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Album Review: Soulfly – Archangel

SoulflyArchangelMax Cavalera has to be one of the busiest guys in metal at the moment; balancing three bands.  Soulfly’s 10th album, Archangel, continues the barrage of thrash they have perfected over the years.  We Sold Our Souls to Metal opens the album in blistering speed and angst followed up by the bone-crushing Archangel.  Despite a revolving door of musicians entering and leaving the fold, Soulfly manages to maintain a staunch level of continuity.  There aren’t any real surprises with Archangel, but in terms of band progression, album #10 is a step forward for the band compared to Savages and Enslaved.  Overall, Max Cavalera shows no signs of slowing down and Soulfly’s Archangel is evidence of that.  For a ripping good time…purchase, hit play, and try not to break anything.  3.75 out of 5

Label:  Nuclear Blast

Release Date:  14 Aug 2015

Songs:  13

Length:  46 Minutes

Previous Albums:  Soulfly (1998); Primitive (2000); 3 (2002); Prophecy (2004); Dark Ages (2005); Conquer (2008); Omen (2010); Enslaved (2012); Savages (2013).

Location:  US/Brazil

Previous Album Reviews:  Savages, Enslaved, and Chaos A.D.

Metal Meets Yoga

cropped-mudra-sans-faceIn the last couple of months I picked up this thing called yoga.  You might have heard of it.  That thing where you do strength and flexibility poses and it’s supposed to make you strong, limber, and cleansed in the mind and body.  Ask a yogi and they will probably give you a more philosophical answer to what yoga does for a body.  In layman’s terms, all I can tell you is that I feel freakin’ good when it’s over.  I am getting more flexible and stress-free and that’s kind of important at my ripe old age of 40.  I attribute my progress specifically to my twice-weekly sessions.  See, only twice a week and I have come so far.  Who says they don’t have time for this?  Anyway.  When it’s over, I feel like all I need is a shower and a bed – I feel so relaxed.  Something must be working and I found that I am starting to “need” these yoga sessions twice a week.  It’s kind of addicting. Read the rest of this entry

Reggie’s Essential 25 Favorite Instrumentals – #25, #24, #23

Warlock-Metal-Master-Blade-MMWGSVBKI love the power of a good instrumental song.  Sometimes they can be energizing or even relaxing depending on the band’s intent with the song.  Some bands use an instrumental song to display a different, sometimes softer side.  And, sometimes an instrumental is a collection of left over riffs and drum parts that didn’t make the final cut.  Or, perhaps they just couldn’t find the words to go with the music.  However they are composed, the instrumental song is a track I look for and hope to find on any album; though there are some bands where it’s almost an expectation.  This is list comprised of 25 word-less songs that I find essential to my music library.  I wouldn’t sweat over the exact order, but yeah the ones at or near the top of this list are definitely my favorites.  I know there are many more instrumental songs out there, but these are mine…so to speak.  This list is also limited to only three per band and only one band made this list three times.  Enjoy!

#25 Soulfly – V

This song is part of a running theme of self-titled/numbered songs that appeared across numerous Soulfly albums.  It definitely showcases a more subtle approach to the songwriting and often incorporates jazzy elements.  V appears on the 2005 release of Dark Ages.  It comes in at just over 10 minutes and features two main parts. First the rhythmic calming section, then a focused acoustic solo.  Overall, it is definitely a softer side of Soulfly, but not something that is so out there it’s a head scratcher.  It suits the album nicely.

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Album Review: Soulfly – Savages

p180qd50onvdi1uic19eo1rs71eis4Consistency is certainly the key when it comes to Soulfly.  It doesn’t take them long to record albums; the largest gap they had was three years between Dark Ages and Conquer.  Other than that, their output averages about two years per album until now.  Their 8th album, Enslaved, was released recently in 2012 and here we are already with Savages…album #9 which also happens to be the first father/son Soulfly album where Max Cavalera’s son Zyon is now a permanent member.  Zyon did appear on Enslaved as a guest.  Did the new additions make a difference?  Well, let’s just say their consistency not only lies in album output frequency, but also in song composition.

