Album Review – Cavalera Conspiracy – “Pandemonium”
The first omen that Pandemonium, the third release by Cavalera Conspiracy, is going to be something special is when you discover that the band had the police called on them because Igor Cavalera’s drumming was so loud it was shaking the walls of the studio. Even before pressing play, you know this album is going to be brutal.
It’s no secret that the Cavalera brothers know their way around a heavy tune and that Max can call up a throat shredding vocal when he needs it, but something has snapped with Pandemonium. They’ve gone from heavy to really fucking heavy. As opening track Babylonian Pandemonium tears through the speaker, the first thing you notice is the vocals; buried deep in the mix Max roars in an entirely new way, leaning towards a less refined death metal, or even grindcore, approach. This punkier attitude bleeds into the songs, the Cavalera brothers thrashing away with gleeful abandon while lead guitarist, and Max’s Soulfly bandmate, Marc Rizzo rips up his guitar with wild Slayer-esque solos.
The main attraction of this album is the unbridled energy that comes through, as if Max and Igor can barely contain the riffs and beats that are literally spilling out of them on to the record. Bonzai Kamikaze is overflowing with classic thrash riffs, and Scum begins with a dirty bass intro courtesy of Nate Newton (Converge) that gives way to a two minute blast of hardcore punk barely disguised as thrash. I, Barbarian is a far more successful blend of the two, as is the furious Apex Predator. They follow this blueprint for the majority of the album, and it’s not until the last third of the record that the listener gets a little relief. Not Losing The Edge, while not slow by any stretch of the imagination, relies much more on groove rather than sheer adrenaline, as does Deus Ex Machina and album closer Porra, which also revives that much recognised Brazilian element in the Cavalera’s music.
Heavy, fast and full of energy, Pandemonium may be the most aptly named album of the year. It also sees the band at the top of their game. Time to join the conspiracy.