The venerable Max Cavalera unfurls another diverse sonic tapestry with Soulfly's fourth album -- and where the former Sepultura man of ideas floundered a bit with Primitive and 3, Prophecy simultaneously returns to his roots (pun intended) while successfully integrating the myriad of organic influences that resulted in his being tagged the "Bob Marley of metal." That being said, Prophecy's first five cuts come armed with stone-carved riffs that are ragged, sharp, and fresh from the grinding wheel, and hulking steamroller rhythms, until "Mars," halfway through, deviates into a placid oasis-jam of Caribbean percussion, organs, and nylon-string mariachi guitar. "I Believe" and "Moses" are perhaps Cavalera's most powerful and spiritual endeavors to date, the former a heartfelt, unpretentious excursion into melody and spoken word expression, and the latter being a fascinatingly meandering, reggae-inflected jam with Serbian group Eyesburn. While the biggest criticism leveled at Soulfly on albums past was their lack of continuity, Prophecy isn't a hodgepodge of unusual instrumentation and guest stars (although former Megadeth bassist Dave Ellefson plays on a few tracks with minimal distraction), hardcore screeds such as "Porrada," "Born Again Anarchist," and "Defeat U" meshing coherently with Cavalera's ever-present ear for experimentation, usually integrated in segues between songs. It all makes for an equally inspired and inspiring dozen tracks featuring some of Cavalera's best straightforward metal, possibly since Sepultura's Roots ("Execution Style" is particularly riveting and visceral, as is a cover of Helmet's seminal "In the Meantime"). Now that Soulfly is essentially Cavalera's guitar, voice, and songs plus a revolving door of musicians, the often-spectacular Prophecy finds him coalescing nicely as a solo artist, and solidifying the truth behind the initially superficial Bob Marley comparison.
by John Serba