I was reminded by a good friend that the last time I saw Soulfly was some eleven years ago, at the 1999 Big Day Out in Sydney. I also saw them the night before at the Coogee Bay Hotel, in the infamous ‘Selinas’ concert room.
Back then Soulfly was still considered Max Cavalera‘s ‘other’ band, formed on the back of his departure from Brazilian thrash legends Sepultura. Reinvented and rejuvenated, the Soulfly of today is every bit as loud, heavy and politically charged as ever.
Looking every part the elder statesman of modern heavy metal, Cavalera‘s vocals are as ball-tearingly strong and emotionally wrought as at any time in his twenty or more year career. The dreadlocks are longer, the beard is scruffier, and the tattoos are fading – but that voice? Well, to quote Soulfly themselves, the song remains insane.
Attracting a mixed crowd of hipsters, punk rockers, long hairs, nu-metallers (and their mums and dads), The HiFi also played host to two fresh support acts.
Fronted by Max‘s step-son Ritchie Cavalera, new outfit Incite warmed up the crowd perfectly. With a tight, heavy, clean sound, these young guys are certainly heavy metal’s up and comers.
Canadian melodic-bordering-on-prog metallers City of Fire provided an interesting if not unexpected interlude. Rising from the ashes of Fear Factory and Strapping Young Lad, this Burton C Bell fronted outfit kept the mood light, keeping us warmed up, but also suitably mellow in preparation for the main course of the evening.
But Soulfly blew the all out of the water. As always, new and old Soulfly material was interspersed with Sepultura classics, including Roots and Troops of Doom. Cavalera and guitarist Marc Rizzo even treated us to a few bars of the opening riff and chant from Pantera’s gritty anthem Walk.
As usual (in this reviewer’s humble opinion) The HiFi provided great sound overall, but lacked atmosphere. However it mattered little in the face of Soulfly‘s perfect metal storm.
2010 has already been, and continues to be, a great year for metal tours in Australia. Soulfly have certainly made their contribution.