“Do you like surprises, London?” This question posed by the legend that is Max Cavalera during Soulfly’s explosive return to London
was met with a resounding “yes!” by a
large gathering of old and new fans at Islington’s O2 Academy on Saturday, July 25th. And Cavalera did not
disappoint on a night filled with surprise, excitement and amazing performances
at one of this year’s most memorable gigs to date.
Support on the
night respectfully came from relative newcomers Design the Chaos and Incite.
It was something of a special occasion for Design the Chaos, who paid
tribute to their previous drummer who passed away a year ago to the day. This complimented their already
powerful set and made a great impression on the appreciative crowd. Managed by Max’s
wife Gloria Cavalera, Incite followed with an incredibly
tight, musically diverse, perfectly delivered set which attracted an ever
growing audience with each new song. Their acknowledgement of the fans, bands and
everything in between endeared them to all attending and confirmed Incite as a band to watch out for.
of restless chants, Soulfly took to
the stage, pulling no punches from start to finish and making no apologies for
it. Blasting off with a triple, back-to-back intro of “Frontlines”, “Fire” and
“Prophecy” blended into one almighty
rush, Soulfly were just getting started. The pace never slackened as they moved
into “Downstroy”, “Seek ‘n’ Strike”,
and “Blood Fire War Hate” with a
snippet from “Blitzkrieg Bop” thrown
in between change-overs. There was no dead air in their set, as Cavalera worked the audience like the
seasoned pro he is. Feeling like a small
pub gig and an arena event both at once, the energy throughout was complimented
by a wonderful sense of intimacy. A brief nostalgia trip followed with a
rendition of Sepultura’s “Refuse/Resist”. Although Sepultura tracks are dubbed covers at Soulfly shows, having seen both bands in the last year, one could argue
over who the cover band really are, as Max Cavalera owned every word and note with the
crowd mirroring his passion.
“Carved Inside” and “Bloodshed” led us into the only new track from Soulfly’s upcoming album, ‘Archangel.’
The anthemic “We Sold Our Souls to
Metal” was a huge crowd-pleaser, being
welcomed into the set list like a long-lost family member. “World Scum”, “No Hope = No Fear”, “Umbabarauma” and “No” fitted perfectly and continued to
rile the crowd as they headed towards the night’s first closer, “Rise of the Fallen.” The band returned for a mesmerising encore
with “Back to the Primitive.” Drummer,
and Max’s son, Zyon Cavalera, then respectfully
stood down having delivered an on-point set, allowing ex-Sepultura drummer Igor Cavalera to take the drums for the
classic “Roots Bloody Roots”, and the crowd erupted. Witnessing the
rhythm section brought by Igor Cavalera Jr.
on bass, accompanied by his father on drums, with Max fronting and Marc Rizzo proving
why he is not only an incredible guitarist but a blood brother to all standing
by him, was truly memorable to behold. Following
with “Roots”, this family affair levelled Islington’s O2 Academy to the ground
and had the audience clamouring for more. Zyon
returned to the kit to finish out the set with another back to back outro, “Jumpdafuckup”, “Eye for an Eye” and “Unleash” as Max bid goodbye to a
thrilled and exhausted audience as the band played him off stage to a snippet
of Metallica’s “Creeping Death.”
Soulfly brought their A-Game to London with a
lengthy set list spanning three decades; an on-point performance with heavy
crowd interaction that served as a reminder as to why Cavalera and Soulfly have endured throughout the years and will continue to endure.
Electrifying, powerful, and memorable, this was night not to be forgotten.