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REVIEW: Soulfly – Limelight, Belfast

This tour is branded as the ‘Maximum Cavalera’ with Lody Kong and Incite featuring various members of the Cavalera family.

Both play short sets to a gathering crowd, before Australian “bloody racket” merchants King Parrot “warm” the crowd up for the main act. Bemoaning the current trend of watching a gig through a mobile, the audience are kindly requested to “stick their phones up their arses”. The vocals are so high pitched, and well just plain awful that it’s impossible to decipher if the musical output is actually any use. Vocalist Matthew Young seems to have copied his moves from Anselmo and Rollins, whilst his vocals were inspired by a banshee.

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The headliners Soulfly kick a brief set off with current album openers ‘We Sold Our Souls To Metal’ and title track ‘Archangel’, receiving a warm response from the respectably sized midweek crowd. Whilst Mr Cavalera displays a worrying lack of energy, his interaction with the audience is still that of one of the greatest metal frontmen of the past few decades.

An enthusiastic reaction to the fast-paced ‘Blood Fire War Hate’ from 2008’s ‘Conquer’ suggests that a large portion of the crowd are not merely in attendance to hear Sepultura covers and early Soulfly material. Considering the length of the set, the band can somewhat be applauded to an extent for including less obvious song choices like ‘Sodomites’ and ‘Prophecy’. A rhetorical question “You want some metal?” gets a predictable reaction, and the response to the anthemic ‘Refuse Resist’ is deservedly huge.

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Perhaps understandably, Cavelera seems more energized performing more recent material, and another track from the current release ‘Sodomites’ whilst sounding familiar. The elder statesman of nu metal, whether by choice or circumstance, seems content to whip the crowd up in between songs, rather than actually playing a (kind of) guitar or attempting to sing.

Tribe’ from the band’s debut album turns into an extended jam, but the vocalist speaks rather than sings large parts of the song, a problem once again apparent during ‘Back To The Primitive’. A quick blast through ‘Arise’ and ‘Dead Embryonic Cells’ keeps the “more mature” audience happy, whilst ‘Roots’ sounds as crushing today as it was 20 years ago.


Long-term guitarist Mark Rizzo does an amazing job playing two guitar parts for the majority of the set. Cavalera Snr’s two stringed guitar is largely there for effect these days, his musical input is distinctly minimal and in fact during solos he turns his back to the audience to disguise his (non) playing. Incite’s guitarist Dru Rome is bizarrely present for the entire gig-partially hidden behind an amp, twiddling nobs and effects pedals, leading gig goers to wonder what noise if any is coming from the modified instrument.

Max’s son Zyon (on his second shift, being a member of Lody Kong) does an admirable job on drums, whilst quite understandably not hitting the heavy heights of his uncle. The new songs, whilst strong are full of recycled ideas and riffs, and Cavalera Snr seems lethargic. With a grand total of fourteen songs from six Sepultura and ten Soulfly albums, a largely frustrating gig ends with the bizarre sight of Max exiting before the rest of the band, who remain onstage briefly to play a snippet of Iron Maiden’s ‘The Trooper’, a somewhat strange conclusion to a quite bewildering experience. 5/10.