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Music / Soulfly

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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.

Band members:

  • Max Cavalera - lead vocals, rhythm guitar (1997–present)
  • Zyon Cavalera - drums, percussion (2012-present)
  • Mike Leon – bass, backing vocals (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)
  • Marc Rizzo - lead guitar (2003–2021)

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)


  • 1998: Soulfly
  • 2000: Primitive
  • 2002: 3
  • 2004: Prophecy
  • 2005: Dark Ages
  • 2008: Conquer
  • 2010: Omen
  • 2012: Enslaved
  • 2013: Savages
  • 2015: Archangel
  • 2018: Ritual
  • 2022: Totem

Tropes for a tropes:

  • 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.
  • Doom Metal: "Intervention" started as a typical thrash/death song, then it progresses into a mid-paced Groove Metal, eventually slowed down to doom metal.
  • Genre Mashup: Soulfly's albums usually feature some kind of Heavy Metal mixed with instrumentation and musical cues from different parts of the world. Reggae, flamenco, tribal music, salsa, and even Country Music sometimes show up here and there.
  • Protest Song: The bulk of their songs, especially from Dark Ages onward, are political in nature.
  • Religion Rant Song: Most of the songs about religion are actually anti-religious (but still pro-God).