Cavalera Conspiracy - Inflikted Review

Family reunions: a volatile recipe for disaster. Mom lectures Uncle Mitch about his abusive drinking problem, Grandpa won’t keep his pants on (doesn’t own a belt), and you’re forced to entertain your slackjaw cousins: both of whom think your sister is “purdy” like “that Cindy Crawford.” Getting together with “The Fam” is an exercise in pain tolerance that, if anything, forces you to pray to God that you’re adopted.

Such is not the case for Max and Iggor Cavalera, who after 12 long years apart, have happily reunited to rekindle their classic Brazilian-flavored hardcore/thrash metal roots. Enlisting Soulfly’s Marc Rizzo for lead guitar duty and Gojira frontman Joe Duplantier to man the bass cannon, the Cavalera Brothers strap on their helmets and look to reclaim the crowded thrash scene with Cavalera Conspiracy.

Old school Sepultura fans know that when The Cavaleras are on top of their game, they produce viciously groovy music. Few can argue 1989’s Beneath the Remains spot in thrash metal’s upper echelon of amazing albums. Even on satisfactory efforts like Chaos A.D., these Portuguese Powerhouses have a nearly inexplicable knack for crushing riffs and rhythmic drum beats. On Cavalera Conspiracy’s debut, Inflikted, vintage Sepultura and Dark Ages Soulfly clash with varying levels of success, proving that The Cavaleras still have chemistry, even if it’s a bit rusty.

Like he did on Soulfly’s Dark Ages, Marc Rizzo’s lead guitar work and shredding is the heart that keeps every song on Inflikted pumping. Frenetic soloing on the opening track “Inflikted” keeps your nerves on full alert while “Nevertrust” throws back to prime Bay Area thrash with a pinch of Brazilian rhythm ala “Biotech is Godzilla” off Chaos A.D.

While Cavalera Conspiracy deserves a round of applause for letting Rizzo’s influence run-free, they have to be reprimanded for underutilizing Joe Duplantier. The highly-talented vocalist from France’s premiere death/thrash act, Gojira, makes only a couple of audible appearances on Inflikted including bellowing out his trademark guttural growl on standout track “Black Ark.” Duplantier’s vocal range gives Cavalera Conspiracy an advantage compared to other thrash groups, that for whatever reason, they don’t capitalize on.

What about The Cavaleras themselves? On vocals, Max delivers the expected raspy barrage of hate and venom. And, in typical Cavalera fashion, hate never sounded so damn catchy. The hyper-active chorus for “Terrorize” never switches off of rapid fire with Max shouting “Terror rising / terror rise / terror rising / terrorize.” But Max’s simplistic lyrics occasionally come off as cheesy, especially during the repetitive chant found on “Must Kill’s” closing moments.

While Max’s pitfalls on Inflikted are few and far between, Iggor’s drum work struggles to rise above mediocrity. It’s not that Iggor’s skills have diminished: he still maintains a relentless, technically-honed pace. But, aside from the tribal percussion opening on “Black Ark,” Iggor does little to differentiate his groove beats from other thrash drummers.

The future’s bright for Cavalera Conspiracy, though. Inflikted smacks the thrash metal genre upside the head, putting all on notice that The Cavaleras are back: more focused and pissed off than ever before.

"Inflikted" is on sale March 25, 2008 from Roadrunner.

Jason Perry


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