For over the past twenty five years, Brazilian native Max Cavalera has been one of the most important figures in heavy metal music. Formed in 1984, Max’s first band, Sepultura (Portuguese for ‘grave’) proved to be one of the most original and ground breaking heavier bands of the early nineties. Mixing traditional heavy music with really striking elements of world music, this truly was metal, but not was we had known it.
The band broke through to a strong following across the world with classic albums like Chaos A.D. and Roots. Apart from an incredible sound and the truly astounding drumming of Max’s brother Igor was how pertinent the band were on a lyrical level and a live front.
After leaving Sepultura in 1996 and being replaced by Derrick Green, Max Cavalera formed Soulfly. While continuing and broadening the sound he had created with Sepultura. More percussive and aggressive on a sonic front than Sepultura, Soulfly tends to concentrate more on the negative aspects of human existence lyrically, dealing with such issues as war, hated, and aggression, while looking at matters spiritual and religious.
Apart from his brilliant rhythm guitar abilities, Max’s utterly guttural and crushing vocal style are once again to the fore. Sounding like he’s been eating sandpaper and gargling lava, Cavalera has one of the most distinctive vocal styles and abilities in modern metal music. Since 1997, the band has released seven albums, the most recent of which was 2010’s Omen.
Now reunited with his brother Igor after a long period of estrangement, he divides his time between The Cavalera Conspiracy, where he is once again making music with Igor, and Soulfly, whose eighth album, Enslaved, is set for release later in March. Featuring visceral, bone crunching tracks like “World Scum” and “Treachery”, this new album sees the band in fine form.
“Soulfly was a chance to make a new beginning,” begins Cavalera. “I really tried to take advantage of this and thought of Soulfly as a new way of making music. The idea of having different members constantly coming in and out of the lineup is something I like. It keeps the music fresh and exiting. I created Soulfly fifteen years ago. The popularity of Soulfly has really increased over the past few years. I really want to make the band as big as possible.”
“The new record is based on slavery. It is a topic that is heavy and aggressive. There are explicit examples of slavery throughout history, such as Africans being taken to countries in slave ships, such as America and Brazil. Also, you have your hidden form of slavery in the modern world, such as child labour in third world countries like Thailand and China making products for Western consumers.”
“The issue of slavery is somewhat political and I don’t see many other bands talking about it in music. I thought it would be a good and original topic for the record. I feel very good about making it and think it fits in well with previous Soulfly material. There are many moods and strands that weave their way throughout the Soulfly sound and ethos. Enslaved adds another strand to it,” says Cavalera.