What Goes Around
Not since Download 2004 have Soulfly graced a stage in England so it's no surprise that tonight is sold out (as is pretty much every date on the gruelling 56 date tour!) as the band return on the back of their 'Dark Ages' album. It seems Max Cavalera can do no wrong, from his days with Sepultura, side project Nailbomb and now Soulfly he has always attracted a healthy hardcore of fans and they are not about to miss this opportunity to see him in action.
The crowd erupts as the band take to the stage and they waste little time before launching into 'Babylon'. The sound is excellent and it makes a big difference, Soulfly are for the most part hard, heavy and intense, so to be able to pick out each instrument in the mix just maximises the bands overall effect. 'Prophecy' follows and already those towards the back of the crowd are getting sucked in by Soulfly, it's certainly intense but it's also infectious and considering this is only the fourth date of the tour they are also incredibly tight musically, god knows what they will be like by the 56th date!
Max is clearly enjoying himself and engages the front rows of the crowd throughout the set, looking much the same as he ever does his voice holds up surprisingly well considering he was struggling with it earlier in the day. Guitarist Marc Rizzo breaks up the riffs with some accomplished squealing guitar parts, whilst at times drummer Joe Nunez becomes a blur. At times the bass of Bobby Burns does seem to descend to a rumble but when he does come to the fore he acquits himself well. I'm beginning to wonder what's happened to all the world music influences I've heard so much about when right on cue Max leaves the stage and Rizzo gives us flamenco style guitar backed with an almost reggae drum and bass style. The roadies then bring on three floor toms for a tribal style drumming section during which a member of the crowd is pulled out to play along with Max, it's not long before normal service is resumed however with a blistering version of 'Bleed'. The band are joined by Max's son Richie who takes on vocal duties and finishes the song by launching himself into the crowd. It's nothing if not entertaining!
A definite highlight is 'Back to the Primitive', which gets the capacity crowd bouncing and singing once more and it seems that whatever period of his career Cavalera culls the songs from (including side project Nailbomb with 'Wasting Away') he can't surprise the knowledgeable partisan crowd. This really has been a triumphant return for Soulfly and there isn't a dull moment throughout their 75 minute set. They may not be everyone's cup of tea but even the doubters would find it hard to deny that as a live band they certainly deliver the goods. There are no encores tonight but nobody is complaining and on this evidence Soulfly still have plenty to offer and certainly haven't lost any of their passion or enthusiasm.