Overall Score: 7/10 Songwriting: 7/10 Production: 8/10 Consistency: 6/10 Pros: Nice blend of styles | Songs are simple yet varied Cons: Igor’s vocals can be divisive | Songwriting isn’t very challenging
Children of metal royalty have it hard. Having such established parentage always means that expectations will be piled upon you and we’ve seen many of these younger generations fail to live up to them, or see their careers curtailed altogether by the pressure. While Austin Dickinson has had some moderate success with Rise to Remain and now As Lions, Biff Butler (son of Black Sabbath’s Geezer) often struggled to win over the critics with his Apartment 26 and Steve Harris’s daughter Lauren’s band, Six Hour Sundown, is seen as barely a footnote on the musical map.
Aiming to buck the trend are three sons of Soulfly great Max Cavalera. While the eldest Richie is making a name for himself in Incite, Igor Jr and Zyon have been working on Lody Kong together – a big departure from the family patented style of groove metal that the Cavalera name is known for, instead playing a frenetic mix of punk, thrash and grunge all wrapped up in a sludgy package. Having signed to Mascot Records late last year, the quartet of Igor Jr, Zyon, John Bauer and Shea “Shanks” Fahey now release their first effort, “Dreams and Visions”, upon the world.
Opening with the lead single “Chillin’, Killin’” we get the main template for what Lody Kong are going to sound like for the rest of the album. The music is rather simple but is performed with an unrelenting punk rage that keeps it charging along as Igor Jr barks away, in a style reminiscent of Fudge Tunnel and Nailbomb man Alex Newport. Some flashes of dad’s influence pop up here and there with the effects driven leads of “Kreative Center” and the dissonant riffs of “Rumsfield” (one of the group’s oldest songs, re-recorded for this album) harking back to the styles of Lucio Maia and Marc Rizzo, two Soulfly collaborators. The mixed influence of grunge, punk, thrash and sludge metal has meant that while the core Lody Kong sound stays the same, each song presents something different. Album highlight “Smashed and Blasted” is also the heaviest track courtesy of its chugging riffs, tight grooves and unique solo work from Bauer, aided by Zyon’s excellent drumming. The production contributes to the thick, sludgy sound of the riffs and, while not the clearest, gives you exactly what you need from this sort of music.
It’s a shame, however, that the album sort of tails off towards the end with little of interest coming from the final tracks. “Some Pulp” is a plodding grunge piece that, while enjoyable enough, is still somewhat forgettable while everything that follows almost feels like filler, and the more melodic “The Dangerous Quest” feels somewhat out of place on the album. While Shanks’s bass is well placed in the mix it offers little in terms of lifting the level of Lody Kong’s songwriting and Igor Cavalera Jr has also been a constant point of division among listeners, with his almost slurred vocals deterring some listeners. His uncommon vocal style does hark back to more old school sludge and hardcore bands but the modern take on vocals demands a lot more grit and clarity, so it’s not something that younger generations of fans will be particularly used to. However, in the modern scene Igor’s vocals do stand out among an increasingly homogenous crowd of metal and punk vocalists and in the long term this may benefit the young band as his voice develops and the band grows.
This is the first real taste of what the Cavalera kids can offer, and the signs are promising. They still have a long way to go before they can start to emerge from the shadow of their father, but with a distinctive style and two new members coming in for the foreseeable future (extremely talented bassist Noah Shepherd and ex-Noisem lead guitarist Travis Stone), they’re moving in the right direction
Follow Lody Kong on Facebook for updates, and read the review of their show in London with Soulfly here. Their debut album, “Dreams and Visions”, is out March 25 via Mascot Records.