One of heavy metal icon, Max Cavalera’s longest running bands, Soulfly, have released the first single from their incoming new album. That single is called Evil Empowered. Evil Empowered will feature on the band’s 11th studio album, Ritual, which is set for release on the 19th of October via Nuclear Blast.
It has been 3 years since the last Soulfly album, 2015’s Archangel. You can read our thoughts on that one here. While that is a reasonably long gap, it is actually more impressively short than you would originally think looking at how busy frontman and main song writer, Max Cavalera has been in that time. Alongside guest appearances on albums like Body Count’s Bloodlust, Max released their latest Cavalera Conspiracy album, Psychosis, toured that album around America and went on a long run of shows with his brother, Igor Cavalera, celebrating their time in Sepultura and the album Roots under the banner of Max and Igor Return to Roots. Max does not stand still for long!
Since Soulfly’s formation way back in 1997, they have changed line up quite a bit with only Max remaining as an original member of the band today. Joining his vocals and rhythm guitar skills is his extremely talented son, on drums, Zyon Cavalera. On guitars is Marc Rizzo and finally, on the bass we have Mike Leon.
Speaking about Evil Empowered and Ritual in a press release, Max said “For this one, we really tried to retain the groove of early Soulfly as well as my love for the heavy, fast stuff I’m into: like death and black metal and some hardcore. Working with Josh Wilbur for Soulfly this time around has been amazing. He’s a huge fan and added a lot to the record. I would fight for the fast songs and he would always push me to add more groove. I think in the end we created a really cool mix of songs that covers a lot of ground in my career.”
Evil Empowered is definitely on the harder and heavier side of Soulfly, often sounding more than a little comparable to the hard hitting Cavalera Conspiracy material we are used to. Weighing in at just slightly over 3 and a half minutes long, it really goes for the jugular from the off. A quick guitar note is followed by speed drumming to make Igor proud. A higher pitched lead guitar joins in the frenzy offsetting the punishing bass line and riff nicely. As Max’s unmistakable growls start, the main riff turns to a groovier chug with rhythmic drumming. Max sounds full of fire and brimstone as he bellows out his lines.
There is a real stomping, head banging feel to the track now but that gets washed away by a brief explosion of drums and soloing which acts as the break between verses. The second chorus ends with a squeal of guitars making you expect incoming chaos. Instead the song moves into a groove laden instrumental section topped off by a cool little solo. Max comes back in with more fire and anger for another chorus that fades out and now here comes the carnage. Furious drumming, slapping bass tones and speed riffing bring the song to it’s close as Max roars over the top.
Evil Empowered is a really strong slab of fiery fury. It definitely keeps a little of that Soulfly groove but large chunks of it wouldn’t be out of place on a Cavalera Conspiracy album. Either way, it is a really good track with a cracking riff and supremely impressive drumming. If I had to offer a criticism, it is only that it is about as predictable a Max Cavalera song as you could imagine. Don’t expect any massive change of direction or inclusion of new elements. Evil Empowered is exactly what you would expect to hear when you hear Max has a new song out. It is still good though.
Evil Empowered is available for streaming at all the usual places such as Spotify and Apple Music. Preorders for the new album, Ritual are available from Nuclear Blast, here. Keep up to date with Soulfly news by checking them out at their Facebook and Twitter pages or at their website.
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Evil Empowered by Soulfly (Ritual)
The Final Score - 8/10