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Soulfly
Soulfly album
1st album by Soulfly
Released on JPN: February 24, 1998
ROTW: April 21, 1998
Record label Roadrunner
Produced by Ross Robinson, Richard Kaplan
Number of tracks Standard edition: 15
Limited edition: 18
Anniversary edition: 19
Duration Standard edition: 67:34
Limited edition: 73:00
Anniversary edition: 77:06
Genre(s) Nu metal, groove metal
Singles 4
Alternate title(s) Soulfly 1, Prayer
Next album
Primitive
Limited edition digipak cover
Soulfly2

Soulfly is the self-titled debut album by Soulfly, released in 1998. The album continues the direction Max Cavalera left off from his previous album Roots by his previous band Sepultura released two years earlier. This is a nu metal album enriched with tribal sounds reminiscent of Roots. Soulfly has two special editions, the limited edition digipak released in 1999 and the 25th anniversary edition released in 2005 to honor the Roadrunner label's founding in 1980.

Notable songs on this album are "Eye for an Eye", "Tribe", "Bleed", "No Hope = No Fear", "Umbabarauma", and the title track "Soulfly". Four singles were released from their oldest album, tied with their newest album Archangel for most of any Soulfly album to date.

Background Edit

Formation of Soulfly Edit

In 1996, Max Cavalera exited his original band Sepultura following disputes with fellow guitarist Andreas Kisser about firing their manager and Max's wife Gloria for dealing with the funeral of his stepson Dana Wells, who died from a car crash. Wasn't sure if he'll continue his music career, Max recruited with guitarist Jackson Bandeira (previously with Nação Zumbi), bassist Marcelo Dias (previously with The Mist), and drummer Roy Mayorga (previously with Shelter) to form the new group fronted by Max Cavalera — Soulfly, just about a year after leaving his former band.

In 2008 Cavalera spoke to Kerrang! regarding the difficulty of starting his career with Soulfly:

It was so hard to start over, having been in Sepultura for so long. In fact, it was harder getting Soulfly going than it was getting Sepultura started. Coming into a whole new situation underneath the shadow of Roots was a huge challenge for me, and most people thought I was nuts. Plus, we made a conscious effort not to sound like Sepultura. My choice of musicians took me away from straight metal and into a vibe that embraced a lot more, while still being heavy. Part of the magic was working with some of my all-time favourite Brazilian musicians and that really pushed me to write some great and some very different sounding music. "Eye for an Eye" is still my favourite, man, and I also like "Tribe". That's like an anthem for all metalheads.

Production Edit

After the formation of the band, Max Cavalera had a hard time writing for the debut album because of the pain he suffered from the death of his stepson Dana Wells. It would be the seventh album to be written by Max Cavalera after writing the first six albums of his career with Sepultura. Once writing is finished, Max and other recruited members entered Indigo Ranch Studios in Malibu, California to begin recording the first Soulfly album with producers Ross Robinson and Richard Kaplan. Once recording was finished, the demos were sent to Soundtrack Studios in New York where Andy Wallace mixes the songs and was finished by George Marino.

Release Edit

Japan was the first place in the world to sell the Soulfly album for the first time. It was released there on February 24, 1998, and then was released outside of Japan roughly two months later on April 21, 1998. This is the first of eight Soulfly albums to be released through Roadrunner Records.

The limited edition of the album in digipak was released the following year that includes three additional tracks as well as bonus disc that comprises of remixes and live versions of some tracks. Soulfly released the special edition digipak of the debut album on August 30, 2005 to honor the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Roadrunner Records. This edition contains every track included in the limited edition plus an additional track along with bonus disc of songs played live at Roskilde Festival in 1998.

Tribute Edit

The album, released 20 months after Dana Wells' death, tributes him in memory. Both standard and limited editions of this album have the message, "In Loving Memory Dana", printed across the discs.

