Music / Soulfly

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Max Cavalera, the only member who will still be likely to be a member of the band by the time you read this.

A Heavy Metal band based in Phoenix, Arizona and formed by former Sepultura frontman Max Cavalera, Soulfly began as a genre stew, mixing elements of Groove Metal, Alternative Metal, Nu Metal, Thrash Metal and world music, including Reggae. The band moved away from the initial Nu Metal influence, placing more emphasis on Groove Metal for the albums 3 and Prophecy, but has since returned to Cavalera's Thrash Metal roots.

Partly owing to his reason for leaving Sepultura and forming this band was the death of Cavalera's stepson and best friend, Dana Wells. Other tragedies in Cavalera's life followed; the death of Lynn Strait resulted in Cavalera contributing to the Snot tribute Strait Up, and during the recording of Soulfly's fifth album, Dark Ages, Dimebag Darrell Abbott was shot to death during a concert, and Cavalera's 8 month old grandson Moses unexpectedly died due to health complications.

The band has gone through numerous line-up changes over the years, with the only consistent member being Max Cavalera. In addition to the line-up changes, a lot of Soulfly's music is collaboration-based, and built to accommodate a great deal of guest appearances.

Band members:
  • Max Cavalera - vocals, rhythm guitar (1997–present)
  • Marc Rizzo - lead guitar (2003–present)
  • Zyon Cavalera - drums (2012-present)
  • Mike Leon – bass (2015–present)

Former band members:
  • Jackson Bandeira (Lúcio Maia) – lead guitar (1997–1998)
  • Logan Mader – lead guitar (1998–1999)
  • Mikey Doling – lead guitar (1999–2003)
  • Marcelo "Cello" Dias – bass, backing vocals (1997–2003)
  • Roy Mayorga – drums, percussion (1997–1999, 2001–2003)
  • Bobby Burns – bass, backing vocals (2003–2010)
  • Joe Nunez – drums, percussion (2000–2001, 2003–2011)
  • David Kinkade – drums, percussion (2011–2012)
  • Tony Campos – bass, backing vocals (2011–2015)

Former touring band members:
  • Dino Cazares – lead guitar (1997)
  • David Ellefson – bass (2003, 2006)
  • Dan Lilker – bass (2006)
  • Johny Chow – bass (2010–2011)
  • Kanky Lora – drums (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
  • Igor Cavalera, Jr. – bass, backing vocals (2015)

Discography:
  • 1998: Soulfly
  • 2000: Primitive
  • 2002: 3
  • 2004: Prophecy
  • 2005: Dark Ages
  • 2008: Conquer
  • 2010: Omen
  • 2012: Enslaved
  • 2013: Savages
  • 2015: Archangel


Soulfly provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Alternative Metal: Not so much recently, but a very, very straight example early on.
  • Five-Man Band: The Dark Ages lineup, plus manager Gloria Cavalera.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble:
    • Max: Choleric
    • Marc: Melancholic
    • Zyon: Phlegmatic
    • Mike: Sanguine
  • Darker and Edgier: Soulfly's first albums (at least up to 'Prophecy') had a tribal/world music-influenced groove metal sound, and most of the songs were about spirituality, though had some aggressive moments. Starting with 'Dark Ages', the music started to tend towards thrash metal and death metal, and incorporated new lyrical themes like war, religion, slavery, politics... and left the spiritual themes behind.
  • Groove Metal
  • Heavy Metal
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Most of their songs are around an 8, but they go all over the place. The Soulfly instrumentals generally range from 1 to 5, sometimes alternating between passages. Whenever a clean vocalist guests on a song, it sometimes can drop a few levels, an example being 'Son Song', their duet with John Lennon's son Sean, which is a hard 6. Some of their later material after their sound shift to death/thrash (Dark Ages and after), can get as high as a 9, with Enslaved being a 9 for the most part.
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Soulfly's albums usually feature some kind of Heavy Metal mixed instrumentation from different parts of the world, and world music genres. Reggae, flamenco, tribal music, salsa, and even Country Music sometimes show up here and there.
  • Not Christian Rock: Many of Soulfly's songs deal with spiritual, pro-God subject matter, but Soulfly is definitely not a Christian Rock band, especially not with the occasional Cluster F-Bomb.
  • Nu Metal: In addition to the groove metal and thrash metal elements.
  • Religion Rant Song: Most of the songs about religion are actually anti-religious (but still pro-God).
  • Special Guest: Their first four albums (particularly their Nu Metal albums) were scattered with guest appearances. Even the Thrash Metal album Omen featured a couple of guests.
    • Max himself guested on the Deftones song "Headup", and in fact took the band's name from one of its lines.
  • Thrash Metal
  • New Sound Album: The band's first four albums were essentially a Nu Metal / Groove Metal hybrid, with world music influence and even Alternative Metal influence. Starting with Dark Ages, the band shifted into a Thrash Metal / Death Metal sound, similar to Sepultura's early material. Enslaved, the band's latest album, takes the Death Metal influences to a higher level.

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