Old elements brought back for a new groove
Ritual is Soulfly’s 11th album, and so far, listeners of the band have had a taste of the album in August with the release of the promotional single “Evil Empowered,” which is the fourth track on the album. If that song got people hungry for more, then they won’t be disappointed by the rest of the nine tracks. Ultimately, the way the themes found in Ritual are delivered pack a punch that’s well needed.
Last year, Max Cavalera, the vocalist and person who formed Soulfly, had announced that he planned to bring back tribal elements that the band had incorporated in earlier albums. Cavalera told Loudwire that “for this one, we really tried to retain the groove of early Soulfly as well as my love for the heavy, fast stuff I’m into, like death and black metal and some hardcore.”
By just the name of the album, Ritual, and looking at the cover art, it’s easy to see that Cavalera did bring back those elements promised. At first glance, listeners are already exposed to some of the tribal elements. As soon as the first song “Ritual” begins, it’s as if listeners are transported to a heavy metal Native American-like gathering. Out of the ten tracks, the first song and “Blood On The Street” are the only two that really incorporate blatant tribal sounds of drums and chanting. Compared to songs like “Tribe” from their first album, Soulfly, these elements aren’t as prominent but still are reminiscent.
Whether people have been listening to Soulfly since 1997 or have just discovered them, Ritual will capture their attention from “Ritual,” the first track, a five-minute introduction of the tone and themes that the rest of the album conveys, until track ten, “Soulfly XI.” Out of all the songs, “Soulfly XI” is the most surprising one because it is slower compared to all the other fast-paced songs. Honestly, it’s as if Soulfly wanted to send people off slow to reflect everything they took in from the songs they just heard.
As Cavalera stated to Nuclearblast, it’s time to “let the Ritual begin!”