I want an hour of heavy metal fever from Max Cavalera! …And it was so, in the form of the third album from Soulfly, Max’s post-Sepultura band. This is kinda like that kid who sat next to you in U.S. History sophomore year: a dense and intimidating thing, capable of violence at any moment. Max still knows how to rock and how to scream, as he shows on “Downstroy” and “L.O.T.M.,” two finer examples of slash-and-burn-stylee you won’t hear all year: “The rhythm and the rage / The blood spills on the stage” (from the latter, which stands for “Last of the Mohicans”).
Yes, Max is still mourning his murdered stepson (“Tree of Pain” is almost unbearably intense), and yes, he’s still all charged up on the political tip — a track called “9-11-01” is a minute of silence, and it’s followed by a searing cover of Sacred Reich’s “One Nation.” But the most intriguing thing about this album is that Max seems to be wanting to branch out. “Brasil” is a hot stomp about his native land in his native language of Portuguese, “Soulfly III” is a really pretty and introspective instrumental, and “Sangue de Bairro” is a cover of a damned fine Chico Science tune, straight outta Recife. It’s kickin’ like Zhang Ziyi, and it might signal a new direction for Soulfly 4. For which I can’t wait.