Review By Sean Barrett
To the surprise of most everyone, Max Cavalera and crew (the Soulfly crew, that is) have decided to do a tour in which they perform the 1994 album Point Blank by Nailbomb (which is what he was calling himself and his band at the time). It was a career that burned bright and fast, in which they put out that one insane album of Ministry-worshipping industrial beats alongside mean and catchy thrash riffs, played a single show, recorded that show and released it as a live record, then broke up and went about their lives. Anyone who wasn’t at that one festival (which is most people, as you can imagine) just sort of assumed they would never see that album or any of its songs, played live. Well, here it is.
Keeping it in the family, Lody Kong are the openers for each night on this tour. The band is made up of the next generation of Cavalera brothers (both Max’s sons) on bass/vocals and drums, respectively, plus one of their friends (I assume) on guitar. Vocally speaking, the apple has not fallen far from the tree here. Their sound makes use of thrash, sludge, and punk all held together by some air-tight drumming. It’s all got some real legs and I look forward to hearing what they do next.
Baltimore-based grind-unit Noisem kept the show going after Lody Kong, and did all tour long. It turns out they’ve re-vamped their lineup, keeping the same guitarist and drummer, but slimming the bass and vocal duties into the hands of one person, a talented one too. There’s a whole lot less feedback now, and a more stand-and-deliver approach to vocal delivery that’s less emotive and more monstrous. It’s a more focused attack than that of the band who put out Blossoming Decay in 2015. Also, their snare drum is so tight it may as well be a fucking cowbell. Nice!
Joining us for this portion of the tour are Richmond, VA weed-themed death-merchants Cannabis Corpse. Fronted on bass and vocals by Land Phil of Municipal Waste, these cats play old school death metal with the effortlessness and ease of mastery that I’ve come to associate with the genre at its best. When you’re playing complex music this well, the weed thing is elevated from gimmick to fun icing on a cake that would otherwise still be delicious. The pit-presence of their bud monster, a man dressed in a nug costume, certainly did not hurt.
What came next was a long wait between sets as an eager crowd drank in the visuals of the Nailbomb stage set-up. This included tactical camouflage, military-use green netting, human-shaped shooting targets and at least two gas-masks. Finally, the beast was ready to roar.
To my surprise at least, the drumming duties for this lineup are being handled by the Cavalera who is Max’s son rather than his brother. Dude held it down. On synths and backing vocals is the bassist/vocalist of Lody Kong, that other Calvalera. The bassist and other guitarist are, with Max, the rest of Soulfly.
These riffs have not gotten stale, not at all. Max and Co. worked the crowd like pros. Outside of a guitar solo in which everyone else left the stage, they stayed faithful to the album, as promised. During the parts of the set I wasn’t throwing myself and others around, thoughts passed through my head about the timelessness of this righteous fury, on Point Blank as it is in Chaos A.D., both nihilistic and yearning for a better world. I’ll probably never know what caused the decision to tour this record, but both the 1994 recording and the performance of it they did that night keep a place in my heart. Stay mad.