AMSTERDAM – The career of metal singer/guitarist Max Cavalera (41) spans more than 25 years. In May the former Sepultura frontman released Omen, the seventh record of his current band Soulfly. “In a way, Dark Ages, Conquer, and Omen are three of the same kind”, Cavalera states.
Cavalera left Sepultura in 1996 after internal struggles and went on to form heavy metal band Soulfly a year later. The group debuted in 1998 with a self-titled album. Looking back on the records his band has made so far, Cavalera is particularly proud of 2005's Dark Ages. “I think Dark Ages was a turning point in Soulfly's career, as we decided to go heavier, more aggressive.”
“I found metal again. I was experimenting a lot in Soulfly and that was good, but the Max that people remembered was the Max of the metal from the Sepultura days, the Arise and Chaos A.D. days.” Both the fans and Cavalera wanted to return to that period. “I like that trash vibe that Sepultura had”, he says. “I wanted to bring that back to Soulfly, and make some more fast stuff. Mark [Rizzo, guitarist, ed.] wanted to play fast anyway. I decided to make a darker, heavier album, and that was Dark Ages.”
According to Cavalera, Dark Ages and its follow ups Conquer (2008) and Omen form an unofficial trilogy. “I don't know why it feels like a trilogy, but it does. I think the next album is going to be different again. It is probably still going to be heavy, but it will stand on its own more rather than be part of these other three.”
It could well be that Cavalera returns to the idea of Roots, a Sepultura record from 1996. That cd, Cavalera's last with Sepultura, was recorded with members of the Brazilian Xavante tribe. “I think that the idea can be reproduced somewhere else in the world. With the Tuareg tribe in Sudan or the Maori tribe in New Zealand for example. Roots was like National Geographic meets metal.”
“I want to do it again”, Cavalera says. “I think I can do it one more time. I just got to find the right time. Maybe the next album will be the right time.” On that record Soulfly will have to do without bass player Bobby Burns: a couple of days ago record company Roadrunner announced that he left the band.
Omen was released on May 25th via Roadrunner
Soulfly live: www.soulfly.com/tourdates
Interview: Martin Kuiper
Text: Tom Springveld