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 eight-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.
- Max Cavalera - lead vocals, rhythm guitar (1997present)
- Marc Rizzo - lead guitar (2003present)
- Zyon Cavalera - drums, percussion (2012-present)
- Mike Leon bass, backing vocals (2015present)
Former band members:
- Jackson Bandeira (Lúcio Maia) lead guitar (19971998)
- Logan Mader lead guitar (19981999)
- Mikey Doling lead guitar (19992003)
- Marcelo "Cello" Dias bass, backing vocals (19972003)
- Roy Mayorga drums, percussion (19971999, 20012003)
- Bobby Burns bass, backing vocals (20032010)
- Joe Nunez drums, percussion (20002001, 20032011)
- David Kinkade drums, percussion (20112012)
- Tony Campos bass, backing vocals (20112015)
Former touring band members:
- Dino Cazares lead guitar (1997)
- David Ellefson bass (2003, 2006)
- Dan Lilker bass (2006)
- Johny Chow bass (20102011)
- Kanky Lora drums (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
- Igor Cavalera, Jr. bass, backing vocals (2015)
- 1998: Soulfly
- 2000: Primitive
- 2002: 3
- 2004: Prophecy
- 2005: Dark Ages
- 2008: Conquer
- 2010: Omen
- 2012: Enslaved
- 2013: Savages
- 2015: Archangel
- 2018: Ritual
Tropes for a tropes:
- Alternative Metal: Not so much recently, but a very, very straight example early on.
- Badass Beard: Max, Marc and Mike
- Bald of Awesome: Marc since 2008.
- Big Fun: Max when he connect to the fans during concert.
- 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
- I Am the Band: Max Cavalera.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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