Soulfly were responsible for luring a tribe best described as grizzly, for the most part, to the O2 Institute in the heart of Digbeth for a raucous congregation. Placing their faith in bands local to the area feels an instinctual and extremely genuine approach glazed with bravery, as such faith can be dismayed and potentially put a dampener on the impact of the headline act but alas, ’twas not the case this night!

Opening act, local Birmingham band SID began the night in tremendous fashion with their energetic set. Their lead guitarist caught the eye purely for his snazzy paisley suit and tie getup accompanied with his Misfit-esque face paint; this was indeed quite the statement appearance, especially compared to his bandmates who apparently didn’t get the fashion memo and were adorning more casual metal band attire. Nonetheless they were great to watch and listen to and went down well!

The second act of the night were the aptly titled (also a Birmingham band) Influens – I claim they’re aptly titled as they certainly inspired influence within the crowd to get their damn heads banging and got back from the approving audience the impressive high energy that they mustered on stage. A good mixture of thrash and groove is incorporated by Influens – these two elements of metal often go hand in hand, allowing for a band to gallop at incredible pace then all of a sudden hit you with a blow of slowed, groove dominant battering that carries a contagion in the form of banging your head: This was exactly the case throughout Influens‘ set as they continued the groundwork laid by SID in exciting the crowd to a state of readiness for getting down to some sweet Soulfly jams.

The tribal gathering we were all there for really kicked off when the sacred leaders of the tribe, none other than Soulfly themselves began their set. The experience we were treated to can be best described as a ritual – exactly as was intended from the legendary Max Cavalera and co, and coincidentally is what Soulfly are promising with their new album titled ‘Ritual‘ that the tour is promoting. The ritual that was cathartic and engrossing for each present tribe member was kicked off ceremoniously with a bruising rendition of gritty riff-tastic number ‘Frontlines‘, which Marc Rizzo cited as his favourite song to perform when I interviewed him before the show – read the full interview here. The faithful tribe members flailing their heads and screaming along in delight all night were excitedly gifted the performance of a new, as-of-yet unreleased song ‘The Summoning‘ which certified a lot of mass interest from Soulfly diehards that ‘Ritual‘ will be well worth a listen.

Soulfly

Soulfly ripping through the tribal gathering!

The ever charismatic figure of Max Cavalera, if supremely capable of anything in particular, it’s how to fire a crowd up and incite the sort of audience reaction up and coming bands dream of. There is an element of charm to witnessing the performance of Soulfly, not just for how well each of the members gel together and bounce off each other, but specifically for how the relentless pummelling on the drums comes courtesy of Max‘s son, Zyon. Zyon does a fantastic job of supplying an intense beat and maintaining a rapid pace that allows for Max and lead guitarist Marc Rizzo to serenade you with brutal riffs and awe-inspiring solos aplenty.

Marc Rizzo is well worth his spot alongside Cavalera and it’s no wonder Max enlisted him for the Cavalera Conspiracy project too, as he possesses deft and magical fingers when wielding a guitar that in his hands is best described as being mutated from a musical instrument, into a razor sharp axe. A weapon he handles with unmatched dexterity, it is simply a joy to watch him shred and hear the guitar wail at his command.

Leaving nothing to be wondered and the audience fulfilled, Soulfly capped off a great night of loud, aggressive and well performed live music that I am very glad I was apart of. As the band turn twenty this year, they prove they still hone the intensity they are known for with such a solid, fiery set that surely has heightened anticipation within fans for their new album.

You can listen to new single ‘Evil Empowered‘ from the band’s upcoming eleventh studio album ‘Ritual‘, which is due for release on 19th October via Nuclear Blast Records.

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