Released: 2011, Roadrunner Records
It's debatable as to whether or not Max Cavalera or any other member of the familial quintet known as the Cavalera Conspiracy count themselves amongst Dying Fetus' fanbase, but for someone who spent many an adolescent day and night blasting their seminal effort PURIFICATION THROUGH VIOLENCE, the expression "blunt force trauma" sets a certain level of intrinsic expectation. This was, after all, the title of the opening track to an album that was accompanied by the rather tongue-in-cheek declaration that it was too heavy for standard audio equipment by some reviewers - and perhaps rightly so. Slap that on as the moniker to an entire album and you certainly have a fair bit to live up to.
It hasn't helped of course that Max has been quoted as likening Cavalera Conspiracy's sophomore effort to Cannibal Corpse, when really anyone whose followed the man's career post-Sepultura should know better than to believe his oft exaggerated claims. Turns out this record is no exception in that regard. With his Soulfly writing partner, Mark Rizzo, handling lead guitar duties, BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA isn't a particularly pointed departure from anything that Max has delivered over the past five years. The only real difference is the presence of a vastly superior drummer in Igor Cavalera whose performance is not only stunning, but the actual production thereof is amongst the best I've ever heard. Meanwhile Mark Rizzo's traditional, melodic solos remain as fleet fingered as ever, and still sound grossly at odds with the neanderthal punk/thrash riffing that tends to be the staple of pretty much every one of BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA's eleven cuts. And then of course there's Max himself, his voice still as gruff as ever, his lyrics continuing down a slippery slope to intellectual oblivion. It seems almost unfair to criticize that aspect of the man's make-up, given that English isn't his first language, but lest we forget that this is the man responsible for the infinitely more thought-provoking words to classics like "Arise". Here we have to make do with an endless slew of persecutionist tirades - the sort of acne-induced rambling you'd expect from a fourteen year-old as opposed to a grown man in his mid-forties.
Thing is, that's where I may have missed the point, as I'm not so sure that BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA was written for dusty old farts like me. And to give these devils their due, the record boasts a couple of truly stellar moments, most notably "Ghengis Khan" and "Thrasher". It's the wait between those hits that's almost too painful to bear.