Review by Adam on August 13, 2002.
Following Soulfly’s second album, “Primitive”, I was left with a grim outlook on the band’s future. The album was marred by an excessive use of profanity and way too many guest singers. On Soulfly’s third album, aptly titled “3”, Max wisely cuts down on both his language and the amount of guest appearances. The result: Soulfly sounds more like a band and not just Max Cavalera and friends.
The music is more of the same; however, it is elevated by the intensity of returning drummer Roy Mayorga. His playing sounds better than ever and we are even surprised with some double kicking that had not been utilized on past Soulfly releases. We are also presented with some guitar solos as well, which previous albums also seemed to neglect. Max seems to have more focused targets with his lyrics this time around. He goes on attacks against terrorists, arrogant rock stars, and those who label him as a sellout. Thankfully, he has a harsher sound with this album to silence these critics once and for all.
Of course you could not have a Soulfly album without the tribute song to lost love ones. This time around we are given a tune entitled ‘Tree of Pain’. It opens with the melodic vocals of R&B singer Asha Rabouin, who recently lost her husband Karnau formally of Cutthroat Logic; a hip-hop group which appeared on Soulfly’s previous album. After this, however, the song kicks into full metal mode as Max kicks into some of his most intense music yet. The emotion hits a high when the late Dana’s brother screams "To D-Low" and we begin to pick up on the massive hurt the guy’s death gave wake to through the kid’s vocals.
Overall this record is a very large improvement over their last one. Some of the thrashier material is reminiscent of Sepultura’s “Chaos AD” era. The more I listen to the vocals, the more I hear a little bit of “Chaos AD” shining through that way as well. However, the music is still a far cry away from Sepultura’s speed metal years, but this record does the most to bring back a taste of that mid-career Sepultura style while applying it to the Soulfly sound. It is still a record that forces the listener to remain open minded throughout, but is nowhere near as great as a challenge in that respect as “Primitive” was. For a while I was certain that Soulfly were on a downward spiral but with “3” the future looks far brighter.
Bottom Line: If you dug Sepultura’s later stuff as well as the first Soufly record, then I would recommend this one to you.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 7.4 out of 10