Review : SOULFLY – "Omen"

SoulflyOmen
Release: 2010May25
Label: Roadrunner Records
Rating: 3.5/5

They say that two points determine a line; three points confirm it. Now, Soulfly‘s fourth album in a row with the Cavalera-Rizzo-Burns-Nunez combination solidifies the core of this band. Co-produced by Logan Mader (ex-Machine Head), Omen continues to comfortably reintegrate thrash into their groove-heavy arsenal, and demonstrates how well they have developed.

I shuddered when I saw the lead track was named “Bloodbath and Beyond”, but was floored when I actually heard it. 2½ minutes of blistering thrash blasts out of the gate, ushering in the best first half of a Soulfly album this side of 1998. “Rise of the Fallen” features the first of two excellent guest collaborations. Greg Puciato of The Dillinger Escape Plan dynamically takes center stage on vocals, with Max only lending his throat to repeating the song title in the chorus. On the other hand, “Lethal Injection” is a more balanced attack with Prong‘s Tommy Victor. If you pick up the Deluxe Edition, you can hear Max’s sons Zyon and Igor play on the covers of “Refuse/Resist” and “Your Life, My Life” (respectively).

I’ve said it a hundred times, Max Cavalera needs a musical foil. This was Andreas Kisser in Sepultura for many years, but when the split occurred, it took a few albums before Mark Rizzo entered the Soulfly picture. Rizzo is the Slash to Max’s Axl, or perhaps more appropriately, the Randy to his Ozzy. His youthful flair and multi-disciplinary musical background are nothing but assets.

I like David Ho’s eerie illustrations, as the seven deadly sins are all represented, and echo the apocalyptic themes throughout Omen. Songs like “Kingdom” and “Mega-Doom” cover this territory most directly. I prefer the former, with more unique riffage, less reliance on repetition, and excellent vocals from Max (especially the chorus).

Curious is their song about Jeffrey Dahmer, which seems most out of place here. Not only does it feel poorly timed, naming him a “master cannibal” or “master of the gruesome” is inappropriate on a number of levels, and the topic is minimally detailed.

Omen contains some of the band’s finest moments in years. These veteran musicians have really come into their own. Now seven albums deep, Soulfly displays a maturity matched only by their ferociousness.

FCC OK
Try 1, 2, 3, 4, 7

01. Bloodbath & Beyond
02. Rise Of The Fallen
03. Great Depression
04. Lethal Injection
05. Kingdom
06. Jeffrey Dahmer
07. Off With Their Heads
08. Vulture Culture
09. Mega-Doom
10. Counter Sabotage
11. Soulfly VII
12. Four Sticks (Led Zeppelin cover) (Bonus Track)
13. Refuse/Resist (Sepultura cover) (Bonus Track)
14. Your Life, My Life (Excel cover) (Bonus Track)

~MetalMattLongo

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