Charts Edit

The album Soulfly was charted in 10 countries, including six having the highest peak of any Soulfly albums, including the one tied with one other album. The highest peak and the most weeks on the chart is Belgium Ultratop 200, which peaked at #12 and was on the chart for nine weeks. Three other countries had this album charted in the teens and three been on charts for at least six weeks. The album was on the US Billboard 200 for three weeks peaking at #79, the lowest peak of any country where this album was charted. The band's debut album is the only Soulfly album that did not chart on the Swiss Music Charts.

Chart Weeks Peak
Australia Top 100
2
#33
Austria Top 75
3
#28
Belgium Ultratop 200
9
#12
Dutch Top 100
8
#28
Finland Top 50
3
#18
France Top 150
6
#14
Germany Top 100
6
#29
Sweden Top 60
3
#43
UK Top 100
2
#16
US Billboard 200
3
#79

Title and cover art Edit

While writing for the then-upcoming debut Soulfly record, ideas for the album title by Max Cavalera were Soulfly, Fly High, Tribe, and Prayer. When Deftones vocalist Chino Moreno arrives in Max's studio to perform vocals for one of the tracks to be put on the first Soulfly album, they agree on the eponymous title and Max quickly became very satisfied. The band title itself came from the line of lyrics of the Deftones song "Headup" and they think it's very appropriate to name an album after that too. To distinguish the album title from the band, fans may refer Soulfly 1 as their debut album, reminiscent of their third album that fans commonly refer as Soulfly 3.

The album cover is a photograph taken from the shore of Portugal. It shows a black figure of Max Cavalera with arms raised and stretched horizontally facing out to sea towards the setting sun as a symbol of prayer used to imitate Christ. The cover was created by Jo Kirchherr and the photography was taken by Glen LaFerman. Due to its depiction, some fans may refer this album Prayer, which was the candidate title for this album as mentioned. The digipak cover shows the same silhouette but with the giant face of Dana Wells in the background along with soldiers. Dana Wells was photographed by Christy Priske and the other things on the reissue cover such as soldiers were photographed by LaFerman.

Music and lyrics Edit

Soulfly follows the direction left by his previous, less aggressive album Roots. Nu metal is the main driving force of this album along with plenty of grooves and influences of thrash and rap. It also showcases numerous tribal sounds using indigenous instruments of Brazil. This album is strongly influenced by Roots with lesser influence by the eponymous debut album by Korn.

Much of the lyrics on this album are about Max's personal feelings, especially pain suffered from his stepson's death, as well as faith and God. There are some lyrics about everyday life and history in Brazil, including a historical soccer player and the historical leader Zumbi.

Songs Edit

"Eye for an Eye" was the first Soulfly song unveiled, released on February 23, 1998. It features two Fear Factory members, Dino Cazares and Burton C. Bell. "Bleed" tributes to the death of Dana Wells. The song features two Limp Bizkit members, Fred Durst and DJ Lethal, contributing to rap presence in this song. "Bleed" also features the first music video released by the band. Due to the fact that Tribe is the nickname of Soulfly and their fans, the song titled "Tribe" is a metalhead anthem, and the song plays it live more often than any other Soulfly song except for "Back to the Primitive" of their next album.

"First Commandment" is another song that tributes Wells, who died in an automobile accident. However Chino Moreno of Deftones believed that he was murdered. Despite his wrongful belief, they agreed to collaborate on the song about his murder that shouldn't occur. Due to its lyrical theme, "First Commandment" is alternatively titled "Thou Shalt Not Kill".

"Bumba" and "Umbabarauma" feature numerous guests and session musicians performing backing vocals. The group Los Hooligans is featured in "Bumba". "Umbabarauma" is a cover of the 1976 song by Brazilian musician Jorge Ben Jor, which originally featured on his album Andreas Kisser. This song references Umbabarauma, a long-ago African soccer player in Brazil. Bumbklaatt, used as the song title, is a Portuguese vulgar word that inspired from tensions between his former band Sepultura with Brazilian bands Ratos de Porão and Sarcófago.

"Soulfly" is the first of the series of band-titled instrumental tracks that appear in every Soulfly album to date. This is a world music track that features conga, tribal drums, sitar and soft bass strumming.

