Soulfly logo.jpg
Active since 1997
Home Phoenix, AZ
Name origin lyric of the Deftones song "Headup"
Genres Groove metal, thrash metal, death metal (later), nu metal (early), world music
Current members Max Cavalera (vocals, guitars)
Marc Rizzo (guitars)
Mike Leon (bass)
Zyon Cavalera (drums)
Past members Jackson Bandeira (guitar)
Logan Mader (guitar)
Mikey Doling (guitar)
Marcelo Dias (bass)
Roy Mayorga (drums)
David Ellefson (bass)
Bobby Burns (bass)
Joe Nuñez (drums)
David Kinkade (drums)
Tony Campos (bass)
Igor Cavalera Jr. (bass)
Labels Nuclear Blast (2013–present)
Roadrunner (1997–2012)
Studio albums Soulfly (1998)
Primitive (2000)
3 (2002)
Prophecy (2004)
Dark Ages (2005)
Conquer (2008)
Omen (2010)
Enslaved (2012)
Savages (2013)
Archangel (2015)
Ritual (2018)
Associated with Sepultura, Cavalera Conspiracy, Killer Be Killed, Nailbomb, Incite, Lody Kong, Static-X, Possessed, Ministry, Asesino, Ill Niño, Borknagar, Primer 55, Megadeth, Stone Sour, Against All Will, Nausea, Shelter, Machine Head, Medication, Nação Zumbi
Similar to (AllMusic) Chico Science, Otep, Machine Head, Vision of Disorder, Black Label Society, Godsmack, Slipknot, Coal Chamber, Fear Factory, Limp Bizkit, Rob Zombie, Pantera, Cavalera Conspiracy, Korn, P.O.D., Two, Apocalyptica, Deftones
Similar to (Metallum) Sepultura, Cavalera Conspiracy, Machine Head, DevilDriver, Pantera, Lamb of God, Nailbomb, Chimaira, Damageplan, Hellyeah, Killer Be Killed, Fear Factory, Skinlab, Throwdown, Shadows Fall, Incite, Prong, The Haunted, Brujeria
Influenced by Sepultura, Nação Zumbi, Metallica, Pantera, Agnostic Front, Slayer, Anthrax, Motörhead, MC5, The Stooges, Black Sabbath
Influenced Cavalera Conspiracy, Killer Be Killed, Incite
Followed by Divine Heresy, August Burns Red, Ektomorf, Chiodos, Ankla, All That Remains, Killswitch Engage
Websites Official site · Facebook page · Facebook group

Soulfly is a metal band based in Phoenix, Arizona. Soulfly is led by former Sepultura frontman Max Cavalera, who formed the band a year after he left the former group in 1996. The band went through numerous lineup changes, with frontman Cavalera being the only constant member. The current lineup comprises of vocalist and guitarist Max Cavalera, guitarist Marc Rizzo, bassist Mike Leon, and drummer Zyon Cavalera. Soulfly has released eleven studio albums, four EPs, 27 singles, one DVD video (plus three bonus DVD videos that come in digipaks with the albums), three compilation albums and three split albums. Their debut album, Soulfly, was released on April 21, 1998, while their newest album, Ritual, was released on October 19, 2018.

All of their first ten studio albums debuted on the United States Billboard 200, with a peak position at number 32 for their second album Primitive. Soulfly has been certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.

Soulfly incorporate many styles of metal with Brazilian tribal and world music as well as vast array of other genres such as reggae and acoustic. The original lyrical content revolved around spirituality and religious themes with later albums encompassing other themes including war, violence, aggression, slavery, hatred and anger.

