Released: 2008, Roadrunner Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
When it was announced that Max and Igor Cavalera, the long-estranged brothers and founders of seminal Brazilian death-thrash pioneers, Sepultura, had not only made amends but were also recording together again, the news spread like wildfire across the metal community.
And understandably so.
The bitterness between the Cavaleras first began in 1996 and while Max split from Sepultura to form his eclectic, world music-inspired metal project, Soulfly, the original band soldiered on through four studio albums with lukewarm results. When Igor unexpectedly left the fold in 2006, the long-rumored Sepultura reunion rumors were quashed as the drummer began doing DJ gigs. Just as quickly, though, the rumors began swirling again when Max reached out to Igor and the two spoke for the first time in a decade.
Rather than revert to the past, the brothers are looking ahead to the future with the formation of Cavalera Conspiracy, a metal band that has its roots (no pun intended) in Sepultura’s ARISE-era thrash, with a bit of Nailbomb’s punk-laced hardcore and a modern sheen laid over top of everything. Along with the Cavaleras, Max’s guitarist in Soulfly, Marc Rizzo, is on board, as well as Gojira’s Joe Duplantier to round out the lineup on bass. Whether this is a one-off project or a full-fledged band has yet to be divulged but based on INFLIKTED’s eleven tracks, Max and Igor have set out to win back the Sepultura fans left disillusioned by the path taken by the band since ROOTS was released twelve years ago.
First single “Sanctuary” and “Terrorize” are indicative of the overall tone of the album. Fast, thrashy and brimming with attitude, Max hasn’t sounded this angry since CHAOS A.D., while Igor races along behind everything, wavering between tribal beats and full-throttle hammering. “Bloodbrawl,” arguably the best track on the album, is a richly-textured song that bookends Max’s scathing vocals with a stunning outro piece from Rizzo. Fans of Max’s work in Nailbomb will love “Nevertrust” with its anti-everything lyrics and slightly industrial vocals. The title track and “Hearts of Darkness” with their mid-tempo chug and lots of nifty guitar work from Rizzo, are accessible but also aggressive with plenty of speed. Max’s trademark downtuned four-stringer powers through with noodly riffs but once Rizzo grabs hold of the solo, he shreds like a madman. Lyrically, “Must Kill” is a bit silly, especially once the droning, robot-like mantra of “must kill, must kill” repeats itself over and over through the final third of the song, but the head-bobbing groove is undeniable.
Naturally, there are a few stinkers, too. “Ultra-Violent” is sure to divide fans with its slow, chugging groove that owes plenty to Korn—a sore spot among Sepultura fans who feel that band's nu-metal influence spoiled ROOTS. “The Doom of All Fires” bears a strange resemblance to The Bloodhound Gang’s “The Roof Is On Fire” and the spoken vocals likely won’t win many friends, either, nor will the hardcore-style gang vocals of “Dark Ark.”
INFLIKTED is a solid album that will be plagued by comparisons both founded and unfounded. Soulfly’s early nu-metal leanings and the haphazard releases of post-ROOTS Sepultura were muddled and forgettable but there is plenty to like about Cavalera Conspiracy's first outing. Anyone expecting Max and Igor to recapture the glory days of MORBID VISIONS and ARISE will be sorely disappointed but this is also the most straight-forward metal album either brother has released in years. Considering INFLIKTED seemed to come together rather quickly, there may be some re-working of leftovers and song bits here (Max is the exclusive writer of both music and lyrics on all but two tracks) but if another album gets squeezed out, it will be interesting to hear what Cavalera Conspiracy can do once they gel as a band. Until then, we can rest easy knowing the First Family of Brazilian Heavy Metal has patched up its differences and are returning to create kick-ass heavy metal once again.
KILLER KUTS: “Sanctuary,” “Terrorize,” “Bloodbrawl,” “Nevertrust,” “Hearts of Darkness,” “Must Kill”