Music » Interviews

The cooler people

Soulfly's age-defying thrash brings people together, one stage-diver at a time


Pushing aside massive columns is effortless for Cavalera.
  • Pushing aside massive columns is effortless for Cavalera.

"Metal fans are better people than most people especially corporate, money-hungry, backstabbing society people who have fucked up the world more than we ever could." says Soulfly leader Max Cavalera.

Cavalera is still speaking about change not a change in politics, but a change in perceptions. This is Cavalera's utopia, a place where the Exodus-T-shirt-wearing metal fan is on equal footing with the tailored-suit-sporting investment banker.

"If there were more metal people in the world, like in the higher places or political places, we'd probably have a more open-minded and cooler world than we live in now," he says. "The world's going to hell, and nobody is helping it get better, so I'm a defender of beer-drinking, hellraising metal fans. We're cooler people."

As a defender of the headbanging set, Cavalera has plenty of experience. Starting in 1984, Cavalera and his former band, Sepultura, wreaked havoc upon metal fans, creating a potent mix of thrash and death metal that left them breathless. Twenty-four years later, Cavalera is still shattering eardrums and genres with Soulfly.

The clich says something about getting soft with age, but instead of slowing down his signature thundering sound, this guitarist and vocalist has created what might be his heaviest release yet with Conquer, on Roadrunner Records. Rather than aging gracefully and creating music that outsiders may deem age-appropriate, Cavalera is attacking middle age and showing no signs of letting up.

"I've always thought, why slow down?" says the 39-year-old Cavalera. "Why should I stop playing fast because I have kids?"

Cavalera cites metal as his fountain of youth in the middle of the mosh pit: "I love metal and hardcore. To me, it's awesome. There's something about that music that I don't find anywhere else in the world. I'll probably play metal forever."

Soulfly's latest album written in a short burst alongside an album by Cavalera's other band, the Cavalera Conspiracy is an 11-track assault featuring the guttural screams, buzzsaw riffing and double bass drums that first endeared Cavalera to metalheads everywhere.

But Soulfly isn't a vanity project. Each of its albums has upped the sonic ante, and finally with Conquer, the band's hard charging, leviathan-like sound has reached what could be its apex. From the intro of "Blood Fire War Hate" to the closing notes of "Soulfly VI," the music is more relentless, passionate and bone-crunchingly heavy than ever.

"It's great to play these songs and see the crowd go crazy for [the new songs]. I've never written anything as heavy as 'Blood Fire War Hate,' and they love it," says Cavalera.

At the end of his 30s and just hitting his stride creatively, Cavalera's enjoying the good times. And if the soundtrack to his halcyon days is manic four-string-guitar-playing, that's all in a day's work.

"This is my life and what I do. I create this music. I can't stop now."

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