MAX CAVALERA picks most underrated SOULFLY album | Revolver

MAX CAVALERA picks most underrated SOULFLY album

"I was taking way too many drugs when I made that record"
kbk-max-cavalera-killer-be-killed-crop-2-shinn.jpg, Travis Shinn
photograph by Travis Shinn

Max Cavalera is a prolific guy. Since founding Soulfly after splitting with Sepultura in the late Nineties, the Brazilian musician — also of Nailbomb, Killer Be Killed, Cavalera Conspiracy and more — has cranked out 12 albums worth of material with that band, his most recent being 2022's Totem.

Many of those records are cherished by Soulfly's die-hard fanbase, but of course, with so many LPs to sift through, some of them will naturally be less celebrated than others. In a recent conversation with Revolver, we asked Cavalera to pick the single most underrated Soulfly album. See his answer and thoughtful reasoning below.


I think it's probably 3. I was taking way too many drugs when I made that record, and drinking too much. And I was really not in my best head space. But there are some really good jams on the record, like "Downstroy," "Seek 'N' Strike" and "L.O.T.M."

But I think what turned people off a little bit was the fact that it was called 3. It didn't have a proper name. The original name was Downstroy. I should have just kept it as Downstroy. That's a sick word. That's a made-up word. It's way cooler. I was on this Led Zeppelin trip, thinking I'm Led Zeppelin, which I'm obviously not. Like Led Zeppelin IV, "Soulfly 3."

I remember working with the artist that made the cover because it was Bob Marley's artwork guy, Neville Garrick. So we worked on the previous record, Primitive, and Primitive was cool. It was colorful and had kind of reggae looking colors, Brazilian colors: a lot of yellow, green, red. A lot of Ethiopian stuff throughout the record. And when we went to the Soulfly 3, I just remember looking at the symbol of the Ohm, that looks like the number three.

So I actually went to a Hindu temple in Phoenix with the image. And I asked the guy for permission to use it, which was a totally crazy thing. I'm there like, "Excuse me, sir." And there's a Hindu guy, like a priest. I'm like, "I'm in a metal band. You don't know me. You have no idea who I am. Is it OK if I use this image?"

And he goes, "Your intentions are good?" I go, "Yeah. My intentions are good but it's a heavy-ass record. It's aggressive music." And he gave me permission. So I thought, "I'm clear with the Hindu priest, so I'm good, right?" So I ended up using that image, but I should have called the record Downstroy, for sure.

It's an underrated record. But I think also, in a way, it's the departure record from the nu-metal era. I think that record is really... There's nothing nu-metal about it at all. It's all back to thrashier things, and faster, heavier kind of stuff.