Soulfly @ Blender Theater at Gramercy (11/14/2008)

In just about four months time, the Metal maniacs of the Big Apple would get another appearance of one of their favorite performers, the one and only Max Cavalera. The musician has been a busy man with new Soulfly material and the project with brother Igor Cavalera in Cavalera Conspiracy, but this report is about Soulfly as we reported on the CC project elsewhere in these pages. The show was at Blender Theater this time around and found some cool openers along for the ride. We had young upstarts Incite, and Oklahoma’s Bleed The Sky and Devastation.  Talk about getting more bang for your buck.  A large part of the night was covered in words and images so scroll past the logo to see it all.

Logo - Soulfly

Artist: Soulfly
Venue: Blender Theater (New York, NY)
Opener: Bleed The Sky, Incite
Date: 11/14/2008
Label: Roadrunner Records

It was only a few months ago that guitarist/singer Max Cavalera had graced the New York City Metal faithful with an appearance in the “side-project” band known as Cavalera Conspiracy. The appearance was nothing less than a momentous occasion for all who attended either one or two of the area dates and the reason behind this was mainly because it was also the reunion of Max and his brother Igor. Each of them originally members of the legendary Brazilian band Sepultura and it had been at least ten years since the pair performed music together. That story and concert piece are documented elsewhere on the site and tonight’s appearance of Soulfly would not only be working off the momentum of that other tour but also be celebrating the bands newest CD entitled “Conquer”. The gigs featured three openers in Devastation, Incite and Bleed The Sky, but since I had not known about the very first bands participation I missed them entirely and instead arrived just as Incite were set to hit the stage.

Incite: I had caught this group of young Metal powers to potentially be back when the Cavalera Conspiracy came through town in July and for those who are wondering how such a new and independent band could land such a stellar gig, well let me inform you that their lead singer is Ritchie Cavalera, stepson of Soulfy’s Max. It’s great that the musician had chosen to give his stepson’s band a chance and before you think that this is unfair to do, it makes sense that he would since he had the chance and obviously believes in their manner of delivery. We saw something similar when Iron Maiden had Steve Harris’ daughter Lauren opening up for them and while some complained, there were others who embraced the chance to see something that they might never get exposed to otherwise. In Incite’s defense, they are a talented band that delivers the goods with a healthy amount of aggression. As a singer, the young Cavalera growls all of his lines while the band comes off as a tight unit. One thing I would like to see from the band going forward is more use of a clean vocal as we are currently overrun with existing bands that employ this vibe in every song. I would also like to see them on some other bills outside of the Cavalera touring support structure to see just how well or bad they go over. At the time of my first coverage of them there was only a couple of tracks demo CD available and it was during the night of this show that I heard some label people were interested in their coming on board. Let’s see what the future holds and good luck in the adventure guys. Bleed The Sky was up next and I had missed them at every tour that they were on so was looking rather forward to finally catching them.

Bleed The Sky: Straight ahead Thrash Metal with a little bit of Metalcore attitude tossed in for good measure, the guys in Bleed The Sky were a solid choice as opener this evening. Their set would be my first go at the band and I was digging into every aggressive riff that was coming out of their pair of guitarists Justin Warrick and Cameron Conyer. They are fronted by Noah Robinson and he was coming off as a good crowd activity generator. He would speak to them a couple of times and get the floor moving with a relatively healthy mosh pit. They would sadly only deliver a six tune set list and while their new CD is entitled “Murder The Dance”, they would also give representation to their “Paradigm in Entropy” album and give the audience three tunes from each release. Both albums come to the Metal legions care of Nuclear Blast Records. I was really enjoying what they were doing but it was one of those instances where I felt that as soon as this was getting good the guys were bidding us all goodnight. Folks who really enjoyed them were able to go to the downstairs part of the venue and mingle with some of the members who had gone to the merchandise table to meet anyone who had interest in them. I took a moment to do this myself and found the guys to be very cool and as result I look forward to catching another gig from them and hopefully one that is longer than thirty or so minutes. The venue was now apparently filled to its maximum, and I believe that Blender fits about 600 or so Metal fans, as Soulfly was ready to take to the stage.

Soulfly: I really enjoyed seeing both Max and Igor do their Cavalera Conspiracy thing because that ended up in being a live delivery of a lot of Sepultura stuff for me and I had never taken the time to be into it when it was first being done. I had recognized the overall Metal importance of Sepultura, but it was not my thing back then and as result I also never seemed to follow Soulfly even though I liked some of what was being done in this now no longer new band. The level of praise that “Conquer” had been receiving made me really interested in being in the venue tonight. As many know, the band Soulfly features guitarist Marc Rizzo, who is actually also a member of the Cavalera Conspiracy and based on that the level of tightness in the guitar department is rather excellent. Max doesn’t seem to play lead, and Marc absolutely wails when it comes down to it so it was cool to see such an amazing player in such an intimate space. The crowd just loves Cavalera and they went insane when he hit the stage to the opening track from the new CD. It’s a smoking disc that offers up a lot of thrash and the elements that the fan base has come to expect from the band. The lineup also seems rather tight and after the show I would learn that these particular players had been working together since about 2004 consistently as opposed to continually switching up the guitarist or drummer here and the bassist there. Still the main aspect of the group is Max who seemed to be holding everyone in thrall as he kicked our teeth in with another new number before he went back to some Sepultura with “Troops Of Doom”.

As the set progressed it was clear that while a number of the Soulfly classics in their fans eyes were great to experience live, that it was the renditions that they did of the Sepultura stuff was going over the best. It’s understandable since the band that he originally hailed from is much different now and many of these loyalists have not supported them since certain members had moved on. One can only wonder if a real and official Sepultura reunion will be in the works at some point in the future and if this is the case it would not surprise me. They would only deliver three new tunes and leave the rest to be a mix of their Sepultura expectations and the back catalog. There were not many complaints about their doing it in this fashion at least from my vantage point.

What did surprise me was the apparent length of the set since it seemed to go by rather quickly and while their were fifteen numbers written down on the set list that I snared an image of I had not been sure if that was actually completely done and this is bound to happen when one does not have an absolute mastery of the bands repertoire. Still, I had to admit that with my never seeing any of these bands outside of the younger Incite, that I really found the whole performance rather intense. There was a great level of energy that made me feel as though the crowd could have gone insane even if the band had chosen to play all night. Max didn’t seem to hang around after the show which I think disappointed some people who were there hoping to shake his hand, but I did see Marc Rizzo doing so and the younger Cavalera and his band and the guys in Devastation who more people missed than did not. The bands were playing again at this same space tomorrow and one could not fault the singer for getting some rest before closing out a NYC appearance on a Saturday night. Check out the new CD when time permits, I will be doing the same and by all means crank it up loud.

Bleed The Sky Set List:
1. Knife Fight in a Phone Booth
2. Sullivan
3. Paradigm in Entropy
4. Killtank
5. Minion
6. Murder the Dance

Soulfly Set List:
1. Blood, Fire, War, Hate
2. Unleash
3. Troops Of Doom
4. Seek n Strike
5. Jumpdafuckup/ Bring It/ I and I
6. The Song Remains Insane
7. Fire
8. Refuse/ Resist
9. Paranoia
10. Frontlines
11. Tribal Jam
12. Tribe
13. Back To The Primitive
14. Roots Bloody Roots
15. Eye For An Eye

Official Website: http://www.soulfly.com
Official Website: http://www.myspace.com/bleedthesky.com
Official Website: http://www.myspace.com/incite1
Official Website: http://www.devastation.com

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