Soulfly - Archangel
Nuclear Blast
Groove Metal
10 songs (36:39)
Release year: 2015
Soulfly, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

One of the perennial complaints I have about Max Cavalera's output in general, and Soulfly in particular, is that he produces too much in too short a space of time, leaving us fans picking through it in search of gems. Tenth full-length Archangel manages to avoid the immediate pitfall of last outing Savages by being a full two years later and half as long, their shortest album yet at a mere thirty-six minutes to Savages' painful hour. Even with Max keeping the same lineup as before around him, from usual guitarist Marc Rizzo to journeyman bassist Tony Campos (Asesino, Fear Factory, Ministry, and many others) and son Zyon on drums, I was quite looking forward to hearing Archangel, not let down by first single and galloping opener We Sold Our Souls to Metal having the by now typical Soulfly death-flavoured groove with a welcome touch of melody. And then I heard the rest of the album...

What many will complain about upon hearing Archangel is the descent into the nu metal-tinged groove of the past, and it's all over this album, the title track only saved by Marc Rizzo's guitar leads and soloing while Sodomites is a total throwback to Max's Bible-themed sermonising of yesteryear. (And am I the only one who raised an eyebrow at that song title and its connotations?) There's a notable move away from the Bolt Thrower and Napalm Death influences that popped up on the last couple of albums, and although that was growing a little tired in Soulfly's hands, it was still better than the regressive pounding that you hear on Ishtar Rising. After that, the high-pitched guest vocals of King Parrot's Matt Young give Live Life Hard! a welcome hardcore bluntness that the groovy riffs align with comfortably. The following Shamash indulges Max's esoteric, trippy side and uses the metallic aggression to good effect accordingly atop a morass of melodic weirdness, ditto for the Middle Eastern-tinged Bethlehem's Blood, albeit to a lesser degree.

Yet neither is exactly classic Soulfly, having neither the marvellous catchiness of songs like Prophecy or the brutality of World Scum. The hint at thrash in the opening to Titans is soon forgotten as the track devolves into groovy nothingness, and the hilariously fake backing choirs at the end are almost as bad as the lyrics to the following Deceiver (“From your mouth/Shit comes out/I know what you're all about/Spreading lies and misery/Why don't you face reality”). And as for album finale Mother of Dragons, complete with guest vocal spots from Richie and Igor Cavalera Jr, it's as forgettable as everything else, even with the woeful Game of Thrones-referencing theme. I suppose it's all good enough for fast food metal, that you hear, nod along to, and then forget, and if Max is happy producing that sort of music now then fair enough.

But I remember when a Soulfly album was cause for real, brow-furrowing arguments as to the direction of metal, when the Soulfly series of instrumental tracks were interesting enough in their own right to sell albums and when even nu metal's taint wasn't enough to make Max's output as downright uninteresting as this. Sadly I didn't have access to this album's bonus tracks, not included with the promotional copy, which aside from the expected Soulfly X apparently included a cover of Napalm Death's You Suffer. Imagine the studio conversation which led to the idea that a band as big as Soulfly covering a 1.3 second grind bellow was a good idea! And if your reaction to this band has ever been “...meh” then feel free to ignore this accordingly.

Killing Songs :
Live Life Hard!, Shamash
Goat quoted 60 / 100
Other albums by Soulfly that we have reviewed:
Soulfly - Savages reviewed by Goat and quoted 65 / 100
Soulfly - Enslaved reviewed by Goat and quoted 88 / 100
Soulfly - Omen reviewed by Goat and quoted 79 / 100
Soulfly - Conquer reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 /100
Soulfly - Dark Ages reviewed by Al and quoted 89 / 100
To see all 9 reviews click here
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