Soulfly - _Conquer_
(Roadrunner Records, 2008)
by: Jackie Smit (
I'll be honest -- what at first really had me excited over the prospect of the latest Soulfly record had very little to do with the band itself. No, my reason for wanting to check this out was the announcement that Morbid Angel's David Vincent was going to feature in a guest vocal spot, and you can call me a sad, sorry son of a gun, but I was curious to hear what he sounded like after such long absence from recording booth. Lest anyone share my interest, I can tell you rather emphatically that Evil D's performance on "Blood Fire War Hate" is easily on a par with those he submitted on _Blessed Are the Sick_ and _Domination_. The new Morbid Angel cannot come soon enough.That said, it absolutely does not overshadow the fact that _Conquer_ is a helluva release in its own right. Forget the fact that Soulfly's last record, 2005's _Dark Ages_, already presented a healthy return to form -- this ornery beast renders it positively mundane by comparison by retaining a similar level of aggression, but letting it all hang out creatively as well. Indeed, you can hear the inventive hand of guitarist Mark Rizzo tweaking Max's traditionally straightforward onslaught to devastating effect, particularly on the likes of "Enemy Ghost", "Unleash" and "Fall of the Cypophants".Surprising too are the smatterings of jazz, tribal, dub, world music and classic rock that spice up the majority of tracks on offer here. While a marked departure from the band's norm, they sound neither tacked on, nor do they denigrate the intensity levels at all. In fact, the only glaring flaw on _Conquer_ is Max's continued inability to pen more than three lines worth of lyrics for each song. If you can ignore having the same verse repeated at you for the better part of four minutes, then _Conquer_ is easily the best record to have the Soulfly logo slapped on the cover, if not on a par with both _Roots_ and _Chaos AD_.
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