Soulfly, Totem (Nuclear Blast 2022)

Soulfly returns with their twelfth album, Totem, and it is another earthshaker.

The beginning of Soulfly dates back to the mid-nineties. After leaving Sepultura, singer and guitarist Max Cavalera started the band, initially playing a kind of nu-metal that integrated influences from diverse sources. As the years passed, the compositions continued to weave in fascinating elements from world music while turning toward thrash and groove metal, and death metal as well. The new record, Totem, makes an even twelve full-length albums from Soulfly, and it is as creative and innovative as any in their canon. Zyon Cavalera (drums) and Mike Leon (bass) join Max Cavalera to create some of the biggest sounds you will hear this year.

The ten-track set opens with “Superstition.” You can sense the rampage coming from a mile off as the sound builds to an explosive level. Max Cavalera’s familiar voice immediately centers you and draws your attention to the mangling configuration. You are trapped by the whirling guitars, and there you stay until the end. “Scouring The Vile” loads next, and there is a seamless continuation into another situation of adrenaline-soaked menace and groove. Fast and chopping, this one breaks you open from the inside out. “Filth Upon Filth” is a tantalizing riot of surges paired with an arc of extra-sensorial guitar sincere enough to vibrate your molars.

These first three songs were released as singles before the full album dropped, and they set the stage perfectly for the rest of the music. There is a lot going on here. Witness “Rot In Pain” as a short ragged punch and compare it to, say, the title track where the groove has a bigger place and the song has a longer and deeper path, generally. Or “Ancestors,” which is itself dramatic and fascinating, with the epic closer, “Spirit Animal” – a song with some similar elements that are developed into a sustained assault and explored in fascinating variety. The perfectly matched segments, if you heard them separately, would seem to be from different songs but here in tandem coalesce into an unforgettable journey. This album is another triumph for Max Cavalera and Soulfly. Highly recommended.

Totem is out now through Nuclear Blast Records. Investigate the possibilities at the links below.

Links.

Order Totem here, https://www.soulfly.com/totem

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/SoulflyOfficial

Nuclear Blast Records, https://www.nuclearblast.com/eu/band/soulfly

© Wayne Edwards

Soulfly, Totem (Nuclear Blast 2022)

Photo Gallery: Healing Magic at The Vogue, Indianapolis, June 6th 2022

Healing Magic is on tour opening for Max & Iggor Cavalera and Warbringer. These photos are from their appearance in Indianapolis at The Vogue. Hit the link below for the full review and photos of the other bands.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Main FFMB article on the show, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/06/12/max-iggor-cavalera-warbringer-and-healing-magic-at-the-vogue-indianapolis-june-6th-2022/

Healing Magic, https://www.facebook.com/healingmagicaz

The Vogue, https://thevogue.com/calendar/

© Wayne Edwards

Photo Gallery: Healing Magic at The Vogue, Indianapolis, June 6th 2022

Kardashev, Liminal Rite (Metal Blade 2022)

The second full-length album from Arizona deathgaze band Kardashev is Liminal Rite.

Breaking ground in 2012, Karadshev is peopled by founders Nico Mirolla (guitar) and Mark Garrett (vocals), along with Alex Rieth (bass) and Sean Lang (drums), who both joined in 2019. With three EPs and the full-length album Peripety (2015) under their collective belt, the band now ventures forth on Liminal Rite. The style of music they play has received a variety of labels ranging from progressive metal to atmospheric deathcore and on to the catch-all post-metal. Most recently, deathgaze has been frequently leveraged as a description. As with most successful bands, the music of Kardashev has been growing and evolving with the passage of time.

There are eight principal tracks, an intro, and two interstitials on the new album. The story is spoken by drummer Sean Lang, and the music surrounds these establishing ideas. Talking about the narrative, Nico Mirolla says, “Liminal Rite explores how the past can both wound and seduce, leading us down a path of self-destruction. It’s an anecdotal tale from a fictional man’s perspective late in life on how perception and reality do not always coalesce. His experience tells a larger message of how our minds often create a false view of the past. Sean’s narration is him expressing the man’s perception and recollection of life. The failure of his memory, the nature of dementia, and how it plays into his experience are all encapsulated by the narrative sections.”

The music has a serious air about it, a sense that it is the result of a preponderance of manifest ideas that could not be contained. The spoken word passages begin on the first track, a short ramp into the blistering “Silvered Shadows” where percussion blasts and riffs rail against it all. Melodic vocals sweeten the harsh realities that are made solid by the growling, croaking singing that follows. The mixture is the paradigm throughout.

Stand-out tracks for me are “Lavender Calligraphy,” which is hopeful sounding and “Compost Grave-song,” which is the opposite. The final two tracks together run over twenty minutes, “A Vagabond’s Lament” and “Beyond The Passage Of Embers.” Taken together they lift my respect for this album, which was already climbing with each song that came before. The music here is challenging and exceptional, and not to be missed. Recommended.

Liminal Rite is out on Saturday, June 11th through Metal Blade Records. Examine the many varieties of physicals at the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://kardashev.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Kardashevband

Kardashev website, https://kardashevband.com/

Metal Blade Records, https://www.metalblade.com/kardashev/

© Wayne Edwards

Kardashev, Liminal Rite (Metal Blade 2022)

Incite, Wake Up Dead (Atomic Fire 2022)

Arizona thrash makers Incite break fresh ground with Wake Up Dead.

