Record Review - 2 November 11 2000

Make no mistake, Soulfly is Max Cavalera's band and it always will be. His search for just the right musical chemistry led him to depart from the first band he founded, Sepultura, and to completely scratch the lineup from his acclaimed follow-up band's debut.
Cavalera seems to know what he's doing. Soulfly's sophomore effort, Primitive is a highly focused testament to what anger can achieve when sonically focused. Still heavily rooted in the Brazilian tribal sounds that lifted Sepultura from the jungles, Primitive goes way beyond angst peppered with novelty noises. This is more of a primal survival test with drill sergeant Cavalera gutbarking his troops to victory.
Toby Wright's production (co-produced by Cavalera) in nothing short of stunning. With so many different elements clashing in this mud symphony, the record could easily have been cacophonic mess. Songs like "Pain," "Jumpdafuckup," "Fly High" and "Bring It" groove with guitar motions akin to the weight of shovels excavating entire planets. Cavalera's trademark tar-pit depth combined with intriguingly bizarre Brazilian drumbeats only makes the strangled sitar-like (berimbau) sounds seem normal. Instruments, voices and subtle electronic segues stand-out and blend without ever compromising the basic crush of Soulfly's soul. See "Soulfly II" on this disc for incredible diversionary proof of the talent assembled here.
Corey (#8) from Slipknot vocally spars with Cavalera on one of the disc's best tracks, "Jumpdafuckup." The Deftones' Chino Moreno and Tom Araya of Slayer also appear. Sean Lennon (yes, John and Yoko's boy) co-wrote and performs on "Son Song." It's a convincing and very surreal moment between two diametric poles.
Overall, Primitive is probably the most brutal spiritual experience one could ever envision in hard rock. It builds as well as annihilates and most certainly sets the soul free.