Soulfly – Totem (Album Review)

Led by Heavy Metal veteran Max Cavalera, Soulfly has been one of the most consistent acts to grace the scene over the past twenty-five years. Formed after Max Cavalera departed from Sepultura, Soulfly, among his other projects, has undoubtedly solidified Max’s own path in the Metal universe. Now, remaining prolific, Max and Soulfly return in 2022 with Totem.
Their twelfth full-length studio album, Totem comes nearly four years after 2018’s Ritual; the last Soulfly album to feature long-time Lead Guitarist Marc Rizzo. A disappointment to fans when Rizzo left the fold in late 2021, some might wonder, does Totem let us down? Answering any the call of skeptics, it does not, because you are gifted ten new tracks that take shape within just around forty minutes of profound Heavy Metal music. Released on Friday, August 6th via Nuclear Blast Records, Totem finds Max once again teaming with his son, Zyon Cavalera, as primary creators. A great partnership of father and son, they are joined by Bassist Mike Leon, Studio Guitarist Arthur Rizk, other Cavalera family members, as well as an exciting guest collaboration from Obituary’s John Tardy. 
It all begins with the intense, loud “Superstition” where Max’s growling soars high over an in-your-face arrangement of guitar riffs. The pummeling continues when John Tardy joins on vocals for adrenalized “Scouring The Vile.” Thereafter “Filth Upon Filth” brings a sense of gloom that builds as it marches closer to you with a fierce approach. This is while “Rot In Pain” offers true to form Soulfly shout-styled vocals from Max; thus being perfectly Soulfly.  
Taking it back a bit, “The Damage Done” is a bit slower, but no less effective. Here distorted guitar and the powerful drumming of Zyon give you a sense of relentless, imminent doom. This is before the title-track, as well as the anthemic “Ancestors” and “Ecstasy Of Gold,” keep the album moving forward smoothly. And then for those looking for something more melodic, “Soulfly XII” hits the spot before “Spirit Animal” wraps things up with some extremely interesting dynamics of softer and louder tones that are married together quite nicely.  

With passion and great skill Soulfly put their best foot forward on Totem. Full of power and darkness, this album will please any Soulfly as well old school Sepultura fan; think the glory days of the legendary Thrash Metal Sepultura when Max still led on vocals. Well-balanced and a ride you will want to take more than once to let the music sink in, Cryptic Rock gives Totem 4 out of 5 stars. 

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