Album Review: Soulfly – Ritual

Holy shit. Ritual is probably the best thing I’ve heard from Chez Cavalera since Max left Sepultura. The title track alone is enough to bring back memories of that era’s blend of incredibly heavy metal and tribal beats. While Soulfly haven’t been afraid to mix things up with other sounds – trumpet calls and the like on Archangel – this reach into the past combined with their own developing sound has absolutely nailed it.

“Dead Behind The Eyes” features a very recognisable Randy Blythe on co-vocals, as the pair sing about everyone’s favourite nightmare creatures, the Cenobites. A track that sandpapers you like early Sepultura, then gets all heavy later on it’s another example of the band spanning the styles old and new.

The album is filled with many similar numbers. “Blood On The Streets”‘ tribal percussion leading into a slow, heavy beat which just begs to be headbanged to. Oh, of course, there’s the obligatory flurry here and there to whip up a moshpit and a riff which bears a very passing resemblance to one buried in “Mass Hypnosis” – but you can hardly be guilty of ripping off your own music. “Feedback!” kicks off like a quality piece of Motörhead before twisting into something similar to one of those old South American punk covers that Seps used to do. And it’s brilliant. A song about playing live that should be played live.

There is an oddball on the album and it’s closer “XI”. Wending its way from the speakers like a piece of acoustic jazz replete with saxomaphone (thank you, Homer Simpson) it’s a very unusual track indeed. It’s not tribal, it’s not metal… it’s not even very rocky. I mean, musically, it’s pretty cool and all but it’s very out of place on Ritual.

I’ve enjoyed previous albums from Soulfly. I love Ritual. The band have just announced a North American tour with Kataklysm. Here’s hoping the pair can keep that going and head back over here in 2019.

Ritual is out on October 19th

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