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Archangel
Archangel album
10th album by Soulfly
Released on August 14, 2015
Record label Nuclear Blast
Produced by Matt Hyde
Number of tracks Standard edition: 10
Special edition: 13
Duration Standard edition: 36:35
Special edition: 45:12
Genre(s) Groove metal, thrash metal, death metal, black metal
Singles 4
Previous album
Savages

Archangel is the tenth Soulfly album, released in 2015. The album is credited with the same lineup as their previous album Savages, with Max Cavalera's son Zyon returning for his sophomore album with Soulfly. The musical theme of Archangel is described as biblical and is the shortest Soulfly album. The chosen theme of the album was inspired by Max's mother Vanya and the cover artwork shows Archangel Michael slaying the minions. Archangel is one of two Soulfly albums that did not reach the top 100 on the U.S. Billboard chart.

Notable songs on this album are "We Sold Our Souls to Metal", title track "Archangel", "Sodomites", "Mother of Dragons", and bonus track "You Suffer". Archangel is tied with the debut album Soulfly for most singles released with four.

Background Edit

Lineup Edit

Archangel has the same lineup credits as their previous album Savages, with youngest full-time member and Max's son Zyon returning for the second Soulfly album behind the kit. Veteran lead guitarist Marc Rizzo is on duty for their seventh consecutive Soulfly album and the band's one and only frontman and main vocalist Max Cavalera. Tony Campos left Soulfly on May 1, 2015 to join Fear Factory, but not before he played bass in the recording studio for Archangel tracks. He was replaced by Max's son Igor Jr. who had a brief stint with the group.

Production Edit

The first words about the development of the tenth Soulfly album came on December 4, 2014 when Max Cavalera began writing musical notes and lyrics. Cavalera and his gang entered the Megawatt Recording Studio in Valley Village, CA on January 3, 2015 to record the songs for the tenth album. All the standard tracks were recorded in Megawatt Studio, while the bonus tracks were recorded in Hydeway Studio eight miles away. All of the tracks were mixed and mastered at the Hydeway by Matt Hyde, who also produced this album.

Release Edit

Archangel was released worldwide on August 14, 2015 through Nuclear Blast, the band's second album to be released under that record label. The standard edition has 10 tracks (all are heavy) and special edition has 13 tracks plus the DVD showing 2014 live performances from Hellfast in France.

Charts Edit

The tenth Soulfly album peaked at #130 on the U.S. Billboard chart during first week of release, their second lowest peak of any Soulfly release after Dark Ages and one of two Soulfly albums that did not reach the top 100. On the other end of the spectrum, the country with the highest peak for Archangel is Switzerland, which reached #11 and spent the longest time on chart at three weeks. Four other countries spent two weeks on their charts, and six more for one week, including US and World.

Chart Weeks Peak
Australia Top 100
2
#41
Austria Top 75
2
#31
Belgium Ultratop 200
2
#28
Dutch Top 100
2
#33
Finland Top 50
1
#22
France Top 150
1
#66
Germany Top 100
1
#19
Swiss Top 100
3
#11
UK Top 100
1
#57
US Billboard 200
1
#130
World Top 40
1
#23

Title and cover art Edit

Max's mother Vanya said that 2015 was the year of St. Michael the Archangel, inspiring him to title the tenth Soulfly album Archangel and requested a cover art for it.

Archangel has the most artistic Soulfly album cover to date. The cover prominently shows Archangel Michael with wings on his back shaped in Soulfly logo slaying the minions from Hell using the spear shafted in that logo. Max said about the inspiration from his mother and her connections with religion, "She gave the inspiration for the album. She is very connected with Candomblé and 2015 is governed by Oxóssi. So I decided to make an album in tribute to him. In addition, the St. Michael the Archangel cover has wings on the logo Soulfly format. My mother is still a source of inspiration for me." The cover art was created by Eliran Kantor, who stated that "I've been a fan of Max's music ever since discovering Beneath the Remains in high school. When my wife and I got married "Territory" was even played at the dance party part of our wedding. Max asked me to do a traditional piece depicting Archangel Michael - and I tried to go beyond the straight-up neo-classical style as that has been perfected centuries ago, so I mixed in Soulfly's own visual world: hence the wings and spear being shaped like the Soulfly tribal icon, the cliff with the ocean view just like on the first record, and the Brazilian flag being the core of it's color scheme."

Music and lyrics Edit

Archangel is unique for a Soulfly album that it has biblical themes in terms of sound, meaning it has different vibe than any of their previous albums. Max Cavalera describes it as basically "bloody and brutal and perfect for metal." Cavalera has more to say about this album, "Archangel posses a more exotic sound, with varying riffs, different lyrical content, and unique arrangements than usual, but still features the vicious vocal work and neck snapping drum work we have come to know and love." Due to the uniqueness of its musical style, Max declared that it is "a once in a lifetime album. The album has really crazy sounds and very different dimensions. It's more experimental than the other stuff but it is still heavy as hell and fast."

