Pick Your Rock and Metal

Monday, July 14, 2014

GIG REVIEW: Where to find one's soul: Soulfly and Lody Kong, Belfast

THE soul is a fragile thing; and even though most of the assembled reviewers on this site are mostly atheists, and have no time for a deux ex machina, there can be few who love hard rock, punk and metal that doubt the balm for the deepest part of ourselves that a damn good extreme gig can provide.

Such was the case when Soulfly, backed by Lody Kong, played Belfast's Limelight2 on the 10th July, 2014 as part of the Soulfly Savages tour cycle.

And, in terms of extreme metal there are very little who can match the peerless record of Max Cavalera from the time when Sepultura burst upon an unsuspected metal world through to his various side projects and the Soulfly track record to date.

It is also worth noting, for those who do not know, that metal is a family business for the Cavalera. Nephew Igor is among the four-piece that is Lody Kong, a fearsome merging of metal, hardcore and crusty noise.

Earning their gigging stripes, they are producing a damn fine noise as they look forward to securing a recording and distribution deal.

On the strength of tracks like Pig in a Pen, Chillin' Killin', Monkeys and Smashed such a deal will see Lody Kong begin a rise through their mediocre peers by sheer nerve and solid arrangements to back musical talent.

But as a young band their profile as laid out, for example, on Facebook and other sites needs to show the same maturity and professionalism that they put out on stage.

For Soulfly there is an undoubted professionalism that comes from experience and a confidence in the material and stagecraft. To many they still associate the Soulfly name with Max, but make no mistake about it, Soulfly are a band, first and foremost; not a 'project' to be picked up and put down according to whim.

From the opening strains of Blood, Fire, War Hate, face melting material piles upon more ferocity. Marc Rizzo's lead work is as much a feature as Max's guttural growls.

Max's son Zylon's drumming, merging seamlessly with Tony Campos' bass, is a foundation as solid as slab of concrete for the songs.

Particularly worth recording is that songs from the 'Savages' release, such as Bloodshed, sit comfortably with better known crowd pleasers.

Max is as dominant front man as many in the business; the clich├ęs calling for pits et cetera are part and parcel of most metal lead protagonist's repertoire, but Cavalera's engaging persona enables him to carry off Jumpdafuckup and general good natured banter that belies the challenging nature of many of Soulfly's lyrics.

Rizzo's teasingly concluding encore performance, with Campos and Zylon, see riffs from classic metal songs interweaved with soloing; a hyperspeed version of the Trooper engendered headbanging throughout most of the crowd.

Of course, the likes of Roots... delight denizens of the Limelight's depths, but this is not Soulfly living off a legacy; this is not Soulfly as another occupant of the middle ranking in the metal pantheon; this is a band, and this is a band that continues to deliver a full-blooded, fiery, war dance of hatred aimed at those who deny the potency of extreme music.

And, as all good metal is a balm for the soul, so the various members of the audience emerge into the Belfast evening. There are smiles all round, as disco goers look askance at the Soulfly tribe's beaming faces.

We doubt their music will provide as potent a salve for the mind and body that Soulfly can, and do, provide.

Review by Jonny 

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