"Quilombo" references Zumbi on the Brazilian settlement of Quilombo. It also features DJ Lethal as well as the first timer Benji Webbe, who would make three appearances on this album, including a bonus track. "Fire" deploys several unusual instruments – agogô, triangle, and chocalho.

"The Song Remains Insane" is pieced together by two other songs, opening with a cover of "Caos" by Ratos de Porão and then a brief reckless hardcore rendition of "Attitude" by Sepultura. Every line of lyrics in the song "No" starts with 'no' and features Fear Factory bassist Christian Olde Wolbers.

"Karmageddon" is another world instrumental song and the closing track on the standard edition. The track literally comprises of two songs, the same-name first song and the second song "Sultao Das Matas", featuring a Brazilian woman.

The bonus track "Cangaceiro" is a political song about Brazilian lives being limited by their government and land owners. The next two bonus tracks, "Ain't No Feeble Bastard" (B-side to the single "Bleed") and "The Possibility of Life's Destruction", were both originally recorded by the band Discharge. Both of these Soulfly versions were written by former Discharge vocalist Tezz Roberts. "Blow Away", which only featured on the 25th anniversary edition, features Max's son Igor who was little at the time of the song's recording. The song is the remix of "Quilombo".

The songs "Loser" and "Judas" were written for this album, but never recorded.

Durations Edit

The regular edition of this album lasts seven and a half minutes over an hour, which is the longest of any Soulfly album. The special editions last even longer, at 13 minutes over for the limited edition and over 17 minutes over for the anniversary edition. The longest track on the album is "Prejudice" at just under seven minutes while the shortest track on the standard edition is "Eye for an Eye" at just over three-and-a-half minutes, while the shortest of all tracks including the bonus tracks is "The Possibility of Life's Destruction" at a shade under 90 seconds.

Tracklist Edit

  1. "Eye for an Eye" (released as single) (feat. Dino Cazares and Burton C. Bell) – 3:34
  2. "No Hope = No Fear" – 4:35
  3. "Bleed" (released as single) (feat. Fred Durst and DJ Lethal) – 4:06
  4. "Tribe" (released as single) – 6:02
  5. "Bumba" (feat. Los Hooligans) – 3:58
  6. "First Commandment" (alt. titled "Thou Shalt Not Kill") (feat. Chino Moreno) – 4:29
  7. "Bumbklaatt" – 3:51
  8. "Soulfly" (title track) (instrumental) – 4:48
  9. "Umbabarauma" (released as single) (Jorge Ben Jor cover; feat. Jorge Ben) – 4:10
  10. "Quilombo" (feat. Benji Webbe and DJ Lethal) – 3:42
  11. "Fire" – 4:21
  12. "The Song Remains Insane" – 3:39
  13. "No" (feat. Christian Olde Wolbers) – 3:59
  14. "Prejudice" (feat. Benji Webbe) – 6:52
  15. "Karmageddon" (instrumental; contains the hidden track "Sultão das Matas") – 5:44
Limited edition digipak bonus tracks
  1. "Cangaceiro" – 2:18
  2. "Ain't No Feeble Bastard" ("A.N.F.B.") (Discharge cover) – 1:38
  3. "The Possibility of Life's Destruction" ("T.P.O.L.D.") (Discharge cover) – 1:28
25th anniversary edition bonus track
  1. "Blow Away" (remix of "Quilombo") (feat. Igor Cavalera Jr. and Benji Webbe) – 4:06
Limited edition digipak bonus disc
  1. "Tribe" (Fuck Shit Up mix) – 5:35
  2. "Quilombo" (Extreme Ragga Dub mix) – 3:23
  3. "Umbabarauma" (World Cup mix) – 3:43
  4. "No Hope = No Fear" (live) – 4:16
  5. "Bleed" (live) – 4:35
  6. "Bumba" (live) – 3:27
  7. "Quilombo" (live) – 4:08
  8. "The Song Remains Insane" (live) – 2:20
  9. "Eye for an Eye" (live at Indigo Ranch) – 3:32
  10. "Tribe" (Tribal Terrorism mix) – 4:17
  11. "Umbabarauma" (Brasil '70 mix) – 4:27
  12. "Quilombo" (Zumbi Dub mix) – 3:24
  13. "Soulfly" (Eternal Spirit mix) – 5:27
Roadrunner Records 25th anniversary reissue bonus disc
Live at Roskilde Festival 1998
  1. "Eye for an Eye" – 3:46
  2. "No Hope = No Fear" – 4:08
  3. "Spit" (Sepultura cover) – 2:44
  4. "Bleed" – 4:28
  5. "Beneath the Remains/Dead Embryonic Cells" (Sepultura covers) – 3:41
  6. "Tribe" – 6:33
  7. "Bumba" – 3:10
  8. "Refuse/Resist" (Sepultura cover) – 3:43
  9. "Quilombo" – 4:00
  10. "Roots Bloody Roots" (Sepultura cover) – 3:24
  11. "Attitude" (Sepultura cover) – 3:51
  12. "The Song Remains Insane" – 3:54
  13. "No" – 5:08
  14. "Max Cavalera Spoken Word Performance" (Crossing Border Festival 1997) – 17:28
  15. "Spoken Word Jam" (Crossing Border Festival 1997) – 4:19
  16. "Eye for an Eye" (four-track demo version) – 3:29