History[edit | edit source]

Formation[edit | edit source]

Max Cavalera quitted Sepultura in 1996 because he was betrayed by guitarist Andreas Kisser of trying to fire their manager and Cavalera's wife, Gloria for dealing with funeral of their stepson Dana Wells, a few months after he died tragically in a car accident. The leave made Max feel much more worried and difficult, "The hardest part was realizing that I had to continue without Sepultura, and I had to find the right people to do that. But the last thing I was gonna do was stop playing music or give up." Soon after the quote, Max relieved himself by coming to his mind about if one ends, the new one begins, using it to usher in his new era of music career by forming a new band. Max said the new band should be about spirituality while retaining music similar to that of Sepultura, but he was against the former idea, "I do hate a lot of 'religion' but people like Christ - yeah they inspire me. I mean if you look at Christ, He was hanging around with the lowlifes, prostitutes and the losers you know, not going around with those high society motherfuckers you see trying to sell Jesus today!" He recruited with guitarist Jackson Bandeira, bassist Marcelo Dias, and drummer Roy Mayorga to form the group. Max named the band Soulfly after the spoken word in the lyric of Deftones song "Headup", where Max was the guest writer and vocalist as a way to relieve the pain of Dana Wells' death. The choruses featuring 'Soulfly' were sung by Cavalera. The root origin of Soulfly was from Brazilian tribes believing that the souls of their ancestors are flying around and they make music about it. Soulfly was going to be a short-lived project like Nailbomb, and then as years went on for the band it became long-lasting and legendary like Sepultura.

Self-titled debut album and Primitive (1998–2001)[edit | edit source]

Cavalera was having trouble recording the Soulfly's first album, due to the resulting pain he suffered from the death of Dana Wells. On the band's website he said that he founded the band "with the idea of combined sounds and spiritual beliefs". The self-titled debut album, Soulfly, was released in Japan on February 24, 1998 and on April 21, 1998 for the rest of the world, reaching number 79 on the US Billboard 200.

In addition to the core band, which at the time consisted of Jackson Bandeira on guitar, Marcelo Dias on bass, and Roy Mayorga on drums, Soulfly featured Burton C. Bell, Dino Cazares and Christian Olde Wolbers from Fear Factory, Fred Durst and DJ Lethal from Limp Bizkit, Chino Moreno from Deftones, Benji Webbe formerly of Welsh band Dub War and now a member of Skindred, Eric Bobo from Cypress Hill, Jorge do Peixe and Gilmar Bola Oito from Chico Science & Nação Zumbi, and Mario C.. The album was recorded at Indigo Ranch Studios in Malibu, California and was overseen by producer Ross Robinson.

After recording the first album, Jackson Bandeira returned to Brazil with Nação Zumbi and was replaced by Logan Mader of Machine Head for the live tour that followed. Soulfly played on the 1998 Ozzfest mainstage alongside Ozzy Osbourne, Megadeth, and Tool, and played small club tours around the world with bands such as System of a Down and Snot. After the world tour in support of Soulfly, Logan Mader was replaced by Mikey Doling who had just been displaced by the break up of Snot.

Soulfly's second album, Primitive, was released on July 26, 2000 in Japan and on September 26, 2000 around the world. It was the most successful album by the band in the U.S., reaching number 32 on the Billboard 200 and number 11 on the US Independent Albums charts. Joe Nuñez from Chicago replaced Roy Mayorga on drums for Primitive. The album featured a number of guest appearances as well, including Corey Taylor of Slipknot and Stone Sour, Sean Lennon, Chino Moreno of Deftones, Tom Araya of Slayer, Grady Avenell of Will Haven, Cutthroat Logic, and Asha Rabouin. Primitive album artwork was created by longtime Bob Marley artist Neville Garrick, based from the art created by his son Nesta. The release of the album was followed by world tours with the likes of Pantera, Morbid Angel and Ozzfest.

3, new line-up and Prophecy (2002–2004)[edit | edit source]

In late 2001, Joe Nunez left Soulfly to join Stripping the Pistol, saying that it was "time for [him] to move on". Roy Mayorga departed from his band Medication to rejoin Soulfly for the recording of their third album, plainly titled 3. 3 was the first Soulfly album which was solely produced by Max Cavalera. Other musicians performing on 3 included Cristian Machado of Ill Niño, guitarist Wiley Arnett, drummer Greg Hall, and Max's stepson Richie Cavalera. The album reached number 46 on the Billboard 200 in that year. After the release of 3 on June 24, 2002 in Europe and a day later over other parts of the world including North America, Soulfly toured throughout Europe and North America with bands such as Slayer, In Flames, God Forbid, and Will Haven.

