I really enjoyed Soulfly's 2012 album, Enslaved; so I wasn't sure whether to be really excited or a little worried that Max and Co. had churned out another album so soon. I figured at least a hiatus or another Cavalera Conspiracy album would come first. But instead we had another round of Sepultura line-up reunion speculation. In any case, there are plenty of people who will jump to the comments section without even listening to Savages to dismiss whatever Max does due to some (ill-advised) Nu-Metal excursions he made over a decade ago. If this faux one-upsmanship makes you feel clever, then by all means. But for our purposes, let's try and look at Savages in its own context.
As usual with Soulfly albums, Savages starts out with a nailbomb to the face (see what I did there?) on "Bloodshed". Direct, straight to the point, the song boasts some catchy guitar work and easy to remember, easy to follow lyrics. I mean, it'd be pretty hard to forget "everywhere…is bloodshed!!!" Speaking of Nailbomb, the throat-slitting thrash of "Cannibal Holocaust" is very reminiscent of Max's earlier work. I also love the riff that kicks in at the bridge around 2:30. I also find it kind of funny that a band from Brazil would write a song with a title from a movie about cannibals living in the Amazon. Well, at least it's good timing for Halloween.
Some of the album's strongest moments come when Max lets his death metal side out more. This is what made songs like "World Scum" so awesome and the same approach works brilliantly on "Fallen". I really wish Max would do this more often, maybe even make an exclusively death metal album; I'd love to hear where he'd take it. With this in mind, "Fallen" is easily my favorite song on "Savages".
On the weaker side, there is the cover art…which is just kind of "meh". To be fair, after awhile it's probably tough to come up with new ideas for Soulfly album covers. But still, I would think they could come up with something a little more interesting. Then there are the lyrics. While they are far from cringe-worthy, I'd say at least some of them are just generally "shrug-worthy". But simple as they may be, the lyrics gel nicely with the style itself, not to mention the album title.
And yes, "Ayatollah of Rock N' Rolla" is a pretty silly title for a song, but any negative associated with this is instantly relieved by the presense of Clutch's Neil Fallon…and honestly, that dude can sing about whatever he likes and it'll be awesome. In general, the album's best moments are at the start with the first four songs, after which the album plateaus into familiar "Soulfly territory" (hah! I did it again).
All things considered, this is a good Soulfly album, and it doesn't really need to be anything else.
Favorite Songs: "Bloodshed", "Cannibal Holocaust", "Fallen", "Ayatollah of Rock N' Rolla"