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Album Review

Soulfly – ‘Totem’ [Album Review]

Soulfly return with the twelfth album of an incredible twenty-five year career. Read our thoughts on ‘Totem’ here.



For as long as I can remember Max Cavalera has been one of the most active members of the metal scene and, as one of his numerous bands, Soulfly, head into the 25th year of their career, they do so with Totem, their first new material in four years.

As Totem slams into opener “Superstition”, the material finds Cavalera at his most raging. Now, for Cavalera diehards, the ferocious death metal/punk mash up won’t come as any surprise, especially those who have followed his more extreme projects like Go Ahead and Die. Totem continues this format with the filthy “Scouring The Vile” where the guttural tones of Obituary howler John Tardy adds an extra layer of slime to proceedings. The album continues at a hundred miles an hour through the scorching “Filth Upon Filth” where Cavalera utilizes more of a thrashier groove, an element which pops up regularly throughout their twelfth album. Elsewhere “Rot In Pain” finds the more punkier element of Slayer’s material dueling with the balls out raucous death metal brutality that provides the core of Totem’s sound.

By the time the album reaches the title track, you start to see Cavalera pulling together influences from many different areas. From ear-bleeding thrash to nu-metal bounce to spitting, snarling punk, Soulfly blend it all together into one mixing point of fury. Couple that with Cavalera’s continued exploration of his cultural roots and you end up with a powerful, unrelenting offering from the man. If it’s just good old headbangers you want though, “Ecstasy of Gold” should satisfy that itch.

Of course, for all the neck-snapping fury associated with Cavalera, it wouldn’t be a Soulfly album if there weren’t moments of diversity infused into the fury. Those moments come during “Soulfly XII” a chilled-out instrumental which leads into the final cut “Spirit Animal”. A nine-minute powerhouse of a track, Cavalera combines his metallic punch with his cultural roots adding in an energy-draining solo from Chris Ulsh of Power Trip to wrap up Totem, this twelfth Soulfly effort in the most epic way he could. A superb end to another quality addition to the Soulfly catalogue.

Totem Track Listing:

01. Superstition
02. Scouring the Vile
03. Filth Upon Filth
04. Rot in Pain
05. The Damage Done
06. Totem
07. Ancestors
08. Ecstasy of Gold
09. Soulfly XII
10. Spirit Animal

Run Time: 40:09
Release Date: August 5th, 2022
Record Label: Nuclear Blast

I have an unhealthy obsession with bad horror movies, the song Wanted Dead Or Alive and crap British game shows. I do this not because of the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle it affords me but more because it gives me an excuse to listen to bands that sound like hippos mating.