s Cavalera Conspiracy, which reunited Max with his brother and former bandmate, Iggor Cavalera. There was the brutal attack of Nailbomb, Max’s collaboration with Alex Newport from Fudge Tunnel, which included members of...