Monday, May 17, 2010

Soulfly - Omen (2010)

Omen is ready to burst from the gates and into your ears. Don’t expect Conquer, which was heavily Egyptian. Don’t expect the heavily Brazilian Primitive. As a matter of fact, don’t even expect Prophecy-like subtlety. Don’t expect much seasoning. This is thrashy-crustpunky-grindy-death-tinged metal. That’s the best I can do (good luck pronouncing that). Oh and Rizzo? His best work to date. My goodness that man can wail. That’s not to say there isn’t some ethnicity thrown in here. We are talking about a band lead by the brain behind Sepultura and the guitarist behind the few moments of awesome that Ill Nino provided from time to time. There are a few parts where you’ll hear a sitar and some Egyptian-inspired solos/riffing; that is, however, it. I can count on two fingers the times I heard any ethnic drums. This is stripped down, late-Cavalera-era Sepultura stuff, just without that whole “Oh, we only need two strings on our guitars” vibe. Every string gets used here. The only exception is “Soulfly VII,” which feels extremely out of place on a record this, pardon the caps, BRUTAL. I can understand Max’s need to continue with his non-metal Soulfly mega-epic lead out songs, but it’s foreign here. Imagine an Emo kid hanging at a Cannibal Corpse concert. Knew you couldn’t. Most impressive on Omen is the groovy nature of the riffs. They’re punky and they’ll get you moving. There are some great hooks here. Yet, at other times Max and company will throw in some broken-down death riffs that remind you of Brujeria. Of course, worth mentioning yet again is Rizzo’s lead work. Phenomenal. Production is top notch, as expected, and feels much closer to the warmer, clearer mix featured on Prophecy rather than the more recent mid-heavy, low-passing filter that Conquer was seemingly run through. Max’s vocals are what they are. If you like em, you like em. This album also features a couple of guest appearances (a low count for most Soulfly records) from Dillinger Escape Plan’s Greg Puciato and Prong’s Tommy Victor. Both are good appearances, and Max lets them really own the songs they guest on. Puciato’s vocals really fit well with this type of music. It’s a shame Dillinger Escape Plan can’t turn up their distortion… The bottom line: if you’re into Soulfly, you will like this record. If you’re not a fan of their more tribal works, but loved Prophecy, give this one a spin. If you’re a fan of good metal in general, pick this up. If you’re reading this site and have read this far, just buy the thing.