In September 2003, after the world tour for 3, Marcelo Dias was fired from the band, and Mikey Doling and Roy Mayorga both left the band in protest, leaving Cavalera as the sole remaining member for a period of three weeks.

Cavalera recruited a new lineup in October 2003 for the recording of their fourth album, Prophecy. Joe Nunez returned on drums with New Jersey native Marc Rizzo, formerly of Ill Niño, on guitar and Kentucky native Bobby Burns, formerly of Primer 55, on bass. David Ellefson, formerly of Megadeth at the time, also played bass on several of the album's songs.

Max Cavalera explained on the band's website that he wanted to use different musicians as part of the group for each album. "This is an approach that I've wanted to do for a while. I never wanted Soulfly to be a band like Metallica, with the same four guys. On every Soulfly album, we've changed the line up and it will probably continue that way. In order to do that, I had to start from the inside out and bring in people who caught my attention, that I had never played with before, and create this."

While a member of Sepultura, Cavalera had shown an interest in world music as shown in Roots, featuring elements of the music of Brazil's indigenous peoples. This approach continued on the Prophecy album, with Cavalera traveling to Serbia to record with traditional musicians. On the song "Moses", he worked with Serbian band Eyesburn, which also features reggae influences from one of his heroes, Bob Marley. Other tracks on the album feature instruments from the Middle Ages, sheepskin bagpipes, and Serbian Gypsies. Danny Marianino and Asha Rabouin returned as guest vocalists on Prophecy, as well, and Max Cavalera produced the album. Prophecy was released on March 30, 2004 over much of the world, including the US. Soulfly followed the album release with tours supporting Black Sabbath and Morbid Angel.

In February 2005, Soulfly released their first DVD, entitled The Song Remains Insane. This was a biography of the band, containing live footage from all over the globe, interviews, and all of the band's music videos. In August 2005, Roadrunner Records reissued their self-titled first album as part of the label's 25th anniversary celebration.

Dark Ages (2005–2007)[edit | edit source]

In December 2004, as recording was beginning for Soulfly's fifth studio album, the band was rocked by several tragedies that affected the outcome of the album. On December 8, Max's friend Darrell "Dimebag" Abbott was shot to death while playing onstage in Ohio, and on December 10, Cavalera's 8 month old grandson Moses unexpectedly died due to health complications. The following fall, on October 4, 2005, Dark Ages was released (except for a day earlier in UK). Many critics have described Dark Ages as a return to Cavalera's thrash metal roots of the early Sepultura days; however, the world metal influence found on the first four Soulfly albums is still present. In fact, this time, Cavalera traveled to five different countries — Serbia, Turkey, Russia, France, and the United States — in order to record all the sounds that he desired to have on the new album.

The core band on Dark Ages still consisted of Max Cavalera, Marc Rizzo, Joe Nunez, and Bobby Burns, and on this album, Dave Ellefson came back to lend his talents for one track, Eyesburn vocalist Coyote sang on "Innerspirit", Stormtroopers of Death vocalist Billy Milano and Russian singer Paul Fillipenko of FAQ screamed on the hardcore influenced "Molotov", and Max's stepson, Ritchie Cavalera from Phoenix-based band Incite, sang on "Staystrong". Soulfly supported Dark Ages on a world tour with various bands such as Deftones, Korn, Throwdown, and Skindred that has stretched through North America, South America, Europe, Russia, and Australia.

On August 17, 2006, Soulfly played the 10th Annual D-Low Memorial show with several guest artists including Dave Ellefson and Roy Mayorga, the latter of whom who currently plays with Stone Sour. Most notably, Max was reunited onstage for the first time in 10 years with his brother Igor Cavalera. Max and Igor formed Sepultura together in the early 1980s, but had not played together since Max's departure in 1997. Igor joined the band mid-way through the set for a jam on the drums and stayed onstage to play the Sepultura classics "Roots Bloody Roots" and "Attitude" on Joe Nunez's drum kit.

