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A Heavy Metal band based in Phoenix, Arizona and formed by former Sepultura frontman Max Cavalera, Soulfly began as a genre stew, mixing elements of Groove Metal, Alternative Metal, Nu-metal, Thrash Metal and world music, including Reggae. The band moved away from the initial Nu-metal influence, placing more emphasis on Groove Metal for the albums 3 and Prophecy, but has since returned to Cavalera's Thrash Metal roots.
Partly owing to his reason for leaving Sepultura and forming this band was the death of Cavalera's stepson and best friend, Dana Wells. Other tragedies in Cavalera's life followed; the death of Lynn Strait resulted in Cavalera contributing to the Snot tribute Strait Up, and during the recording of Soulfly's fifth album, Dark Ages, Dimebag Darrell Abbott was shot to death during a concert, and Cavalera's 8 month old grandson Moses unexpectedly died due to health complications.
The band has gone through numerous line-up changes over the years, with the only consistent member being Max Cavalera. In addition to the line-up changes, a lot of Soulfly's music is collaboration-based, and built to accommodate a great deal of guest appearances.
- Max Cavalera - vocals, guitar (1997–present)
- Joe Nunez - drums (2000–2001, 2003–present)
- Marc Rizzo - guitar (2003–present)
- Johny Chow – bass (2010–present)
- 1998: Soulfly
- 2000: Primitive
- 2002: 3
- 2004: Prophecy
- 2005: Dark Ages
- 2008: Conquer
- 2010: Omen
- 2012: Enslaved
Soulfly provides examples of the following tropes:
- Alternative Metal
- Groove Metal
- Heavy Metal
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Kind of hard to pin down. The first few albums were around an 8, with the instrumental songs/passages going lower. Eventually, the band moved towards a heavier sound, and began to stay in the range of a high 8 or a 9.
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Soulfly's albums usually feature some kind of Heavy Metal mixed instrumentation from different parts of the world, and world music genres. Reggae sometimes makes an appearance here and there.
- Not Christian Rock: Many of Soulfly's songs deal with spiritual, pro-God subject matter, but Soulfly is definitely not a Christian Rock band, especially not with the occasional Cluster F-Bomb.
- Religion Rant Song: Most of the songs about religion are actually anti-religion (but still pro-God).
- Special Guest: Their first four albums (particularly their Nu-metal albums) were scattered with guest appearances. Even the Thrash Metal album Omen featured a couple of guests.
- Max himself guested on the Deftones song "Headup", and in fact took the band's name from one of its lines.
- Thrash Metal
- New Sound Album: The band's first four albums were essentially a Nu-metal / Groove Metal hybrid, with world music influence and even Alternative Metal influence. Starting with Dark Ages, the band shifted into a Thrash Metal / Death Metal sound, similar to Sepultura's early material. Enslaved, the band's latest album, takes the Death Metal influences to a higher level.