To add to the uniqueness, Archangel is the first Soulfly album and the first by Max since Sepultura's Morbid Visions to significantly incorporate black metal into their sound, as well as doom metal in a couple of tracks. But like the past albums since Prophecy, groove metal and thrash metal are still the leading genre of this album, along with some death metal returning. Archangel was influenced by Behemoth, Melechesh, Belphegor, Bloodroot, Hour of Penance, and Murder Made Me God, as well as from other Soulfly albums Dark Ages and Enslaved.

Archangel showcases a variety of lyrical themes, including about Mesopotamian gods like Shamash and Ishtar, Titans in Greek mythology, mythical dragons, archangel, and lifetime miseries. Many of the lyrics are based from texts in The Old Testament.

Songs Edit

"We Sold Our Souls to Metal" was the first Archangel song released to the public on June 30, 2015 and the single was released on July 3. This song is a metal anthem that gives respect to metalheads worldwide. The ambient sound in the outro is very Pink Floyd-like. The doomy title track "Archangel" is the album's third single, released on August 10, 2015. "Sodomites", the second single released on July 30, 2015, has Godflesh-like riffs with choirs during choruses. The song, featuring Todd Jones on vocals, has lyrics taken from Old Testament quotes.

Hence its title, "Ishtar Rising" is about the Babylonian goddess Ishtar. "Live Life Hard!" features shrieking vocals from King Parrot's Matt Young. "Shamash" has a story about the Akkadian sun god Shamash. "Bethlehem's Blood" has Morbid Visions style of riffs flavored with trumpet horns and flamenco guitar, and Max's black metal style of vocals. "Titans" was released as the album's fourth single on January 14, 2016, exactly five months after the album was released. Two of its lyragraphs list the Titans. "Mother of Dragons", a homage to Max's wife Gloria, features three additional vocalists –– Max Cavalera's son Igor Jr., stepson Richie, and female vocalist Anahid M.O.P. who can growl like Max.

The special edition of this album contains three bonus tracks, each are unique in the type of special track. The Napalm Death cover "You Suffer" features Max Cavalera's grandson who teased Max to end his musical career. "Acosador Nocturno" (literally "Night Stalker" in Spanish) is remix of the standard track "Deceiver", except that the lyrics are mostly in Spanish sung by bassist Tony Campos. The acoustic-rich instrumental track "Soulfly X" features several Eurasian instruments such as duduk.

Durations Edit

With the album lasting 36 minutes and 35 seconds, Archangel is the shortest Soulfly album to date. The deluxe edition with three added bonus tracks bumps up to 45 minutes and 12 seconds, which is the shortest of any special edition. The shortness of this album is claimed to be advantageous to some fans, including that they don't get tire of this album still playing as readily, as well as one of the recommended choices for those who don't have a whole lot of time left of their activity or event. Max Cavalera said he cut away unneeded pieces while doesn't keep track of the durations of individual tracks while developing the record.

The longest track on the shortest album is "Soulfly X", which is the only track that lasts more than five minutes at 42 seconds over, in stark contrast with the last album Savages, which has all but two tracks lasting the order of at least five minutes. The shortest track is also a bonus track, "You Suffer", which lasts only eight seconds. On the standard edition without the bonus tracks, the longest track is the title track "Archangel" at 13 seconds shy of five minutes and the shortest is the final track "Mother of Dragons" at two-and-two-thirds minutes.

Tracklist Edit

  1. "We Sold Our Souls to Metal" ("WSOSTM") (released as single) – 3:00
  2. "Archangel" (title track) (released as single) – 4:47
  3. "Sodomites" (released as single) (feat. Todd Jones) – 3:54
  4. "Ishtar Rising" (orig. titled "Ishtar") – 2:44
  5. "Live Life Hard!" (feat. Matt Young) – 3:56
  6. "Shamash" – 3:48
  7. "Bethlehem's Blood" (alt. titled "Jerusalem's Blood") – 4:18
  8. "Titans" (orig. titled "Titanomachy") (released as single) – 4:44
  9. "Deceiver" – 2:43
  10. "Mother of Dragons" ("M.O.D.") – 2:39
Special edition bonus tracks
  1. "You Suffer" (Napalm Death cover; feat. Roki Cavalera) – 0:08
  2. "Acosador Nocturno" (remix of "Deceiver") – 2:43
  3. "Soulfly X" (instrumental) – 5:42
Deluxe edition DVD
Live at Hellfast 2014 in France
  1. "Cannibal Holocaust"
  2. "Refuse/Resist" (Sepultura cover)
  3. "Bloodshed"
  4. "Back to the Primitive"
  5. "Seek 'n' Strike"
  6. "Tribe"
  7. "Rise of the Fallen"
  8. "Revengeance"
  9. "Roots Bloody Roots" (Sepultura cover)
  10. "Jumpdafuckup/Eye for an Eye"

