SOULFLY – Live @ Islington Academy, 30 Jan 2016

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Max Cavalera doesn’t know the meaning of “day off”. The man’s released at least one album every year since 2008 and when he’s not in the studio, he’s out on the road. Now he’s bringing the Maximum Cavalera Tour to the UK once more with additional support from King Parrot before preparing to work on another album later this year.

Opening the night, as is customary for the Maximum Cavalera Tour, is Lody Kong [7/10]. A new lineup is on display here tonight, with Max’s sons Igor (vocals/rhythm guitar) and Zyon (drums) remaining at their core, and their blend of sludge, punk and thrash is a good way to get things going. While the sound was not at its best, Lody Kong’s grungy attitude lets them use this to their advantage as they rifle through old and new songs, including songs from their upcoming debut album “Dreams and Visions”. It’s already clear that Zyon has come a long way in the past couple of years and his drumming is on top form while Igor’s throat shredding vocals are biting and aggressive. While fans may be somewhat divided on Igor’s vocals, there’s no doubting that he has a distinctive approach that sets him apart from the majority of punk and metal singers in the modern scene. Some of their crowd interactions, particularly from their new bassist, felt a little forced and awkward but these kids are young and will learn the tricks of the trade with time

After a short break it was Incite’s [8.5/10] turn to hit the stage and bring the evening to full thrash mode. Richie Cavalera and his men have mastered the craft of intense and energetic live shows and relentlessly pound away at your eardrums during the set, and the crowd’s appreciation was felt. Playing hits from across their discography they debuted a brand new song, “Stagnant”, which is set to appear on their upcoming new album “Oppression” right through to some of their earliest material in “Army of Darkness”. Incite’s lineup hasn’t been the most stable in its 12 year history but the current set up of Richie, Dru-tang, Lennon Lopez and Christopher EL seems to be by far the most cohesive and promising unit yet, and one can only hope that this is finally the Incite that can hit the ground running and establish themselves long term.

When it comes to cohesion and consistency though, King Parrot [9/10] take the award. Their unrelenting grind/sludge onslaught is relieved only by members taking the odd moment to unleash their twisted sense of humour upon the audience. King Parrot has a limited discography at present, with only one EP and two albums to go on, but the sheer level of their musicianship means that every song they blast out stands on its own merit, and the unique shrieks of Matt Young make for a truly unforgettable setlist, with the crowd really starting to hit its stride in response to Young and co’s egging on. They may have lost out on Metal Hammer’s “Best New Band” award last year but there’s no doubting that, on the back of their new album “Dead Set”, they’re well on their way.

There was a long wait after King Parrot’s set ended which stirred a little bit of impatience from the fans, but after nearly 20 minutes of waiting, Soulfly [9/10] had arrived to deafening cheers. Through their North American trek last year they had focussed primarily on their new material on “Archangel”, but tonight they offered almost a full retrospective of (the now blonde) Max Cavalera’s 30 year career, with only the Sepultura pre-“Arise” albums, and Soulfly’s “Omen” and “Savages” being omitted from the combined Sepultura/Soulfly setlist. From the opening “Archangel” through tracks such as “Seek N Strike” and “Frontlines”, everything was spot on. Max seems to have some energy back in his live performances and the new bassist, former Havok man Mike Leon, fits like a glove into the quartet (with a nice little bass solo at one point in the night). The biggest treat, however, came in the encore when Max introduced his brother Iggor onto the stage for the classic “Roots Bloody Roots”, and then along with Matt Young for a rendition of Motörhead’s “Ace of Spades”, in tribute to the late Lemmy Kilmister, whose music gave Sepultura their name back in 1984. With such an extensive back catalogue to choose from, covering all kinds of styles of metal, Soulfly offered the perfect retrospective tonight. Max currently plans to tour with Cavalera Conspiracy to play the Sepultura classic “Roots” in full for its 20th anniversary before hitting the studio once more and, with both Incite and Lody Kong also releasing albums this year, 2016 may well end up being the year of the Cavaleras.

Soulfly’s new album “Archangel” is out now via Nuclear Blast. Read the review here and follow the band on Facebook.

King Parrot’s new album “Dead Set” is out now via Agonia Records. Follow the band on Facebook.

Incite release “Oppression” on April 22 via MinusHEAD Records. Follow the band on Facebook.

Lody Kong release “Dreams and Visions” on March 26 via Mascot Label Group. Follow the band on Facebook.

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