CD Review: Soulfly, Omen

Soulfly’s main composer and front man Max Cavalera has been brutally consistent with his brand of metal over the course of seven studio albums. Fans will be relieved that the same head-banging quality is there, but as a reviewer one does not simply want to say “more of the same” and move on, for that seems like the lazy way out of a review . . . and simply would not be true.

Cavalera has always had a love for nu metal-inspired grooves and word-beat rhythms, but on Omen we see more evidence of a return to the Thrash-inspired speed of Cavalera’s former band, Sepultura. Cavalera is not simply rewriting the same 10 songs over and over — not to say that he doesn’t steer close at times. Some riffs are certainly derivative of previous heavy metal efforts; many a head banger will listen to “Lethal Injection” and scratch their heads thinking, “Where have I heard these riffs before . . . Slayer, perhaps?”

Soulfly has never been a band renowned for its complex or poetic lyrics. In fact, most of the time words are screamed out at a rate of one syllable per breath. As simple as the lyrics may usually be, they are often emotionally and politically charged, or conjure religious images — heck, the band is basically named after Cavalera’s devotion to God — but this time around things get a touch strange. The opening track “Bloodbath & Beyond” literally rips off the name of a GWAR home video, and later there’s an entire song that seems to be honouring Jeffrey Damher — again, the way shock monsters GWAR might do. I say honouring because how else can you describe a chorus that says “Jeffrey Dahmer, master cannibal”?!

In the end, said strangeness can be forgiven, for it is blended into a riptide of fast riffs, thundering rhythms and throat shredding vocals. Few metal-heads can deny this album’s worthiness.

— William O’Donnell