Release Date: October 19, 2018
Two decades into their storied career, Soulfly continue to engender near cultish zeal with each subsequent album and tour. In that sense, the group’s eleventh full-length, Ritual [Nuclear Blast], lives up to the promise of its name with a metallic ceremony of the highest order. The iconic gold-certified quartet—Max Cavalera [vocals, guitar], Marc Rizzo [lead guitar], Zyon Cavalera [drums], and Mike Leon [bass]—cast their word in bludgeoning riffs, thunderous percussion, and menacing growls. “I’ve always felt that metal is very ritualistic,” affirms Max. “I also like one word titles,” he smiles.
During 2018, Max and Co. began to prepare this latest body of work. Three years prior, Archangel marked something of a rebirth. Its extreme tendencies engendered unanimous critical praise and they toured with Soilwork, Decapitated, and many others. Notably, they also performed the classic Nailbomb debut, Point Blank, in its entirety on a much-praised 2017 run.
Returning from the road, they hit the studio with GRAMMY Award-winning producer Josh Wilbur [Lamb of God, Trivium, All That Remains] for the very first time. Drawing on longtime fandom, he immediately clicked with the musicians from behind the board.
A tribal chant builds behind an eerie wail before transforming into a neck-snapping groove on the album opener and title track “Ritual.” Elsewhere, double bass drives “Evil Empowered” as deft shredding steamrolls towards a soaring scream of “Rise above.”Continuing a long tradition of friends and family joining the ceremony, “Dead Behind The Eyes” welcomes Lamb of God singer Randy Blythe into the fray. He and Max lock into a deadly call-and-response in homage to Hellraiser that’s as vicious as it is vital.
Twenty-plus years since their self-titled debut, they maintain an unchallenged spot in true metal’s pantheon. However, Ritual represents a full circle moment for the group. Not only does it mark the band’s two-decade anniversary, but it also will be the third album to feature Max’s son Zyon behind the drum kit.
In the end, the Ritual sees Soulfly at its strongest.
“When you listen to this, I hope you can feel the real meaning of Soulfly and what it means to our Tribe,” Max leaves off. “Soulfly fans don’t have boundaries like many fans of different metal genres, and they can appreciate a variety of styles and spiritual topics. I am very proud of Soulfly after 20 years in the Metal world.Our Tribe is stronger than ever!”