Sound — 7
Max Cavalera of Soulfly and Sepultura has a signature sound and he remains as true to it as ever on Omen, the band's seventh album. With more than a half-dozen albums in the catalog, you know what you are going to get from Soulfly, but that's hardly suggesting that the band is churning out more of the same. Omen has lots of new touches that you've not heard before on a Soulfly record, namely Rise of the Fallen, which features Dillinger Escape Plan throat Greg Puciato lending his pipes over a both tribal riffs and a quirky, almost computerized guitar line. It's new, it's fresh. It's exciting. Album opener Bloodbath and Beyond, which of course makes me think of the home good store, is Soulfly at their fastest, charting a punk rock pace that repeatedly boots you in the taint. The hallmark of Soulfly is the percussion, which is as immediate as your own heartbeat and said thunderous rhythms assert themselves on Great Depression and Lethal Injection. Omen is meaty metal, that's for sure. Marc Rizzo's guitar acrobatics once again rise to the top of Soulfly, as he infuses the metal brew with plenty of flourishes and touches to keep things unpredictable. Crank Lethal Injection about two-and-a-half minutes in to see what I mean. Off With Your Head is another chuggernaut of potent riffs and rhythmic bluster. It's another faster song, meaning that Soulfly doesn't solely traffic in slower-paced groove monsters.
Lyrics — 8
Cavalera has a deep, guttural roar that switches gears from a talk-style to a scream. There's a song about Jeffrey Dahmer that is named as such, and it's interesting to listen to Cavalera go that route, and he continues his tradition of socially aware and politically informed lyrics and subjects. Because of this, Omen is able to cross genre lines and appeal to the Slipknot fan as easily as it can to more mainstream, Godsmack and We Are the Fallen type fans.
Overall Impression — 8
Whether you've been loyal to Soulfly since their 1998-issued, self-titled debut, whether you're just RSVP'ing you your invitation to this party or whether you have been a Max Cav-o-phile since his definitive days in Sepultura, there is something you will dig about Omen. While the band does try new things and adds to the base that is their sound, there is nothing drastic or un-Soulfly-like. It's another platter of Soulfly doing what Soulfly does and in a world that is marked by chaos, disorder, uncertainty, economic crises, terrorist threats, one-sided immigration laws and other assorted problems, there's great value implicit in something comfortable and familiar that still manages to kick a whole world of a-s. And that's Soulfly's Omen.