Reviews Edit

  • Greg Prato of AllMusic (4/5) – "Cavalera's first album by Soulfly was propelled by his last release with Roots by Sepultura, but gut-wrenching heavy metal is the foundation of this album. The title track gave Soulfly their first taste into the reggae/dub territory and serves as a nice break from thunderous metal dominant on this album."
  • GiantRex of Encyclopaedia Metallum (4%) – "This album is completely void of creativity and is where metal was going to die, but it didn't. Max and his crew were exercising the creativity too seriously, resulting in the album with few, if not zero, redeeming qualities."
  • Kingcrimsonprog of KingcrimsonBlog (2/5) – "The music on this album is a little too plain and uninteresting during the proper metal sections, and the tribal sections do not fit as well as on subsequent Soulfly records."
  • Marcus of Metal Storm (7.9/10) – "Soulfly's self-titled debut really shows that it is Max Cavalera's band, as he projects all of his new found anger and he also really explores tribal music from his native Brazil."

Certifications Edit

Soulfly has sold over 500,000 copies to date, the most of any Soulfly album, partly because Max Cavalera fans were curious what his band was like after he quit Sepultura. Soulfly was certified gold by the RIAA on November 16, 2005 and was certified silver in UK on September 20, 2002. It still remains the only Soulfly album to date that received certifications anywhere around the world.

Personnel Edit

Performers

Band members

Guest/session musicians

Songwriters
Audio engineers
Supervisors
Cover artworkers
  • Jo Kirchherr – cover photo, liner notes
  • Max Cavalera – photography of Dana Wells, liner notes for reissue
  • Glen LaFerman – photography, digipak cover photography
  • Christy Priske – photography of Dana Wells
  • Marc Villalonga – photography of Max Cavalera live
  • Teppei – photography of Roy Mayorga live
  • Steven Hartong – assistant photography
  • Kevin Estrada – photography for reissue
  • Mike Roper – CD label tattoo artwork
  • Paul Stottler – CD label tattoo artwork, tattoo face paint artwork
  • Rick Godey – tribe tattoo artwork
  • Jeff Jibran – Soulfly logo tattoo artwork
  • Ray Nugent – Soulfly back piece tattoo artwork
  • Steffan Chirazi – liner notes for reissue
  • Pawn Shop Press – art direction, design
  • Holger Drees – design
  • Leo Zulueta – Soulfly symbol
Booking agents
  • Gavin Hitt – booking for USA
  • Variety Artists – booking for USA
  • International Talent Booking – booking for worldwide
  • Rod MacSween – booking for worldwide
  • Scott Thomas – booking for worldwide

Album navigation Edit

Soulfly

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Primitive

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