In the time between legs of Soulfly's world tour for Dark Ages and afterwards, members of Soulfly stayed extremely busy by focusing on projects and activities outside of the band. Max Cavalera guested on the Apocalyptica single "Repressed" with Bullet For My Valentine vocalist Matt Tuck during a visit to Germany, went to Russia in January 2007 to guest on the album Circus Dogs by Russian hardcore band FAQ and played on Saint-Petersbourg with Radiohead album sound producer Nike "Naik" Groshin, played a surprise jam session in Serbia with Dan Lilker of Brutal Truth and S.O.D., and spent time in Arizona writing for future releases. Marc Rizzo spent the year on the road throughout North America playing his solo flamenco-meets-shred metal, gaining him further recognition as one of the world's premier metal guitarists. Earlier in 2005 Marc had released his debut solo album, Colossal Myopia, through Shrapnel Records, and in 2007 he prepared his follow-up, The Ultimate Devotion, which has now been released. Bobby Burns purchased a studio in Orlando, FL with his partner Tim Lau, revived his former band Primer 55, and worked on new releases for his Love Said No and King Street projects. In September 2006 Bobby suffered a mild stroke, was forced to sit out of Soulfly's North American tour, and his spot in the band was briefly filled by Dave Ellefson and Danny Lilker. Joe Nunez worked on the development of several drum accessories with Slug Drums, and taught drum lessons and worked construction in Chicago.

Soulfly ventured to Undercity Recording Studios in March 2007 to record a cover of the Marilyn Manson single "The Beautiful People" with Logan Mader producing. The song was later released in June 2007 by Kerrang! magazine in issue 1164 as part of their Higher Voltage compilation. During time in the studio, Max Cavalera also recorded vocals for the song "War Is My Destiny" with Ill Bill and Immortal Technique for Ill Bill's second studio album, The Hour of Reprisal, expected to be released on August 26, 2008.

Conquer and Omen (2008–2010)[edit | edit source]

In August 2007, Soulfly did a tour that consisted of a mixture of festival and club shows through Europe before playing the 11th Annual D-Low Memorial Show in Tempe, AZ on August 31, 2007. Cavalera Conspiracy also made their debut live performance at the show by opening for Soulfly. One week after performing the show, Soulfly went to Bobby Burns and Tim Lau's newly renovated Porch Studio in Orlando, FL to begin work on their sixth studio album, which Cavalera had begun writing during the summer. After working halfway through recording until September 29, Cavalera halted the session to travel throughout Egypt to record more sounds to integrate into the new songs. In November 2007, Cavalera returned to Orlando to complete tracking and the album was mixed by Andy Sneap in early 2008. The album featured collaborations Dave Peters from Throwdown and David Vincent from Morbid Angel.

Soulfly released their sixth album Conquer on July 23, 2008 in Australia and July 29, 2008 in other parts of the world. Following the release of the album, the band toured the United States with Devastation and Bleed the Sky in the fall, toured Europe in winter of 2009 with Incite, played a small UK and European festivals during the spring and summer of 2009, and went on a fall 2009 U.S. headlining tour with Cattle Decapitation, Prong, and Mutiny Within.

Soulfly entered the Edge of the Earth Studios in Los Angeles, California on November 6, 2009 to begin recording their seventh album with Max Cavalera and Logan Mader both producing. Through a series of streaming web video updates, frontman Max Cavalera revealed on November 13, 2009 that the album would be called Omen and would feature guest appearances by Tommy Victor of Prong and Greg Puciato of The Dillinger Escape Plan. Additionally, the album features performances from Max's sons: Zyon Cavalera performing drums on Sepultura cover song "Refuse/Resist" and Igor Cavalera Jr. co-singing on Excel cover "Your Life, My Life". Omen has been released over most of the world on May 25, 2010.

From May 13 – December 16, 2010, Soulfly conducted a world tour in support of their new album Omen.

On July 18, 2010, bassist Bobby Burns posted following message on his Twitter profile: "To all the fans... SOULFLY and I have decided to part ways. Stay tuned for my next projects already in the works. Thanks for ur support!!!"

Line up change, Enslaved and Savages (2011–2013)[edit | edit source]

On July 1, 2011, Soulfly has announced that the group has recruited former Static-X and current Asesino, Prong, and Ministry bassist Tony Campos into the band, replacing former bassist Bobby Burns, who left the group in July of last year.

