In 1996 the metal world let out a collective groan as Max Cavalera announced his departure from a band he had played with since its inception in 1984. Max’s decision, made following a disastrous meeting held backstage after the band’s triumphant Brixton academy show in support of landmark album ‘roots’, caused dismay amongst Sepultura’s many followers and many pondered the fate of both the band and their fiery former singer. The split was made doubly tragic by the fact that Max’s brother, the phenomenally talented drummer Igor, remained with the band and it turned out to be a decade before the brothers would work together again.
In the interim metal fashions changed. Nu-metal reared its ugly head and vanished, industrial metal had its time in the sun and Max, ever the dabbler, experimented wildly with Soulfly releasing a slew of successful but often disjointed albums before truly rediscovering his mojo for the quite astonishing run of albums that began with ‘Dark Ages’ and continues to the present day with most recent release ‘Omen’ showing no sign of slowing down. However, it is not Soulfly that concerns us here but Cavalera Conspiracy, the name taken by the two reunited brothers (augmented by ace guitarist Mark Rizzo and bassist Johnny Chow) to show the world that they were once again ready to shake things up. The first album, ‘Inflikted’, was a mighty fine beast, angry, thunderous and given weight by Joe (Gojira) Duplantier’s massive bass sound and many fans were happy just to see the brothers reunited over an album that was gloriously thrash-orientated; but now Cavalera Conspiracy are back to lay waste to metal crowds a second time, and with a new bassist and ex-Soulfly/Machine Head man Logan Mader once again on board as producer, the results are astonishing.
Opening with the gleaming, chrome-surfaced thrash of ‘Warlord’ it’s clear from the off that BFT is a state-of-the-art thrash beast of the most aggressive tendencies. Less experimental than his day job, Cavalera Conspiracy seemingly allows Max to give vent to his more primal instincts and the result is a ferocious outpouring of anger and venom aimed at a variety of targets from Jihadi warriors to torturers with the music providing an appropriately apocalyptic soundtrack. Like ‘Inflikted’ before it, the key here is the sheer vitality and exuberance displayed by the unbeatable combination of the Cavaleras in full flight and you can feel the energy and sheer joy of the brothers screaming out of every track. Like hearing a band playing together for the first time, BFT is an explosion of raw metal power and the glorious production job lays it all out for the audience with clarity and precision allowing everything from Marc Rizzo’s energetic soloing to Max’s guttural bellow space to shine.
It’s not all positive. There is an argument that Cavalera Conspiracy lacks the diversity of Soulfly and therefore loses impact and it is an argument with some merit. Like all truly violent albums it can become a blur, but this is offset both by the song-writing nous that Max has always had and by the sheer levels of energy exuding form the speakers. There is also the matter of Max’s lyrics which, although dealing with interesting, intelligent and necessary issues, are often quite simply put and shot through with unnecessary “mother***ers” which, in my opinion at least, often lessens the impact of what is being said. Nonetheless Max does tackle some brave subjects indeed and he does so in a way that is familiar to hundreds of thousands of metal fans around the world and it doesn’t detract from the quality as a whole.
On the plus side, however, there are the SONGS. Huge, scything riffs; massive tribal drums and Max’s scorched-earth roar all combining to create a tsunami of sound aimed squarely at your temple. Played with a youthful energy and aggression rarely equalled and with some scorching leads from Marc Rizzo (who just seems to get better and better), with few exceptions this is savage thrash at its very finest and you’d have to be picky indeed to remain inured to its charms. Throw in a cover of Black Sabbath’s ‘Electric Funeral’ which simply rules (special edition only – sorry folks) and you have a masterful, aggressive beast of an album that will set your summer ablaze.
Special Edition Notes
Roadrunner, and Max Cavalera specifically, have been most generous of late with the last two Soulfly albums appearing with full concert DVDs and now this new Cavalera Conspiracy album pulls the same trick. Offering up a DVD of the band’s complete Eurockeennes performance from France, you get as a bonus the band roaring through ‘Inflikted’ highlights as well as some Sepultura gems including ‘Propaganda’, ‘Refuse/resist’ and ‘roots’. As with the Soulfly DVDs the quality is as good as you could wish for and it is a generous bonus that will please CC and Sepultura fans. You also get the promo video for ‘Sanctuary’ thrown in for good measure. Given that the Special Edition currently only costs a pound more on play.com than the regular edition you’d be foolish to miss out!
Disc 1- Album
3. Lynch Mob
4. Killing Inside
6. I Speak Hate
8. Genghis Khan
9. Burn Waco
11. Blunt Force Trauma
12. Psychosomatic [bonus track]
13. Jihad Joe [bonus track]
14. Electric Funeral [bonus track]
Disc 2 – Live at Les Eurockeennes Festival, Belfort, France 5 Jul 2008/DVD
5. Doom Of All Fires,
6. Inner Self/Nevertrust
7. Arise/Dead Embryonic Cells
8. Desperate Cry/Propaganda
9. Wasting Away
10. Black Ark
11. Holiday In Cambodia/Biotech Is Godzilla
12. Hearts Of Darkness
14. Troops Of Doom
15. Must Kill
16. Roots Bloody Roots