On Soulfly’s sophomore album, Primitive, Max Cavalera invites a few friends to experience his continued transformation from former thrash-rocker to enlightened troublemaker. He attacks stereotypes (“Bring It”), embraces his Brazilian culture both lyrically and musically (“Mulambo” and “Terrorist”), and tosses in American hip-hop (“In Memory Of…”) for good measure. But if it is the tried and true you want, then a few songs combine down-keyed guitars and pounding drums (“Jumpdafuckup” and “The Prophet”). The strangest but most compelling collaboration is with Sean Lennon on the emo-inspired “Son Song.” Cavalera and Lennon share nearly identical histories in that their fathers died when they were very young, and they lament by singing, “So many years / I still wonder where you are?” In keeping with that tradition, “Soulfly,” even without lyrics, is probably the most dense and dramatic song on the album. It truly does conjure a soul in flight, catapulting Cavalera’s metamorphosis into a thinking, feeling metal master.
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