For those who failed to keep abreast with '90s
metal, after Max Cavalera's not-so-amicable parting of ways
with influential Brazilian thrashers, Sepultura, Soulfly was formed
as a vehicle for him to express everything from his
spiritual beliefs to the painful memories of the loss of
his murdered stepson Dana Lowe.
At best, Soulfly are an awesome summation of what would become the now, much-mocked genre of nu-metal. At worst, they are a repetitive, self-indulgent solo project that has lasted for over six years. The group has managed to survive by applying some core values of diversity, capricious
style and generally wearing one's heart on one's sleeve.
The musical technicality is habitually at a fairly base level, but this is a predicament delightfully eclipsed by the
utter intensity of drum battering and string-thrashing rage that contributes to the collective distorted din.
As a retrospective career spanning release, The
Song Remains Insane is a monster mix of material in
varying formats, inclusive of predictable hits and
true fan favourites alike. The more indigenous mellow
tracks are, however, painfully misrepresented. In the
eardrum-bursting department, not too surprisingly it is the
earlier Soulfly material that sounds the sweetest,
with the odd Sepultura cover (e.g. Roots Bloody Roots)
eclipsing most of Max's post-millennial efforts.
Eye For An Eye and Tribe perhaps sound so good because they could have been played by Sepultura without anyone
batting so much as an eyelid. This said, no matter how high a pedestal you place Mr Cavalera on for his
musical achievements, it's songs like Jump The F**k Up which bring him crashing back down to wrestling
For the committed, this package will not fail to
impress, with an deep insight into Mr Cavalera and his
"tribe". With a back catalogue of video promos, live
performances and some bonus live clips too, thankfully, the majority of the
focus is on the music. However, it should be noted that most of the live tracks, whilst appearing
visually impressive, sound like a dodgy mic has been
placed in a bucket of mud beneath the stage to record
the event for posterity. I'm sure if you were there
it was great, but in the comfort of my front
room with a mug of tea and a biscuit, most of the live tracks
came across as a mess.
The main part of the interview material consists of
Max sat in the desert with a stick, talking about how
unique his music is and how he always makes
unpredictable choices when making his records. This
may well be true, as his latest "zany" move was to re-staff his entire group upon the commencement of
recording their latest record Prophecy. Hmm, there's
unpredictability - and then there's ego.
For a man who has previously labelled himself the John
Lennon of heavy metal, some would say the Latin ruffian
is either verging on prophetic or pathetic. However, having worked with everyone from the expected (Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst, Cypress Hill) to the downright weird (Cher's son Elijah Blue and Serbian reggae groups), and having even found time to guest with Lennon's son, Sean, you can't knock the man for trying. And try he shall no doubt
continue to do, with a seemingly high success rate.