It’s a simple statement of similarly indisputable fact, declared by outsiders, innovators and denim-and-leather clad miscreants ‘round the world: Max Cavalera and Iggor Cavalera, both together and apart, have helped shape heavy music culture for decades. Lennon and McCartney, Page and Plant, Hetfield and Ulrich: legendary creative partnerships cemented in rock history and in the hearts and minds of listeners. Each duo is responsible for massive upheavals in worldwide artistic culture, forging enduring legacies that splinter into multiple projects and conquer interpersonal peaks and valleys.
Joined by Max’s longtime Soulfly lead guitarist Marc Rizzo and new bassist Nate Newton (from influential Bostonian metalcore artisans Converge), the latest sonic battering ram from Cavalera Conspiracy is raw, sharp and filled with rough-around-the-edges ferocity. Cavalera Conspiracy’s Babylonian Pandemonium may be the most focused, viciously aggressive, rage driven beast to bear the Cavalera brothers’ unmistakable stamp. Relentless riff-master and screamer Max primitively pounds his battle-hardened four- string guitar in his signature bone crushing style. Iggor’s fists and feet propel it all with the pulverizing percussion that long ago ensured his place among metal’s drum legends.
Cavalera Conspiracy is
Max Cavalera – Vocals/Guitar
Iggor Cavalera – Drums/Percussion
Marc Rizzo – Lead Guitar
Nate Newton – Bass Guitar
The methodology the brothers used to prepare was essential to the raw vibe captured on the album. “Instead of going to the studio for months and months, we exchange a few demos between us,” Iggor explains. “Then we record everything on the spot. It’s very reminiscent of when he and I were kids and just jamming in a room. It’s very fun.”
“The album didn’t need a super big production. That’s not what we were looking for on this Cavalera Conspiracy record,” explains Max, who enlisted John Gray, the engineer on Soulfly’s Dark Ages and Prophecy, to track. “I wanted more of a punk, thrashy kind of vibe. Iggor really liked the idea. He came over, he was in shape, and we bashed it out.”
Several songs on Babylonian Pandemonium start with guitar solos made up of thousand miles per hour, unnerving fretwork of the Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman variety. “Mark did some of the coolest solos I’ve heard from him in a long time,” Max enthuses. “I gave him a lot of freedom throughout the whole record and he solos a lot on this one.”
The third Cavalera Conspiracy album crushes with the raw, urgent delivery of before, infused with the feverish pulse of abrasive blackened hardcore and often catapulting into moments of chaos that are almost a throwback to early grindcore merchants Napalm Death or Nasum and modern luminaries Pig Destroyer, Nails or Pulling Teeth.
“I was listening to a lot of really brutal stuff,” Max explains of the writing process for Babylonian Pandemonium, which began directly after he finished work on the debut album from “metal super group” Killer Be Killed. “I write riffs all day long. It’s one of my favorite things to do it’s fun. It’s never a drag. Writing riffs is like therapy for me.”
Every single song on the album is rip-roaring fast, with Max screaming his head off about a myriad of intense subject matter: Japanese Kamikaze pilots, multi-headed mythological hellhound Cerberus and as the title suggests, the barbaric era of Babylon. Newton, who also fronts Doomriders, sings on “The Crucible,” loosely based on Arthur Miller’s famous play itself loosely based on the Salem Witch trials of the 1690s. “Not Losing the Edge” is Max’s anthem about strength, relevance and endurance.
Max should know. He has led the no-less groundbreaking Soulfly since he split from Sepultura in 1997. From the opening rumble of Soulfly’s gold certified debut through last year’s Savages, Soulfly offers a rich, diverse and rhythmic take on the heavy music style. Iggor calls London, England home, working in the EDM space with his Mixhell project. But the spirit, electricity and all out abandon of Cavalera Conspiracy’s crushing cacophony feels as enthusiastic and alive as the music the brothers first created in Brazil, when they formed Sepultura and spewed forth the Beastial Devastations EP.
Morbid Visions (1986) and Schizophrenia (1987) put the world on notice that South America came ready to play in the thrash metal Olympics. Beneath the Remains refined the dirtier sound, making room for the riffs to shine through ever more brightly. That set the stage for the breakthrough classic Arise, which itself led the way for Chaos A.D. and the universally recognized and respected genre-benchmark that is Roots. The last two Sepultura albums to feature both Cavaleras sold over 1 million copies in the US alone.
“The idea with Cavalera Conspiracy, for me, is to capture the feeling we had as teenagers back in Brazil in our room,” explains Max. “How we shared that music when we were kids. We loved playing metal. That was our thing. I still love metal as much as I did when I was a kid. Iggor loves metal. He loves playing fast. He’s one of the best drummers in the world who can play fast and who hits his drums really, really hard.”