Given his stunning discography, Max Cavalera can be excused a few lapses, with Soulfly’s output since 2008’s devastating Conquer patchy at best.
Clearly last year’s blitzkrieg assault of Pandemonium from Cavalera Conspiracy has helped Max rediscover his teeth, with Archangel the heaviest, most thrilling thing the metal icon has put his name to in years.
Bookended by the death metal payloads of We Sold Our Souls To Metal and Mother Of Dragons, the album thrums with crushing riffs, ferocious abandon and a monolithic weight of presence as each player leaves everything in the studio.
The title track’s epic summoning recalls Behemoth’s blackened majesty, Sodomites and Titans magnificently evoke catastrophes and monstrous beings of mythology, while even the more straightforward crunch of Bethlehem’s Blood crackles with renewed force. The atmospheric chants add to the haunting menace of Shamash while King Parrot’s Matt Young lends his demented pipes to the pulverising mosh of Live Life Hard! with the chorus of ‘Go hard or go home, go hard or fuck off!’ sounding like a thrilling call-to-arms over Marc Rizzo’s simple yet seismic riffs. Just 36 minutes and trimmed of all fat, this is a colossal effort. Welcome back, boys.