Two decades into their storied career, SOULFLY continue to engender near cultish zeal with each subsequent album and tour. In that sense, the group’s eleventh full-length, »Ritual« [Nuclear Blast], lives up to the promise of its name with a metallic ceremony of the highest order. The iconic gold-certified quartet—Max Cavalera [vocals, guitar], Marc Rizzo [lead guitar], Zyon Cavalera [drums], and Mike Leon [bass]—cast their word in bludgeoning riffs, thunderous percussion, and menacing growls.
A tribal chant builds behind an eerie wail before transforming into a neck-snapping groove on the album opener and title track ‘Ritual’. Elsewhere, double bass drives ‘Evil Empowered’ as deft shredding steamrolls towards a soaring scream of ‘Rise above.’
Continuing a long tradition of friends and family joining the ceremony, ‘Dead Behind The Eyes’ welcomes LAMB OF GOD singer Randy Blythe into the fray. He and Max lock into a deadly call-and-response in homage to Hellraiser that’s as vicious as it is vital.
Meanwhile, ‘Under Rapture’ thrives on machine gun riffing and a cameo courtesy of death metal demigod Ross Dolan of IMMOLATION.