Album Review: Soulfly – Enslaved [10 out of 10]

By Andrew Bansal

After collecting a generally positive response from fans and critics for their previous effort “Omen”, Soulfly are about to release their eighth studio album “Enslaved”. “Omen” was the shortest album of Soulfly’s career, and the Max Cavalera-led outfit kept things really simple and heavy on that release. It revolved around pure brute-force, which went down really well with fans. The mere prospect of a follow-up album is intriguing in itself, and the band is now ready to deliver it.

There have been two line-up changes since that release, with Asesino’s Tony Campos joining in on bass, and David Kinkade, who previously worked with Norwegian band Borknagar, is the new drummer. Just like all of the past Soulfly albums, this one also features guest vocalists, Travis Ryan from Cattle Decapitation and Dez Fafara from DevilDriver. All in all, it looks exciting on paper.

“Resistance” is a 2-minute intro which provides a good build-up leading into “World Scum”, a hugely impressive track to say the least. This ominously dark and crushing Slayer-esque tune features death growls by the ever-insane Travis Ryan from Cattle Decapitation. Right from the outset, it’s quite clear that Tony Campos plays a more prominent role as compared to previous Soulfly bassists, while David Kinkade brings a strong European flavor with his unrelenting attack on the drums.

The album keeps getting better and better, as every subsequent song continues to carry out the album’s all-out assault on the listener, while each one offers something that’s unique to itself. For instance, “Gladiator” boasts of an epic chorus, and should turn out to a great addition to Soulfly’s live show. “Legions”, on the other hand, will stay in memory solely because of Marc Rizzo’s mind-blowing guitar work, and “American Steel” is straight-up thrash. The songwriting on this album speaks volumes for itself, and possesses the power to sweep listeners off their feet.

The seventh track “Redemption Of Man By God” is musically as good as anything else on the album. This is the one featuring Dez Fafara from DevilDriver, but honestly, the track would have been just fine without him, and I don’t think he makes any positive contribution to it. Nonetheless, Rizzo’s riffs solos are outstanding once again, and the progressive nature of the tune makes it an instant classic.

“Plata O Plomo” gives the album the Brazilian touch it needed, and just like Gladiator, this one looks like a certainty in Soulfly’s set list for upcoming tours. “Chains” is a surprisingly long and drawn out tune amidst a set of tunes that are much shorter. But its music has the ebbs and flows that justify its 7-minute duration. It develops tension brilliantly and explodes into life just past its half-way point. In fact, this transition is one of the highlights of the album and will send the listeners into a frenzy. The album then comes to an excellent end with the final tune “Revengeance”.

In my opinion, this is the best album Soulfly have ever come up with, and without any intent of disrespect towards former members, I also think this is the strongest Soulfly line-up. “Enslaved” is the kind of album I’ve been expecting from a Max Cavalera-fronted band for a number of years now, and it has finally materialized. I’m sure fans will feel the same way once they get to listen to this masterpiece. Amusingly, some people still think of Soulfly as a nu-metal band, but obviously they haven’t even made an attempt to listen to their last few albums. Long gone are the days when Soulfly were actually a nu-metal band, and “Enslaved” presents a style of music that will find widespread approval among fans of Slayer, early Sepultura and the likes.

Max Cavalera is at his peak as frontman, and so is Marc Rizzo on the guitar. The thunderous rhythm section of Tony Campos and David Kinkade amplifies the impact of the music even further, and on the whole, I have absolutely nothing negative to say about this album.

A fantastic effort set to enhance Soulfly’s reputation greatly, “Enslaved” is an instant classic.

Rating: 10/10

Record Label: Roadrunner
Release Date: March 13th 2012

Track Listing:
01. Resistance
02. World Scum
03. Intervention
04. Gladiator
05. Legions
06. American Steel
07. Redemption of Man By God
08. Treachery
09. Plata O Plomo
10. Chains
11. Revengeance