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Themed Thursday – Soulfly Challenge

After reading heavily-varying degrees of admiration or disdain for Soulfly’s new album, Enslaved, I have gone back to listen to their older material to see how much (or how little) the band has changed.  I guess your opinion on the matter depends on your interpretation of what Soulfly should sound like after all these years.  The foremost vibe I get from the blog world is that they (we) miss more of that tribal influence that made Soulfly stand out among other thrash/death metal bands.  In my opinion, Soulfly was a continuation of where Sepultura’s Roots left off.   Currently, my opinion seems to differ from the norm on the lack of tribal influence over the course of Soulfly’s last few albums.  I do like the new music, but I do miss the sound of old Soulfly.   I miss it more than I thought after listening to some crushing early tunes.  On the other hand, Enslaved is a pretty bad-ass album. This brings me to the theme of the week.

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Album Review: Soulfly – Enslaved

I prefer not to read other album reviews before I write mine because I do not want outside interference with how I really feel about an album.  In this case I went against my gut and read about three or four Enslaved reviews.  They all complained of the same thing, predictability.  I don’t understand.  These reviews come from the same metal fans that crucified Metallica for trying something different, but now they crucify Max Cavalera for NOT coming up with something different.  Yes, all of his bands; former and present do having striking similarities.  Is that reason enough to stop listening to Soulfly?  Don’t get me wrong, I love it when a band goes against the grain and shatters my expectations.  But, I also find it comforting to know there are some bands that I can count on to give me what I expect.

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Video of the Week – World Scum

I had something else planned for the video of the week, but I just got wind of a new video I thought you should know about.  Soulfly just released a new video for World Scum from their forthcoming album scheduled for release on 12 March 2012.  It’s some of the heaviest Soulfly I have ever heard.  Here it is; have a great weekend!

Monday Metal Madness: Max Cavalera

Max Cavalera certainly has been busy over the years.  Would you say he watered himself down, can’t find himself, has ADD, or is a musical genius?  Some say Sepultura crashed and burned when he left and took the band’s identity with him.  Other say Cavalera Conspiracy is the new Sepultura…or what Sepultura should be today.  Soulfly, of course, is somewhere in the middle.  Or perhaps you like (Derrick Green) Sepultura better than all of this. Have you ever heard of Nailbomb?  Given the choices, which incarnation of Cavalera do you like the best, if any?  Have you seen any of these bands live?  Your vote doesn’t necessarily have to be based on the video.  These are just here for reference.  Happy voting!

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Theme Thursday – Fundamental Instrumental

Call it a filler, call it a waste of space, or call it bits and pieces of leftover music.  Better yet, call it art.  However you want to describe an instrumental metal melody, they seem to be part of many artist’s repertoire.  You can usually find an instrumental song at the end of an album or at the beginning and sometimes somewhere in the middle where it seems purposeful.  An instrumental can be used to set up the feel of an album.  Just ask Ensiferum about that, they do it well.  An instrumental can be used to close out an album; a nice subtle way to say “until next time my friends.”  Chimaira’s last two albums were closed out with instrumentals…damn good ones too.

One might think that a prog band is more likely to produce instrumental songs.  Actually, a wide variety of metal genres produce instrumentals some more than others.  Maybe prog tips the scales a bit more than most, but you can find instrumentals in just about any genre even in death metal.   Some bands surprise you with an instrumental.  Check out Megadeth’s Dialectic Chaos off the album Endgame.  Megadeth isn’t a band that mass produces instrumentals.  It was a nice surprise to hear one from them.

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Theme Thursday – A Decade of Thrash

What is your opinion of the standard thrash recipe?  Do you think thrash as become weak over the years, stayed the same, got better, or a little bit of everything?  Does thrash make you want to puke or snap your fingers…snap your neck?  The theme for this week is going to focus on thrash from 2001-2010.  Not so much the bands themselves, but the songs that define the music.  I will cover the last 10 years with a few words on what’s out in 2011 already. Part II of this theme is that all the songs I talk about fit onto one CD-R.  If you like the tunes I picked it makes for a great mix.  I  will let the playlist do the talking and by all means feel free to comment.

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