Soulfly Prophecy
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I won't go into the history behind it, but the splintering of metal stalwarts Sepultura has left both parties recording albums that never fully feel as great as when they were all together. Former Sepultura frontman Max Cavalera left the band and created Soulfly, largely in tribute to his murdered stepson. The first album released by Soulfly featured a number of famous metal and rock names and showed off Max's more experimental nature with both ethnic themes and various musical styles while infusing more than enough thrash metal to keep fans happy. But, now that Soulfly is on it's fourth album, the formula is starting to really grow stale.

The album starts off well enough, with a handful of straightforward thrashy, powerful metal tracks. The title track, Prophecy lays in with wailing guitars over a grimy layer of sound and some well patterned beats. This is followed by Living Sacrifice, which is as straightforward as any metal song really can get. Track three, Execution Style, is a powerful, catchy track that's quick, brutal and too the point. This quickly shifts into Defeat U, which is punky in delivery. By the time you hit Mars, track five, you're feeling good about the album. It may not be breaking any metal barriers, but it's no-bull**** metal that doesn't screw around...

...and then halfway through Mars, the album shifts focus. The song itself devolves into an experimental, acid-jazz/reggae bastardization that isn't bad in itself but feels really awkward. While I Believe follows with a harsh power groove opening, the fact is that the rest of the album begins to take on a more experimental nature that really dilutes what Soulfly could (or should) be doing - making great thrashy/groove metal. Moses feels more like metal/reggae that hasn't totally been ironed out. Not bad, but still out of place.

After that, Born Again Anarchist is yet another quick and dirty track that almost ushers in the end of normalcy on the album. Porrada opens with an ethnic acoustic piece that shifts into a high-speed metal piece - feeling like a totally disjointed track. This is followed by Soulfly's cover of In The Meantime, originally written by Helmet.

I won't kid you - Max's yelling rasp is getting pretty tired. He sounds the same as he did many years ago. Since he's unwilling to change his vocals, Soulfly brings in guest vocalists, like Danny Marianino (Defeat U) and Asha Rabouin (Wings, I Believe) to at least help in providing a larger range of vocals to the formula. On top of this is that the lyrics haven't gotten much better. They're repetitive and full of tired catch-phrases that might have been passable ten years ago. To end the album, listeners are given a lengthy instrumental (Soulfly VI) and tearful ballad (Wings), both of which deflates any power the album still had at this point.

Prophecy is a good start, but feels like it deteriorates into a bunch of experiments that are slapped together. If you don't mind Max's experimental attempts, by all means grab this album. But, be warned that it's nowhere near as good as his work in Sepultura or the first Soulfly.

- - Vane

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