The metal world was shocked last year when SOULFLY frontman Max Cavalera effectively fired his entire band, but then again, SOULFLY had never been what one could call a stable entity. Unlike Cavalera's previous band, SEPULTURA, SOULFLY has been squarely his sole vision, with any other musicians seeming more or less like hired hands. This approach has worked in the past, most notably in the thrash/death metal genre with the late Chuck Schuldiner's DEATH.This time around, Cavalera seems to have been reinvigorated by recruiting a fresh crop of talented, seasoned musicians, including former MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson, PRIMER 55 guitarist Bobby Burns (also playing bass) and ex-ILL NINO axeman Marc Rizzo, who contributes some stark and beautiful flamenco guitars in addition to plenty of crunch. As a result, the first — and heavier — half of SOULFLY's fourth effort is more energized and intense than a large chunk of the two previous SOULFLY discs, "Primitive" and "3". Cavalera has also dispensed with much of the nu-metal influences that had always been lurking around the edges of SOULFLY's music. The title track, "Living Sacrifice", "Execution Style", and "Mars" are straightforward, almost classic slices of brutality, huge and angry and full of classic-sounding thrash guitars (note the SLAYER lick on "Living Sacrifice") with a heavy emphasis on the hardcore style that was, ironically, a SEPULTURA trademark. "Prophecy"'s first five tunes rip and snarl their way out of the speakers in a refreshingly basic and minimalist fashion. It's the album's second half that's more problematic. Going back to the SEPULTURA days, Cavalera has expertly blended music from different cultures — especially those of his native Brazil and other South American countries — into a metal framework, doing pioneering work on albums like "Chaos AD" and "Roots". On "Prophecy", the melding of the different genres is more perfunctory than innovative. Beginning with the seven-and-a-half minute metal/dub excursion, "Moses" (which features a Serbian act called EYESBURN), the songs on the album's second half come across as a blend of increasingly generic hardcore — including a faithful but pointless remake of HELMET's "In The Meantime" — and a variety of world styles, with little of it sounding like a unified whole. The album's final two, six-minute cuts — the all-instrumetal, New Age-y "Soulfly IV" and the mellow R&B groove of "Wings" — may try some fans' patience. Max Cavalera remains a bold artist in many ways, and should be commended for pursuing his musical ideas wholeheartedly, whether he pleases his hardcore fans or not. In fact, SOULFLY fans may be willing to go along for the ride, knowing Cavalera's penchant for experimentation in the past. "Prophecy" is a strong, if disjointed effort, yet SOULFLY itself sounds more and more like a project searching for new ground, instead of a growing and developing rock act.
To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appears next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).