Personally, I haven’t really felt the same vibe from Soulfly like I used to back in the day when I first heard Back to the Primitive. However, Enslaved has really turned me around to adding Soulfly back into my daily playlist (if not in the car then later in the gym!) From start to finish, I thought the album was a great follow up to Omen. In my mind, I feel like Enslaved is much better than the past few releases, but still not the best we’ve seen from Soulfly. Having said that, let’s dig into some tracks that really caught my ears.
Resistance is the first track on the album, which is something I would personally listen to if I was a fighter in the Coliseum back in the old Roman Empire. Really gets you pumped up for the rest of Enslaved.
World Scum, the first hit off the album, hit me with a bass intro that really got my blood boiling. Tremolo guitar work, speedy drumming, and amazing shrieks oozed from my headphones. But wait, that doesn’t sound like Max’s vocals at all. Well, for you gore grind fans, that would be Travis Ryan of the mighty Cattle Decapitation (psst… their new album comes out May 8th)! Hearing both vocal abilities of Travis and Max is nothing short of tantalizing and I think it would be in their best interest to do a little side project EP or something. Later, at the 2:45 mark, Soulfly goes all black metal on us and really breaks the song down to a creepy, ambient track. Without a doubt, World Scum is one of the best tracks off this album.
Hey remember when I mentioned that Roman Empire thing… well another solid track off of the album is Gladiator. Not only do you get to scream “Hail Caesar!” throughout the song, but this song has so many memorable moments in it that I always crank the volume for this tune. Around the 1:17 marker comes the Middle Eastern sounding riff, which I happen to be a huge fan of. Bonus points to Soulfly for pulling at my ears just the right way. The song picks back up and really gets even the lightest of listeners bouncing around. The ending of the song is an epic as hell guitar riff with “Hail! Hail! Hail! Gladiator, Hail!” over it. After a handful of play throughs, Gladiator has also become one of my favorites off Enslaved.
American Steel also came off as a very strong track for me. The first minute or so is just a pounding wave of sound flying at you with a great scream from Max thrown in to spice it up. Then it hit me, the really cool bongo sounding percussive instruments! The song breaks down, along with my aching neck, while Max bursts out some really great lyrics.
“We against the world, Judgment day – The killing horde
We’re stronger than hate, stronger than all – We are the storm”
As you may have guessed by the album title, this album really focuses on slavery, past and present. American Steel really had me feeling as if Max was leading an uprising of slaves against some kind of owner of sorts. Oh and those Middle Eastern kinda riffs, they come back to wrap up the song.
The very next track, Redemption of Man by God, is another killer track from Enslaved. This track centers around the event known as Passover. No this is not a Metallica rip off. See for yourselves:
“The mark of the blood
Spare the first born
Penalty of death will pass over
The dark angel to kill the unborn
Unless you have the blood on your door”
Not only is the message easy to comprehend, the instrumentals fit the song perfectly from a fast get go to a slow wind down at the end, but we get another guest vocalist! Dez Farfara of Devildriver and the newly reformed Coal Chamber growls alongside Max on yet another great song.
Some other real key songs on the album I thought were:
1) Treachery – this song is thrashy as hell, and I am a huge fan of thrash. If you are too, this song will be a killer track!
2) Plata O Plomo – sure it’s not in English, but Tony Campo (oh yeah he’s in Soulfly now holy shit!) does vocals on this song as well as his bass duties. Oh and the acoustic guitars at the end made me laugh pretty hard because I didn’t expect them the first time, but they suit the song well.
3) The last track, Revengeance, showcases Max’s three sons musical capabilities. Richie does vocals, Igor Jr. picks up the ax as well as vocals, and Zyon mans the kit. A true family fun track there for everyone!
So my total, overall view of Enslaved? Solid album. Maybe not a great album per se, but a good album that holds enough respect to get a few spins. For Soulfly fans, I think you will be pleased with this release. For anyone else, I recommend trying out Conquer, Primitive, and Dark Ages a spin to get a good feel of what Soulfly is all about.