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Still going strong after all these years, Max Cavalera returns with another one from Soulfly. Continually pushing the band further away from its nu-metal beginnings, their seventh album, Omen, is like thrash metal comfort food, showing us that sometimes what we really want is a heaping plate of good, old-fashioned, unbridled aggression. In a world where bands like Mastodon are pushing metal into increasingly esoteric directions, it takes an old pro like Cavalera, someone who’s made a career out of blending experimental grooves with meat-headed brutality, to make something that can be both simple and compelling. Cavalera really has the Soulfly formula perfected, shifting things here and there, but always making sure to keep it simple and keep it heavy. Accentuating (or maybe exaggerating) the sledgehammer guitar work is the sheer relentlessness of the album. Joe Nunez’s thundering double-bass drumming tirelessly drives the songs forward. All the other tropes you’ve come to expect from Soulfly are here as well. As always, there are a couple of hard-hitting guest vocalists, this time featuring the Dillinger Escape Plan’s Greg Puciato, who sings on “Rise of the Fallen,” as well as Prong’s Tommy Victor, who takes the wheel on “Lethal Injection.” There’s also Cavalera’s brutally simple lyrics, whose main subject matter this time around seems to be more focused on the apocalyptic than the revolutionary. While a couple of the songs might reach Dethklok levels of ridiculousness (“Bloodbath & Beyond” and “Jeffrey Dahmer” being the main offenders), most of the album stays within an acceptable level of lyrical absurdity. The only real misstep on the album comes by way of the super-smooth “Soulfly VII,” the latest installment of the self-titled song cycle that has once again snuck its way onto the album as a pointless diversion from an otherwise solid collection of songs. Fortunately, the rest of the album makes it easy to forgive Cavalera and company for one useless track on an otherwise excellent album.

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