Cavalera Conspiracy’s first album Inflikted reunited two of the biggest names in metal history. Their follow up release Blunt Force Trauma has proved that the Cavalera brothers mean business, and are rapidly making up for lost time. Its brutal mix of hardcore punk and thrash made it one of the most powerful albums of 2011.
Vocalist and riff master Max Cavalera spoke to Tonedeaf from his home in Phoenix, Arizona shortly before heading to Australia and New Zealand for the Big Day Out festival. I asked him what it was like to be sharing the stage again with brother Iggor and what around him influences his songwriting.
“There’s an energy that comes out when I play with Iggor,” he says through the static of the phone. “It’s very unique and it’s not like when I play with anybody else. I only have that with my brother and it’s something I’ve had with him from when we were kids, from when we formed Sepultura and when we first started playing music. That energy is still with us now and it’s something that’s been with us for 30 years. That’s pure energy that comes out of me and Iggor and that’s what you hear on the record, and that’s what you see when you go see us live. We give you that energy every night and it feels fucking great to just play live every night in front of the fans and share the songs with them. It’s the best feeling in the world.”
“When we got together after ten years of not speaking all the energy came back and we decided to work together and start writing new stuff and it all came very naturally. It felt great to write songs like ‘Inflikted Sanctuary’, ‘Blood Brawl’ and ‘Ultraviolence’. It’s a great record and it got really good reviews. A lot of people really liked it and I’m very happy we got to do a second one that’s even more intense. It’s heavier and more aggressive than the first one and I’m happy for that, I think it’s what people want to hear from me and Iggor.”
“We’re just going to keep on going and it feels great to do the Cavalera stuff. I’m glad to be taking it on tour around the world, showing everyone that the brother’s are back together playing metal and doing what we’re supposed to be doing.”
Both Cavalera Conspiracy records to date have been fast thrashy, hardcore records, far removed from Cavalera’s work with Soulfly. I asked Max if he has felt that these new songs have brought him full circle – to the heydays of thrash music.
“Yeah that’s what I started to play with Iggor and I mean that’s what me and Iggor do the best. When I made Cavalera Conspiracy I wanted to go back to that period of time. I wanted to shape our sound around the time of the Sepultura Beneath The Remains and Arise era which is more thrash, more direct with maybe a few more hardcore influences.”
“Cavalera Conspiracy has more of that energy and I like that. I think it’s killer to have shorter songs and just get your message across. You don’t need real long songs because you can say everything in a two minute and a half minute song and still have the same impact as a big song. This way it’s more direct, more in your face, harder, heavier and more aggressive and I like that about Cavalera Conspiracy.”
So what is it that helps him form this beautiful aggression? Max explains that inspiration lies all around him.
“Aggression comes from everything,” he states in his matter of fact style. “I get a lot of ideas from what I see on tour and from my traveling. I always keep a notebook with me and if I come up with a lyric or a name for a song I write it down and stuff like that. Other things come from the studio when we’re preparing an album. I love playing thrash, playing aggressive metal and fast music. In Soulfly right now we’ve got a new drummer. He’s an extreme drummer who plays more death metal and black metal who was playing with a Norwegian band called Borknagar. They’re very extreme so he used a lot of double bass and so I think the new album will be more extreme than the other Soulfly stuff. I feel very good about it and of course my stuff with Iggor is very metal and there’s no other influence allowed. We’re playing pretty much just strictly metal and it feels really good doing just that. I just love the fact it’s pure metal and no other influences in music are allowed in Cavalera Conspiracy. I wanted to keep it pure metal, just purely heavy and it feels good to be like that.”
It’s been well over a decade and a half since the Cavalera brothers have belted it out together on Australian soil and Max is anticipating something special.
“It’s fucking great man, I’m really excited,” he bursts. “I love the festival and I love the fact I’m coming with Cavalera Conspiracy because we haven’t been down there yet. We were supposed to go there with Judas Priest at one point but it got cancelled and now we’ve got the Big Day Out tour so it’s gonna be great.”
Yesterday marked the first day of Cavalera Conspiracy’s sideshows as part of the Big Day Out tour.
CAVALERA CONSPIRACY AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2012
Tuesday 24th January Panthers, Newcastle
Friday 27th January ANU BAR, Canberra
Saturday 28th January Metro Theatre, Sydney
Wednesday 1st February Billboard, Melbourne
Monday 6th February The Hi Fi, Brisbane