Since their formation in 1997, Soulfly have had to deal with an ever changing line-up as well as constant comparisons to front man Max Cavalera’s previous band, Sepultura. They are, however, much more than your average side project. They have etched out their own tribe of diehard fans who are willing to reciprocate the relentless energy given by the band throughout this entire career spanning set list.
The bassist and the drummer, Cavalera’s 21 year old son Zyon, may be new additions to the band but you would never think it as every slow, chugging drop and speedy thrash metal classic is delivered with precision and venom. Max’s rough vocals sound almost identical to recordings that were released over the past 17 years and although he may struggle at times due to sheer intensity of the heat in the intimate venue, he rarely misses a beat, unlike quite a lot of 44 year old heavy metal vocalists.
The tribal aspect of their music, most prevalent during the likes of ‘Back to the Primitive’ and ‘Prophecy’ is what differentiates the competition and also unities them with their fans. Their twitter handle is The Soulfly Tribe for a reason and it is clear everyone here is united under that banner. The endless crowd surfing, moshpits and headbanging from the audience testifies to that.
The obligatory Sepultura covers, (‘Arise’, ‘Territory’) all create a joyous, albeit slightly violent reaction amongst the crowd but it is to be expected when they may have never heard the 20 year old songs live before, or may not get to see them again. Sepultura may still be releasing music and touring, but many know that the most authentic version of ‘Roots’ that you will hear live can only have Max Cavalera’s voice at the helm.
Hailing from Brazil, it might have been disappointing for the band to have witnessed the nation’s footballing capitulation, but Soulfly definitely won over Dublin with a vicious display that made the select few in the small venue grateful to have witnessed it.