Savages, the upcoming ninth album by metal titans Soulfly, follows up from 2012′s Enslaved which saw the band overall transition into a much more heavier stance and thus dropping their traditional tribal influences. Recently signing a deal with Nuclear Blast Worldwide – the label created by ex-Roadrunner A&R guy Monte Conner - Savages sees Soulfly release another album in quick succession. The album was produced by legendary producer Terry Date, who had previously mixed 3, Prophecy and Dark Ages – what I consider to be one of my favourite Soulfly albums.
Whilst I enjoyed Enslaved as an entire album because of it’s overall heavier tones and influence, Savages I feel will take an entirely different route in terms of altering Soulfly’s illustrious legacy. Enslaved at times I felt like it was trying to be more than it actually was and, for that, to me it came across as a rushed and poorly delivered album, although I enjoyed it for what it was. It was a brand new Soulfly album, I loved it. However Enslaved took its time to grow on me, whereas Savages I got into pretty quickly. Weird that…
With the recent retirement of David Kinkade from the drumming world, announced last year, Zyon Cavalera (Max’s own son) stepped in to play drums on the remainder of the tour and did a pretty impressive job of it from what I’ve read. So now that Zyon himself sits himself down on the drum seat let us remember he has big shoes to fill, from Roy Mayorga, to Joe Nunez, to David and now Zyon – it’s an impressive list of drummers. Apart from that, there are no changes within the Soulfly line-up: it’s Max on lead vocals and guitars, Marc on lead guitar and newest member Tony (formerly of Static-X and debuted on Enslaved) is on bass.
From the video updates that I saw and the two singles that have been released – the awesome opener “Bloodshed” and also “Master Savagery” - I can see that this album is heading into a more groove-orientated area for Soulfly, who have been known (especially on 2012′s Ensalved) to experiment with death metal a little. Savages to me is one of Soulfly’s better albums to date, definitely surpassing the material saw on Enslaved and even the material on Omen, and I feel that I’ve taken to this album more than I did because of the sterling job Terry Date has done. It’s true that he has gotten to known how Soulfly should sound and Savages, in its basic groovy heaviness, sounds exactly how Soulfly should sound.
With the opener “Bloodshed” you get the drums opening the song sounding like a marching drum rhythm, and then after a few moments where it builds and builds the groovy guitar-filled fire hits you in the face; it’s almost like a sledgehammer impact: harsh and crushing. From here on in, the album goes from strength to strength, as each song feels alive and free – with Soulfly, I hope, wanting the music to sound like this.
I’ve listened to this album definitely a few times over now and what’s clear to me this is that with Savages, unlike Enslaved, isn’t trying too hard to be overly heavy but yet it sits at the middle point of being comfortable and also being heavy. Gone are the tribal influences, but that’s no bother – this album still proves that Soulfly have made up for lost ground. Welcome back, Soulfly!