30 November 2014

Cavalera Conspiracy - Pandemonium

Max Cavalera has long been a musical hero of mine, ever since I first heard "Chaos A.D" as an impressionable fifteen-year old. After that, it was onto the rest of his then-band Sepultura's discography and also his side-band Nailbomb. Growing up in the 90's, he seemed to represent the 90's metal scene at the time, along with other stalwarts like Pantera, Fear Factory, Biohazard, Machine Head (Or anyone on Roadrunner Records at that time!). His brother Igor (Or Iggor on occasion) wasn't far behind, what with being the drummer of Sepultura at the time. He was - still is - one of the best drummers in the metal scene. Together, they were one half of Sepultura, a band who seemed destined for greater things...

Then it all went tits-up over in-fighting and Max left and formed nu-metal band Soulfly, who seemed destined for great things also but by the second album ("Primitive"), it seemed that maybe they were not going to be the game-changers people thought they'd be. "3" only confirmed it. This was because a) they'd taken everything that was great about "Roots", watered it down so that it was as weak as cheap lager and b) Max seemed to lack confidence in his abilities to go it alone, he had half a dozen guest appearences on each album which further lessened the impact. And let's be honest - it was nu-metal. Dressing it up as world music with ethnic instruments is all well and dandy, but scrape away to the core, and it was nu-metal. Simplistic riffs, lowest-common-denominator lyrics (JUMPDAFUCKUP) and rappers making guest appearences...and don't get me started on those Kappa tracksuit tops. Luckily, he got his shit together by "Prophecy" and has been making proper metal from then on. Some might say it was because the bottom had fallen out of the nu-metal fad by that time, but who knows? But what about Igor?

He stayed with Sepultura throughout this and continued to plow though playing on albums which were good, but deep inside you knew they would never top what came before. After the release of 2006's Dante XXI (A concept album based on "The Divine Comedy" by Dante Alighieri) he quit the band citing the old "artistic differences" and went off to do something else. Apparently, it was DJ'ing but I've not heard much of his stuff. Then in 2006/7, he patched up his differences with Max and formed Cavalera Conspiracy (Originally to be called Inflikted but abandoned due to legal issues).

The first album (called "Inflikted") came out in 2008 and seemed quite popular, although I never got into it. To my ears, it seemed to have been marketed on the brothers reuniting - and I can understand why, but the music wasn't very good IMO. Seemed a bit scrappy and rush-released. I can appreciate they were both happy to be in a band again, but surely a bit longer in the practice room would have sufficed? This is why I missed their second album (Blunt Force Trauma) as I couldn't face it. I've been asked to blog this one so here goes. And now ends the long as fuck intro, let's here some music...

"Babylonian Pandemonium" - This is the opening song and what a scorcher! Sounds very much like Sepultura when they'd adopted the hardcore punk influences into their sound. A nice way to open the album!

"Bonzai Kamikaze" - A song about the Kamikaze pilots in WW2. Although I think there may be a mistake as bonzai is those little trees, isn't it? I guess they meant "banzai". Still, it's a great song. That's two songs in and I'm very impressed.

"Scum" - excuse me while I headbang like an absolute beast. This is fuckin' awesome! Coming across like hardcore punk bordering on grindcore - the type of grindcore played by Repulsion and Terrorizer, where it was more akin to really, really fast Death Metal instead of the 20 second rackets put out by (early) Napalm Death and AxCx. I think I may have to listen to this song a few more times just to make sure it's good...

"I, Barbarian" gets back to more thrash-orientated territory, albeit with a hardcore punk influence. Another good song.

"Cramunhao" - I've no idea what this is as the vocals are buried in the mix, which is the same on the other songs on this album. Another vicious slice of the hardcore infused thrash. Things slow down towards the end of the song. It's not bad.

"Apex Predator" - Starts off with this weird intro that made me think it was a Spotify advert (I'm too cheap to buy the premium service as I already have Netflix) before descending into a monster of a song. This one is a bit more diverse than the others. Starting off by sounding like one of the fast numbers on the "Arise" album (The best Seps album in the world ever), it then slows down into a lurch before upping the speed again. I feel it's worth pointing out that so far, we've heard more passion,urgency and desire in six songs than in the last few Soulfly albums. Could it be that Max keeps that band going as some kind of bread-and-butter income while unleashing the fury in CC?

"Insurrection" kicks all our asses. Yup, I'm running out of platitudes and stuff, so please bear with me. It does that thing again where it goes flat out for pretty much the duration but the last minute or so is a slow lurch. Hey, it's better than countless "tribal jams"!

"Not Losing The Edge" threatens to have a groove and sitar in there! So we've kinda got some experimentation going on. A fine, solid song which despite not having the fast ferociousness of most of the album, has a great groove and will no doubt get a bit of windmill-headbanging going.

"Father Of Hate" has a faint hint of electronica in the intro before kicking off into a fine blast of punk infused thrash. Like pretty much most of the album! As with Nickelback, the band have found a formula that works for them - and me, this album has been great up to now. I'm also thinking of revisiting the debut and also giving the second one a listen.

"The Crucible" is up and is about the witch trials. I think there was a movie based on the same thing which starred Daniel Day-Lewis and Winona Ryder - who, for once, wasn't completely awful. I'm surprised that I managed to decipher some of the words due to the vocals being buried. It ends the album on a crushing note instead of a fast one. Which is great.

Well, I gotta say that I am well impressed with this. Ladies and gents, this is possibly the best thing to have the Cavalera surname on it for a long, long time. Whilst it's not as good as prime-time Seps or Nailbomb, it's better than a good chunk of Soulfly and the Seps albums after "Against".

8/10 - Oh now you have my attention, my money, time and heart.

Top Track: "Scum".

This album is on iTunes.

Amazon link.
Spotify link.

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