Sound — 7
Cavalera Conspiracy formed as a vehicle for the Cavalera brothers' reconciliation after a decade of estrangement, and also found the Cavalera brothers trying to recapture the energy of thrash metal of the '80s. Max Cavalera left Sepultura in 1996 due to the band's attempts to fire their manager (Max's wife), as well as several other employees, and he went on to form Soulfly. Igor continued performing with Sepultura until he finally left the band in 2006. After the brothers reconciled and jammed together at a Soulfly concert, Max proposed the idea of a separate side band with Igor, which eventually came to be known as Cavalera Conspiracy. The band was initially formed with Joe Duplantier of Gojira on bass, though this became logistically impossible because of scheduling conflicts between the bands. The band most recently settled on Nate Newton on bass since 2013. "Pandemonium" is the band's third studio album, and was released on Napalm Records. There are 12 tracks on the album, and a runtime of approximately 51 minutes. There is not an official single from the album, though "Banzai Kamikaze" was released on the label's SoundCloud account ahead of the album release.
The album opens up with the track, "Babylonian Pandemonium," which reminds me a little bit of the army controlled by the wicked witch for some reason, but more metal. "Banzai Kamikaze" definitely has a cool little guitar riff and the repeating vocals in the background saying "Die! Die! Die!" over and over again adds an interesting element to the song. "Banzai Kamikaze" is about the kamikaze pilots in World War II. "Scum" opens up with some seriously low end bass noise, but turns into a pretty straightforward and heavy Cavalera track. "I, Barbarian" is probably one of the mostly clearly "groove metal" type of songs on the album, because, in part, Igor Cavalera was trying to push Max for speed over groove throughout the album. "Cramunho" has one of the most interesting shred-esque lead guitar lines from the album, as well as having one of the creepiest vibes going on from the album. "Apex Predator" mixes things up a little bit in the way the song intros, but pretty quickly becomes a very straight ahead heavy track. "Insurrection" opens up with the lead guitar running through a quick run while the drums pound on relentlessly. "Insurrection" is definitely one of the most aggressive songs on the album. "Not Losing the Edge" seems to be mostly in line with the title, with the band proving they're not losing their edge with age, but retaining their intensity or possibly even gaining in intensity. "Father of Hate" has a fair amount of groove at certain points in the track, mixed in with passages of pure aggression. "The Crucible" had me nodding my head along with the track and tapping my foot pretty immediately, then pretty soon I found myself swaying with the track. This would have to be my favorite track on the album, just based off of my gut reaction to this song. "Deus Ex Machina" had a lot going on for it, with some of the best vocals from the album, and an almost epic feel to the music, then with a chanted lyric of "deus ex machina" repeating over and over during certain passages it just added power behind the track. The album closes out with "Porra" which utilizes a lot of world/ethnic percussion, with the distorted guitars and such taking a backseat and coming in late in the track and fading in and out throughout. This is what "folk metal" would look like if the "folk" part came from South America.
Lyrics — 8
Max Cavalera's vocals are the kind you either hate or love in metal, and there doesn't seem to be much room in between. Personally, I enjoy the intensity of his vocals, and I feel like they are well-matched to the music and the actual lyrics. I've appreciated that as he has gotten older he hasn't seemed to calmed down, or if anything he has become more intense. The lyrical content deals with (surprise, surprise) several darker subjects, from kamikaze pilots ("Banzai Kamikaze") to the decay of society ("Babylonian Pandemonium").
Overall Impression — 7
The album sits nicely in Cavalera Conspiracy's catalog, and is a solid work. My favorite tracks from the album would probably be "Cramunho," "Deus Ex Mahina," "Porra" and "I, Barbarian." I didn't really dislike any of the album, though there are definitely some songs that are much more special than others on the album.