In August 2011, Joe Nunez was replaced by Borknagar drummer David Kinkade. In September 2011, the band announced they entered the recording studio to make their eighth album due for an early 2012 release. In late October it was revealed that recording had finished, and Kinkade claimed that the new album is like "Arise on crack". Confirmed guests on the album were Adam Warren of Oceano and Dez Fafara of Coal Chamber and DevilDriver, although Warren pulled out of recording and was replaced by Cattle Decapitation frontman Travis Ryan. In the December 2011 issue of Metal Hammer, Cavalera stated that the main theme of the album will be slavery, with confirmed song titles "Slave", "Chains", "Legions" (a song about the Roman Empire), "Gladiator", "Redemption of Man by God" (featuring Dez Fafara), and "Revengeance" (with Max's three sons featuring Zyon on drums, Richie on vocals and Iggor writing half the guitar riffs). The album was produced by Zeuss and the cover artwork was created by Marcelo Vasco, who has designed album artwork for bands such as Borknagar, Obituary, and Dimmu Borgir. On December 6, the album title was announced to be Enslaved and release date of March 13, 2012. Soulfly performed at the 13th annual Gathering of the Juggalos in Cave-in-Rock, IL in August 2012. Throughout 2012, Soulfly have headlined the "Maximum Cavalera Tour", supported by Incite (fronted by Richie Cavalera) and Lody Kong (featuring Igor Cavalera Jr. and Zyon Cavalera). In October 2012 Kinkade announced his retirement from drumming, leaving Soulfly after their show in Bangkok. Max's son Zyon, who performed during the South America tour earlier in the year, will take over drums for the upcoming US tour and for the foreseeable future.

In April 2013 Max announced Soulfly's intention to record more material after their tour, with producer Terry Date, and confirmed on May 3 that Zyon will be a drummer for their upcoming album. On May 8, Soulfly signed to Nuclear Blast Records. In July Max announced that the ninth album would be called Savages. The band released the album on September 30 in the UK, October 1 in the US, and October 4 in Europe. Savages features a number of guest vocalists including Igor Cavalera Jr. of Lody Kong, Jamie Hanks of I Declare War, Neil Fallon of Clutch, and Mitch Harris of Napalm Death.

Archangel and Ritual (2014–present)[edit | edit source]

On December 6, 2014 Max Cavalera confirmed through an interview that he will make a new Soulfly record. Cavalera and his crew began recording the tenth studio album on January 3, 2015. On April 27, the title for their tenth album was announced to be Archangel. On May 1, bassist Tony Campos announced via his Facebook page that he was leaving Soulfly to join Fear Factory, but he played bass for the album before he left. He was replaced by Max's son Igor Jr. The album, produced by Matt Hyde, was released worldwide on August 14, 2015 through Nuclear Blast. On September 13, Mike Leon replaced Igor as their bassist at least for the upcoming tour.

On December 12, 2016 Max Cavalera announced that he was considering to make a Soulfly album in 2017 to honor the 20-year anniversary of Soulfly formation. He's hoping Matt Hyde will produce their next album just like their latest release and would presumably be released through Nuclear Blast. This upcoming album would likely have greater amount of black metal than Archangel as he was very influenced by several black metal bands like AbbathBatushka, Enslaved and Mgła, as well as non-black metal bands Gojira, Full of Hell, and Nails. On November 9, 2017, Cavalera revealed the definite plan of their next album to be released in 2018, 20 years after the first Soulfly album came out. To honor that anniversary, he'll be bringing back tribal sounds for their eleventh album that was essentially absent since their seventh album Omen. In addition, the album will feature some political themes based on events in real life rather than imaginative approach common on previous albums. In February 2018, Soulfly revealed a song ("Blood on the Street") about a Navajo girl murdered by a policeman. On July 7, the title of the eleventh album was revealed to be Ritual. It was released on October 19, 2018. Ritual features vocalists from Lamb of God and Immolation.

Musical style and influences[edit | edit source]

Early in their career, people thought that Soulfly is neo-Sepultura in musical style, but Max Cavalera wants everyone to think of Soulfly as Soulfly and not as a new Sepultura. The band took heavy metal to the next level. "The thing about these guys is that they have the attitude that I wanted in a band, which is to make music, play with fire, and not worry about foolish things. These guys have that. It feels great to go in the rehearsal room and get goosebumps about being in a group again."

