Soulfly Talk "Enslaved", Extreme Music, and More
Mon, 26 Mar 2012 07:08:51
Soulfly spare no one on their brand new opus, Enslaved.
Not only is this the group's most brutal effort yet, but it's also the heaviest that Max Cavalera has ever been since Beneath the Remains. Tracks like "World Scum" and "Gladiator" temper distinct death metal punishment with grooves and hooks that will resound worldwide. That's the real genius of Enslaved. It's got the extreme bashing, but it's also got the classic Soulfly hooks. In other words, strap in tight and blast the motherfucker as loudly as possible…
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief, Soulfly frontman Max Cavalera talks Enslaved, extreme music, movies, and more.
Did you want to go extreme from the get-go for Enslaved?
Yeah, I told Zeuss I had some death metal ideas for Soulfly like double bass, blast beats, and super heavy riffs. I wanted to continue some of the Soulfly trademarks too though. The catchy choruses needed to be the same as "Eye for an Eye" and "Prophecy." Some of the rhythms we worked on with Marc needed to stay the same. I think the album is a combination of all that. I hear a lot of death metal stuff, but I still hear a lot of cool thrash that Marc did. There are also some great grooves like "Plato Plomo." There are a lot of rhythm changes on the record. Many of the songs are six minutes or five minutes. I wanted to make long songs with a lot of parts. They start fast and slow down. There will also be a middle section with a solo. Marc did some amazing things. There are some Pink Floyd-style solos like on "Treachery." We worked very hard to make Enslaved a different record, but I knew it was going to be extreme from the beginning. I knew David Kinkade could do extreme drumming so I really wanted to explore his work as a drummer. I knew we could make an explosive record that Soulfly needed. We needed something to kick our asses. Enslaved kicks our asses.
When did you first discover extreme music?
It was a long time ago back in the Sepultura days. I think Venom was the first extreme band I heard. They blew me away, man. I heard fucking Welcome to Hell and Black Metal, and I thought, "This is crazy shit!" Then, I heard Hellhammer, and it seemed like the end of music [Laughs]. I was like, "It can't get any heavier than this. It's so ugly, raw, and dirty!" It was sick. I got more into it. Then, I got into Bathory. Afterwards, I found American death metal like Morbid Angel, Death, Dark Angel, Possessed, and more. Of course, there's thrash too like Exodus and Slayer. I got into a lot of extreme music. I was a huge fan. It fit my life at that time because we were in Brazil. We were broke. We didn't have any money. We were pissed off, and this music was perfect for a third world pissed off kid. It fit our lifestyle. Life sucks, put on some fucking Venom and it makes things a little better.
What's the story behind "Chains?"
It's a classic, epic song. It was intended to be the last song on the record, but I switched it with "Revengeance." It still has that vibe of an ending. It's like seven minutes long. It builds block by block. It's like building a period. It starts very slow almost like Bolt Thrower. The nickname of the song was "Bolt Fucker" because the riff sounded like Bolt Thrower [Laughs]. We started working on it and adding more and more. It would be cool to play the whole song live. I'm excited to try it. I like how it's put together. It's about slavery. There are parts about The Middle Passage, which was what the ships coming from Africa to America and Brazil crossed. They say The Middle Passage was the worst experience. A lot of times, they would throw slaves in the water with chains and drown them. They were treated really badly. There were torture masks and bleeding backs. The album cover is actually a guy in a torture mask full of chains. Inside the ships, the air is full of disease so people would be breathing disease in the air. It's a heavy fucking tune musically and lyrically. In the end, it's trying to break the chains of slavery, become free, and find a way out. I think that's the message.
What would be the cinematic equivalent of Enslaved?
Probably Ben-Hur! That would be a good one or Gladiator. I got the idea for the song "Gladiator" from the movie. I really like that one. I like those epic movies like The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur, Doctor Zhivago, and Troy. I thought 300 was an awesome, brutal movie. A lot of those movies give me lyrical ideas. Ben-Hur is probably the closest to the record.
Are you looking forward to the Five Finger Death Punch tour?
I'm very excited! We were really happy they called us. They're good guys. We met them in Japan. We played a festival with them with Cavalera Conspiracy. When they came to Phoenix, I went to see them. They were headlining a radio festival in town. I got to meet them and they were really cool. They invited us to be a part of this tour, and it's awesome for us. We get to expose Soulfly to a bigger crowd with a new record. It couldn't be any better. It's going to be fucking great. I like what they do. They make metal that can reach a lot of people. It can be played on the radio. They do that the best. A lot of people can get into them. They're bringing metal to bigger masses. It helps everybody. I've been in this shit for a long time, and every opportunity I feel proud to take a part of.
Have you heard Enslaved?