Leading up to the new one, Incite had released five previous full-length albums: The Slaughter (2009), All Out War (2012), Up In Hell (2014), Oppression (2016), and Built To Destroy (2019). Each and every one is a ripper. Traveling back to the band’s beginning you will find the same in the early EPs. It is metal fierce enough to rattle your molars out of their sockets. Incite is Richie Cavalera (vocals), Eli Santana (guitars), Christopher “EL” Elsten (bass), and Lennon Lopez (drums).

They come out swinging with “Fuck With Me,” a full force battering with whirling shreds and shattering rhythm. The narrative theme is violence, and it recurs in every song. Some of the songs, like “Sucker Punched,” sport a noticeable groove sliding right in with the thrash. Make no mistake: every song is a detonation. The compositions, while compact, all are designed for maximum impact. They fill the space around your ears and your brain with sparking, electrical energy.

I love “Mental Destruction” for the way it shakes up lines with syncopation and bends your expectations with crooked looks. Other big tracks for me are “Fallen,” with its dramatic intro that blossoms into ravaging melody and chorus, and the anchor piece, “The Slaughter.” That last one is a short, choppy piece that cracks open your windpipe then squeezes it shut.

Oh, and don’t overlook “War Soup,” featuring vocals by Max Cavalera. It is two generations of musicians working together to make metal we all want to hear. This new Incite album is my favorite of theirs so far, and that is saying something because the back catalogue has serious metal in it. Recommended.

Atomic Fire Records is set to release Wake Up Dead on Friday, April 8th through all the usual outlets. Look for it on CD, digital, and vinyl.

Band photo by Oleg Bogdan.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://incite.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/INCITEband/

Atomic Fire Records, https://visionmerch.com/atomicfire/

© Wayne Edwards.

Incite, Wake Up Dead (Atomic Fire 2022)

Flotsam and Jetsam, Blood In The Water (AFM Records 2021)

The fourteenth studio album from Flotsam and Jetsam is filled with surging power cranked up and delivered at a relentless pace.

Thirty-five years in, Flotsam and Jetsam are still on the rise. In 2019 the band released The End of Chaos, an album that was bursting with intensity. Blood In The Water is every bit as ambitious and has an even bigger payoff. This is a band that keeps getting better with each passing album. The current line-up is originators Eric AK (vocals) and Michael Gilbert (guitar) who are joined by Steve Conley (guitar), William Bodily (bass), and Ken Mary (drums).

The first Flotsam and Jetsam album I heard was Drift (1995), arriving almost ten years late to the show. I have no explanation for this missing the early signals but I can say that Drift had a big impact on me. Since then I have been an avid follower, addicted to the speed and adrenaline the music conveys. Blood In The Water offers up more of what I have come to expect.

There are twelve songs on the album, starting with the title track, a ferocious eruption that wastes no time on niceties. Each successive track is a new discovery, another step up. “Brace For Impact,” for example, has a soaring lead break setting up a contemplative movement that transitions back into furious metal. “The Wicked Hour” is a speeding car hurtling out of control down a dark desert road and “Reaggression” is dedicated to pummeling your sensibilities flat.

Even when the music has a slow start on songs like “Cry For The Dead” there is still an unmistakable passion and power to them. The closer is “Seven Seconds ’Til the End Of The World,” and it is filled with dire descriptions and warnings – and high-speed metal carried away on impossible percussion. It is incredible that Flotsam and Jetsam and still creating such exciting new music. Don’t miss out. Recommended.

Blood In The Water is out now. The AFM Records shop is a good place to go, and the band has a shop as well with more music and merch.

Links.

F&J website, https://www.flotstildeath.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/flotsamandjetsam.official

AFM Records, https://shop.afm-records.de/flotsam-and-jetsam/

Flotsam and Jetsam, Blood In The Water (AFM Records 2021)

Sacred Reich, 3 Re-Issues (Metal Blade Records 2021)

Metal Blade is re-issuing three classic Sacred Reich albums: Ignorance, Surf Nicaragua, and The American Way on February 12th.

If you are a thrash fan you know about Sacred Reich because they are one of the leading bands in the second wave of thrash back in the late 80s / early 90s. They are less well remembered compared to, say, Testament, mainly because they broke up for several years around the turn of the century and therefore there is a gap in their catalogue. The band came roaring back in 2019 with the studio album Awakening, which was very well received. That album was a bittersweet return to prominence following, as it did, the shocking death of founding guitarist Jason Rainey.

The three reissued albums are the band’s first full length studio record, Ignorance (originally 1987), the follow-up EP, Surf Nicaragua (originally 1988), and the next full-length, The American Way (originally 1990). These reissues all sound great, and fans are going to be thrilled to have newly minted products to set alongside their well-worn artifacts. If you are new to the band, these are the albums to start with in order to experience the majesty of the music from these incredible metal musicians. You will hear thrash just as sharp as any of their contemporaries, played with meticulous precision and set around themes that vary from social commentary to the absurd.

You can preorder these albums today – the drop date is Friday, February 12th. There are many variants in the vinyl to go along with the CD option. All the details are at the info link below. Recommended.

Links.

All the info: https://www.metalblade.com/us/news/sacred-reich-ignorance-surf-nicaragua-and-the-american-way-cd-and-lp-re-issues-now-available/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/sacredreichofficial

Sacred Reich, 3 Re-Issues (Metal Blade Records 2021)