Soulfly is considered a heavy metal band, with occasional world music and neoclassical music with the use of tribal instruments. In addition, Soulfly is unique that it features a wide variety of nonmetal genres, including reggae, new-age, acoustic, folk, jazz, rock, alternative rock, progressive rock, experimental, rap, R&B, and lounge. The earliest four Soulfly albums are mainly nu metal and groove metal with influences of world music and alternative metal. Later albums starting with Dark Ages have emphases on thrash metal and death metal similar to early Sepultura. Few of the songs from the recent albums contain doom metal in it, and some songs from their latest albums Archangel and Ritual have black metal in them.

On the Mohs scale of rock and metal hardness or heaviness, most of the Soulfly songs are around an 8, but some songs rank low on the Mohs scale, especially non-metal instrumental tracks, which rank from 1-5.

The biggest influence of Soulfly is obviously Sepultura. The other bands that influence Soulfly are Anthrax, Metallica, Slayer, Agnostic Front, Pantera, Black Sabbath, Motörhead, and Nação Zumbi. On the opposite direction, Soulfly influences Cavalera Conspiracy and Killer Be Killed, both co-founded by Cavalera, as well as Incite formed by his stepson Richie.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Soulfly is the third band formed by Max Cavalera, after Sepultura and Nailbomb.
  • The band name Soulfly came from the lyric line in the Deftones song "Headup".
  • Since the band formed, it went consecutive years without releasing a Soulfly album only twice (2006–2007 and 2016–2017).
  • Soulfly maybe is the only band in the world to have band-titled songs on every album.
  • Soulfly never even been nominated for Grammy Awards. See Soulfly at Grammy Awards
  • The self-titled debut album can alternately be called Soulfly 1 or Prayer to avoid confusion with the band name.
  • The drawing for the Primitive album art was made by Nesta Garrick and then suggested his father Neville to make an album art from that.
  • The album cover for 3 shows the sacred om symbol.
  • Prophecy is the most world music heavy of any metal album.
  • Dark Ages is the only Soulfly album that comprises more than one word in its title.
  • The music for Dark Ages album was inspired when two close friends of Max Cavalera—his 8-month-old grandson Moses and Dana Wells—died just within few days apart.
  • The limited edition cover of Dark Ages has the same picture but colors inverted from that of its regular cover.
  • Conquer was originally going to be called Cobra after the app Max has on his Android.
  • The seven figures on the album cover of Omen is based from the Tusken Raiders of Star Wars.
  • Archangel is the heaviest Soulfly album as it has some influences of black metal in it.
  • Ritual is the only Soulfly album to not chart on US Billboard 200.
  • Soulfly has two split albums with Slipknot and another with Black Stone Cherry.

Band members[edit | edit source]

Current members
Former members
Former touring members

Timeline[edit | edit source]

Tours[edit | edit source]

  • Supporting Snot (April–May 1998)
  • The Song Remains Insane Tour (May 1998–February 1999)
  • Bring Da Shit Tour (April–August 1999)
  • Ozzfest 2000 (July–September 2000)
  • Primitive Tour (September 2000–June 2001)
  • Supporting Static-X (January–February 2002)
  • Call to Arms Tour (June–July 2002; November 2002–July 2003)
  • Supporting Slayer (August–September 2002)
  • Prophecy Tour (March–October 2004)
  • Disturbing the Peace (February–July 2005)
  • The Dark Ages Tour (October 2005–October 2006)
  • Australian Gigantour (October 2006)
  • The Dark Ages Tour II (April–December 2007)
  • Conquer Tour (August 2008–October 2009)
  • Conquering North American (March–April 2010)
  • Omen Tour (May–December 2011)
  • Enslaved Tour (February–July 2012)
  • Maximum Cavalera Tour (July 2012–August 2013)
  • Savages Tour (October 2013–October 2014)
  • We Sold Our Souls To Metal Tour (September–October 2015)
  • From the Amazon to the Nile Tour (April–May 2018)
  • Ritual Tour (January–February 2019)

Related pages[edit | edit source]

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