Saturday, July 17, 2010

Review: Soulfly - Omen (2010)

Release Date: May 25, 2010
Length: 40:35
Genre: Groove Metal, Nu-Metal

Soulfly for years has been one of metals biggest bands. They've been known for their mixture of heavy music and traditional Brazilian sounds which have always come together to make a very cool and powerful sound. Lead singer Max Cavalera who left the band Sepultura in 1996 to form the band took the underground fame that Sepultura had with metalheads and ran with it. Over the years they have made solid album after solid album.

Since I have a real love for this band I was excited when their new album came out, but from the start I was a little bit taken back. When I listen to an album I'm used to hearing some kind of intro which I like because I think that it starts it off well but the first track, "Bloodbath & Beyond" sounded more like it should have gone somewhere in the middle of the album because it started with no rhyme or reason.

Throughout the whole album I found it to have that similar problem. It almost felt like Max Cavalera woke up one morning and thought to himself "Oh no, I have to record an album today" and just then kind of threw a bunch of songs together last minute. While the song structures were sloppy, it almost felt like he tried way too hard on the lyrics to make them "metal". One thing that I've always disliked about some bands is when they try way too hard to fit into that metal stereotype and a lot of the songs on Omen gave me that feeling. For example, the chorus of the song "Mega-Doom" was Max repeating over and over again "Welcome to mega-doom, enter the mega-doom, follow the mega-doom. Killing, bleeding, killing, bleeding, killing, bleeding". I'm a power metal fan so I like a good amount of cheesiness in my music but this was just over kill for me personally.

Another thing that I disliked was a real lack of any Brazilian music influence. On their previous albums it was very prominent and added a lot to the music but there was almost none on Omen and I really feel like it took away a lot from Soulfly as a band. It was really disappointing and I just personally don't understand why they would take that away from the music when they've always identified so well with Brazilian culture.

Now, I know I may be making this album sound absolutely terrible from start to finish but there are a few bright spots during it (Not many, but a few). One of the songs that I actually really enjoyed was "Rise Of The Fallen" which featured Greg Puciato from The Dillinger Escape Plan. Now, the reason I really liked it may be just because I love Puciato's voice but I think the mix between him and Soulfly really worked well. Another song that I enjoyed was "Great Depression". It almost felt like the kind of song that would be on one of their better albums (Minus the lack of world music).

The last track of the album, "Soulfly VII", was a very soft and calming instrumental which I felt really added salt to the wound of Omen being very poorly written. I mean, after the intro which really wasn't an intro at all and a full album that tried very hard to fit into that stereotypical metal sound with the lyrics and general sound, a calm instrumental song just made absolutely no sense to me at all.

Overall Omen was very disappointing and I would not recommend this album to anyone who's just starting to listen to Soulfly. The classics like Soulfly and Primitive are much better. This isn't the worst album I've ever listened to but at the same time it is very far from the best. With a new Cavalera Conspiracy album on the horizon it worries me about how that will turn out.

Grade: D
Notable Tracks: Rise Of The Fallen, Great Depression

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