Reviews Edit

  • Agoraphobic News (8.7/10) – "The Soulfly's latest album has proven to be something more than just the usual Blood, Fire, War, Hate kind of thing."
  • Amy of Amnplify – "Archangel is packed with all the heady primeval grooves, savage riffs and stirring incantations that we expect from these metal veterans, while still remaining deeply grounded in its thrash origins. It is laden with evocative references to Ancient Mesopotamian religion and symbolism, meaning our beloved Brazilian metal guru is still having those brooding existential ruminations."
  • Ray Van Horn Jr. of Blabbermouth.net (8/10) – "Archangel is the most daring and freshest Soulfly album since Prophecy, but there's something slightly remiss and somewhat disjointed in this leaner yet embroidered shift toward yet another new order in this band."
  • Mark Zapata of Cryptic Rock (3.5/5) – "Archangel is the most concentrated Soulfly album with thirty-six minutes of power, heaviness, and violence."
  • Johnny Guagliardo of Killyourstereo.com (55/100) – "Archangel lacks depth and dynamics. Most tracks sound like the song that played before it, offering nothing more than thirty-six minutes of the same thing, going as far as to employ guest vocalists to change things up a little bit."
  • Chad Bowar of Loudwire – "Archangel is all killer, no filler. The 10 songs clock in at a compact 36 minutes, with not a wasted riff or self-indulgent tangent."
  • Steve of Metal Blast! (3/5) – "The album starts out with a bang with expert performance and then energy fizzles out in the second half."
  • Matthijs of Metalfan.nl (70/100) – "This is a rock-solid album but it doesn't follow the theme in a way the music plays. The album has a lot of same stuff with no breakdowns, offering no surprises to the fans."
  • Riley Rowe of Metal Injection (7/10) – "Archangel, an apt title to indicate Soulfly's spreading of wings towards a more mature style, is the grand and fitting next step in their mystical, musical journey."
  • Elpida Baphomet of Metal Invader (5/6) – "Archangel is characterized by its sophisticated oriental compositions, powerful grooves, multifaceted choirs and religious orientations. All of the instruments and voices stand out in the best possible way."
  • Arturo Zancato of Metallized.it (72/100) – "Archangel is far from a disc to be underestimated, because it has its many strengths, but is certainly not comparable to the excellent work published in days gone by Soulfly. A step or two ahead of the Savages, definitely the best work of the past five years, but still too far from the glorious splendor of the past."
  • Deadone of Metal Storm (7/10) – "There is not much sense of immediacy or excitement here. It's largely predictable meat-and-potatoes Cavalera-style groove thrash metal."
  • Tommy Wills of The Monolith – "Archangel is meticulously orchestrated, efficiently constructed, and flows even more beautifully than Max’s hair."
  • Dave of The Moshville Times – "While this album doesn’t do anything new that could change how metal develops, it’s a really strong chapter in Soulfly book."
  • Michael Baker of OneMetal.com (4/5) – "A blissfully brutal and streamlined incarnation of Soulfly's sound that ticks all the conventions for Soulfly, but does so in one of the strongest iterations yet."
  • Julian Burnan of RAMzine (4/5) – "They have their sound, why would they need to change it?"
  • Susie Garrard of Renowned for Sound (4/5) – "Archangel reflects the savagery of primal faiths in an aggression inspired by extreme metal."
  • Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie of The Rockpit (30/30) – "A somewhat diverse record with the death metal inspired tracks, the groove mid-tempo stuff and the thrashier songs mixed in there. Archangel is both streamlined and very aggressive."
  • Jason Z of SkullsNBones (5/5) – "Following the directional change of the band, Archangel is their most diverse and yet the most consistent album to date."
  • Sonic Abuse – "Max was showcasing rare forms of creativity as he continues to explore the boundaries of heavy music with this towering release."

Personnel Edit

Performers

Band members

Guest/session musicians

Songwriters
Audio engineers
  • Chris Rakestraw – engineering
  • Matt Hyde – recording, interludes, mixing, mastering
  • Rem Massingill – technician
  • Allen Steelgrave – technician
  • Jon Nicholson – drum technician
  • Samuel Petit – film editing on DVD
  • Fred Ricci – film editing on DVD
  • Benoît Gilg – audio mixing on DVD
Supervisors
  • Matt Hydeproduction
  • Gloria Cavalera – management
  • Oasis Management – management
  • Bryan Roberts – assistant management
  • Christina Stojanovic – assistant management
  • Rem Massingill – assistant engineering
  • Allen Steelgrave – assistant engineering
  • Samuel Petit – film direction on DVD
  • Eric Hallier – film production on DVD
  • Patrick Villeneuve – film production on DVD
  • Sombrero & Co. – film production on DVD
  • Bryan K. Christner – legal representation
  • Monte ConnerA&R
Cover artworkers
  • Eliran Kantor – cover art
  • Maicon Ristow – Oxossi illustration
  • Marcelo Vasco – design
  • Hannah Verbeuren – photography
Booking agents
  • Dan Rozenblum – booking
  • International Talent Booking – booking
  • Rod MacSween – booking
  • Steve Zapp – booking
  • The Agency Group – booking
  • Kelly Alexander – assistant booking

Album navigation Edit

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Primitive

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Dark Ages

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Archangel

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