Even though we were only ten minutes late we entered the concerthall during a breakdown halfway through the set of opening act Lody Kong. The band led by the 21-year-old Igor Cavalera Jr. (not to be confused with his uncle, the former Sepultura and current Cavalera Conspiracy drummer with the same name) wasn’t only unfortunate with the short amount of time they were given but especially by the quite terrible sound. Only the drums played by Zyon –Max Cavalera’s son who turned 23 earlier this year- were easily distinguishable from the other noises blasting through the P.A. Even though bass player Noah Shepherd seemed to be giving it his all on his 6-string and Travis Stone looked like he was shredding his ass off, one could hardly hear either of them clearly enough to figure out whether they were actually playing well or not. Judging by their recordings I found online I may not have turned out to be their biggest fan anyway, because perhaps the raw crust punk sound was what they were really aiming for. Otherwise they will surely be disappointed they didn’t get a proper chance to convince me of their qualities due to a sloppy sound-check or perhaps an audio engineer who couldn’t be arsed. Whatever the cause or reason may have been, I am sorry to say Lody Kong sadly couldn’t convince me to remain curious enough so I would check out more of their work.
With Ritchie on vocals another member of the Cavalera family entered the stage. The sound hadn’t improved much at first but got better and better after a couple of songs. To some people –or probably most – Incite will always be the band of the stepson of the guy who used to be in Sepultura. However proud Richie might be of his stepfather, I doubt anyone in the band wouldn’t want a bit more of an own identity. Having said all that, I have always been curious as to how they were going to try to be original and unique. If you would ask me, they haven’t really succeeded to distinguish themselves from the million other bands that blend melodic death with some thrash and the occasional metalcore-influence. Despite not having paid too much attention to All Out War (2012) or Up in Hell (2014), I was quite excited to see them play some tracks from their debut album The Slaughter (2009) of which I have some fond memories. As it turned out the Arizonans realise their earliest work is among their best and they ended the set with The Slaughter and Army of Darkness. To me those two songs really stood out in a set that otherwise was decent but lacked a little originality. Personally I would’ve loved to shout along with Divided We Fail, but all in all I can’t complain about this good performance by a band that may never really have a big breakthrough but knows how to enjoy themselves and give their fans what they came for, an entertaining warm-up for Soulfly.
When the Australians of King Parrot entered the stage it became immediately clear they meant business. Vocalist Young nor bassist Slattery had bothered putting on a shirt because they were determined to give a sweaty performance and they certainly did. The hall had become almost filled by the time but it wouldn’t take long before some equally enthusiastic moshers made some room up front. Not that I can’t appreciate some energetic crossover between hardcore and thrash but when it starts sounding an awful lot like grindcore of the rawest kind I will seldom do more than warm-up my neckmuscles a little and hope it’s not going to last forever. To me King Parrot is one of those bands that ‘is probably good in it’s genre’, but the genre really just isn’t my cup of tea. Despite the fact that most songs sounded pretty much exactly the same to me, it seemed the majority of the crowd was enjoying the last support-act of the evening. I may have been one of those ‘pussies with their arms crossed’ as frontman Matthew Young said, but I can’t say I could care much less about the opinion of a man that wastes such an amount of drinkable water because he felt it was a tough thing to do.
Soulfly obviously was the band everyone came to see. Frontman Max Cavalera may have put on some extra weight over the past couple of years and in footage of recent performances his voice seemed to have lost some power, but he was still very much the living legend in the centre of the attention. For 12 years now has Marc Rizzo been working with Max, not only with Soulfly but also in Cavalera Conspiracy. It almost came as a surprise he didn’t do a guest-solo on Killer Be Killed’s self-titled debut. In this decennium alone there have been 3 different drummers and 4 different bass-players completing the quartet. Max’ son Zyon (you may recall his in utero heartbeat from the intro of Refuse/Resist on Sepultura’s Chaos A.D. album) may only have been 5 when his father’s band released its first record but he’s proven himself to be a worthy successor to the likes of Roy Mayorga (Stone Sour, Channel Zero a.o.), Joe Nunez and David Kinkade (ex-Borknagar).
After having joined the band in 2012 as a live-musician he also put down some heavy drumming on Savages (2013) and Archangel (2015). Last summer was the first time I saw him perform (at Lokerse Feesten) and if there were some minor errors in his playing then, there certainly weren’t any now. His younger brother Igor however, who was filling in for Tony Campos (Fear Factory, Asesino, ex-Static-X, ex-Ministry, ex-Prong, ex-Possessed) on bass, wasn’t asked for double duties. Mike Leon (ex-Havok) took over with his LTD F-series. When it comes to giving an energetic performance Leon may not look as much as if he had way too much caffeine, but I’m under the impression his technical abilities, especially in faster songs, gave him the advantage over the Lody Kong frontman. Besides that his vocal contribution on Sodomites, a track from the Archangel record where Todd Jones (Nails) put down some screams, was surely a part of the reason he was chosen to join the band as well.
With Soulfly a metal-party was guaranteed but the question remained what the setlist would look like. Personally I was hoping there wouldn’t be too many newer songs, not because I am against bands that change their style over the years, but merely because I happen to love both the groovier and the thrasher era’s as opposed to the current death/grind approach. We Sold our Soul To Metal to me isn’t really the metal-anthem it was intended to be, but it appears few people were bothered by the openingtrack. The title track and Ishtar Rising from the newest album followed, but it wasn’t until Blood Fire War Hate I got really pumped and couldn’t Refuse/Resist to join the pit. And as the Prophecy foretold, the Soulfly Tribe would Arise from its Dead Embryonic Cells and Jumpthefuckup to celebrate its Roots Bloody Roots. Yet the absolute highlight from the evening may have been slightly unpredictable. When the lads from King Parrot re-entered the stage one may have expected one of Soulfly’s heaviest, but instead came a tribute to our recently deceased God. The Ace of Spades obviously is a no-nonsense declaration of the heavy metal lifestyle and the best way to see a room full of people go absolute apeshit. Eye for an Eye was the last track that couldn’t be left out of the show and with Metallica’s The Four Horsemen the party came to a closing. And so it became time to go home and realise chances are you might not be able to use your neckmuscles for at least a couple of days.
Ahead of the show Max visited the city-hall were he got a Champions League-matchworn jersey from footballer Sven Kums of AA Gent. You can find some pictures of that visit over here [Dutch]
1. We Sold Our Souls to Metal
3. Ishtar Rising
4. Blood Fire War Hate
5. Refuse/Resist (Sepultura cover)
8. Seek ‘N’ Strike
9. Arise / Dead Embryonic Cells (Sepultura cover)
10. Tribe (with “Umbabarauma” outro)
11. Roots Bloody Roots (Sepultura cover)
12. Ace of Spades feat. King Parrot (Motörhead cover)
13. Jumpdafuckup / Eye for an Eye/The Four Horsemen (Metallica cover)