Chris Akin of "The Classic Metal Show" recently conducted an interview with SOULFLY mainman Max Cavalera (ex-SEPULTURA) about the band's forthcoming studio album, "Ritual". You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the "throwback" nature of "Ritual" that re-introduces some of the tribal elements heard on the band's earlier albums:
Max: "Yeah, we were really digging deep into the archives of SOULFLY and decided it was a good time to look back at the origin, the roots of what made SOULFLY exciting in the first place. We decided to make a record that has all those elements, so 'Ritual' is a little bit of going back into some of the early records like 'Primitive' and 'Soulfly I' and 'Prophecy', but also going forward with the stuff I listen to from extreme metal and stuff that I love. It's a combination of both. I think that's what makes 'Ritual', to me, so cool. Also, the producer, Josh Wilbur, I cannot say much more of how amazing it was to work with him. He was pushing for a lot of the more groove elements on the album and I was pushing for more of the thrash/death metal songs. I think because of that friction of I'm pulling this way, he's pulling the other way, we're meeting somewhere in the middle. That's why the record, I think, came out so powerful like that. It was great working with Josh on 'Ritual'. I couldn't be happier with the songs, especially the song 'Ritual', because for me, it's already a SOULFLY classic song. It feels like a classic of the ages already. I think a lot of SOULFLY fans will really love this track and I'm excited for them to hear the rest of the record in October."
On whether Wilbur is responsible for SOULFLY focusing more on the groove elements of their sound:
Max: "I think it was kind of why we wanted to work with him in the first place. I go on tour a lot and for many years, I always kept hearing from a lot of the fans, 'Man, it would be cool if you go back to the tribal stuff from the early records.' I didn't do it for a long time, not until 'Ritual'. I think it was the perfect time to do that and with the right person. Josh came in as a fan, that was the other thing that was kind of cool — he's a huge producer with Grammys like [for his work with] MEGADETH and stuff like that, but he came in as a fan and for him, he said his three favorite records are [SEPULTURA's] 'Chaos [A.D.]', 'Roots' and 'Soulfly I' and he wanted that Max. He wanted the kind of the raw, tribal Max in a lot of the songs. We got that, which I think is cool. I think he helped dig deep in me to kind of bring that Max out so we could have songs like 'Ritual' and 'Bite The Bullet' and I'm being a fan of extreme stuff, that's how you got stuff like 'Under Rapture' with Ross [Dolan, IMMOLATION] and 'Dead Behind The Eyes' with Randy [Blythe, LAMB OF GOD]. 'Dead Behind The Eyes' is a phenomenal thrash song that could have been on [SEPULTURA's] 'Schizophrenia' or 'Beneath The Remains', easily. I think it's cool. I think he was the right guy to do this album and he elevated us. It sounds amazing — his production is always super-great. We didn't have to worry about the sound and I was more worried about the lyrics and the riffs and the songs themselves. At the end of the day, I think I achieved what I wanted, which is a more complete SOULFLY record than the other ones have been. I think it's cool. I think 'Ritual' comes at a great time. Twenty years of the band and also a cool era, 20 years of SOULFLY, so it's cool to have this record come out right now."
On whether he can use any leftover songs from "Ritual" for other outlets like CAVALERA CONSPIRACY and KILLER BE KILLED:
Max: "I was very, very happy with [CAVALERA CONSPIRACY's] 'Psychosis'. To me, it was one of my favorite records that I've ever done. A lot of times, these kinds of records are really hard to do and 'Psychosis' was very cool because I really clicked with my brother big-time on it and I think that's why it came out so good. We even heard from other musicians like Nergal from BEHEMOTH, who loves 'Psychosis' and other people have said cool things about the album. Although I didn't really have too many leftovers from 'Ritual'. I think we used everything. I'm kind of empty of ideas right now, to tell you the truth. I did it so much, going from 'Psychosis' straight to 'Ritual'. It almost drained me a little bit. I need to tour for a while and not think about a new record until next year, at least. But, yeah, I would still like to do a heavier, heavier project apart from KILLER BE KILLED, just with some other heavy dudes that like death metal and black metal. I could probably get together with them and do another project because there's no limit. It's fun. It's metal and people love it. So, why not? I'm friends with a lot of really cool musicians out there and I listen to their stuff all the time. It won't surprise people to see something heavy coming out in the next couple of years from a new project coming down the road from us."
On whether CAVALERA CONSPIRACY/SOULFLY lead guitarist Marc Rizzo gets the credit he deserves:
Max: "Marc doesn't care about that stuff which I think is one of the qualities he has. He doesn't give a shit. He loves what he does; he loves playing in SOULFLY; he loves working with me. We are totally connected. He gives 150 percent every show, no matter if there's ten people or ten thousand, which is rare. Sometimes when there's not a lot of people, it's hard to go out there and still be excited and he does it. I do believe he's underrated big-time, but I'm kind of happy about that because if he gets too big, then he will go away. He will join a big band. I'll be out looking for another guitar player and it would suck. It would really suck to lose Marc. I'm kind of happy. It's almost like a secret thing that we have, this treasure that we have. He's fantastic. He's an amazing guitar player. I sit sometimes around the dressing room just to hear him play. Just go in the dressing room to hang out while he's practicing just to hear him playing some of the flamenco sections in the dressing room or when he's just shredding. He's killer. He is a true, true guitar hero."
"Ritual" is due October 19 via Nuclear Blast Entertainment. The follow-up to 2015's "Archangel" was produced, recorded and mixed by Wilbur (KILLER BE KILLED, LAMB OF GOD, GOJIRA). Cover artwork was painted by artist Eliran Kantor (TESTAMENT, ICED EARTH, SODOM). Additional booklet art was handled by Marcelo Vasco (SLAYER, HATEBREED, KREATOR), who also handled the package design.