"some music was meant to stay underground..."

70000 Tons of Metal - The World's Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise

Soulfly - "Omen" (CD)

Soulfly - "Omen" CD cover image

"Omen" track listing:

1. Bloodbath & Beyond (2:31)
2. Rise of the Fallen (4:35)
3. Great Depression (3:57)
4. Lethal Injection (3:05)
5. Kingdom (3:55)
6. Jeffrey Dahmer (2:52)
7. Off With Their Heads (4:22)
8. Vulture Culture (4:01)
9. Mega-Doom (3:04)
10. Counter Sabotage (3:50)
11. Soulfly VII (Instrumental) (4:23)

Reviewed by on June 8, 2010

"It's almost like Max sleepwalked through songwriting, making the most generic and uninspired music that he's made since 'Primitive.' Correction, the most generic and uninspired music that Max has ever made, period."

After the successes of the past three Soulfly albums, as well as the Cavalera Conspiracy debut, it seemed like Max Cavalera could do no wrong...but it turns out that he could. "Omen" is an album composed almost entirely of filler, with forgettable riffs, terrible lyrics and predictable song structures. It's almost like Cavalera sleepwalked through songwriting, making the most generic and uninspired music that he's made since "Primitive." Correction, the most generic and uninspired music that Max has ever made, period.

It's clear that the album was rushed when it opens with the beginning of the first verse without any sort of buildup whatsoever. It's just random, immediate and even most grindcore albums would attempt to build some sort of atmosphere before the vocals start. Most of the riffs on "Omen" are short, simple and repeat throughout the entire song. They only change depending on whether or not it's a verse or chorus riff, while the majority of songs all follow the same structure.

Moreover, song lyrics like the chorus for the track "Mega-Doom," "Welcome to mega-doom, enter the mega-doom, follow the mega-doom. Killing, bleeding, killing, bleeding, killing, bleeding" or "Jeffrey Dahmer's" chorus of "Jeffery Dahmer, master cannibal. Jeffrey Dahmer, master of the gruesome" are not only below anything that Barbatos could write, but also show no imagination. Worse yet, Marc Rizzo's solos that should be the saving grace of this album seem like they were inserted randomly with nothing building up to them and do not fit the music on any track that they appear in. They're simply there just to ram home the fact that this band still has a lead guitarist.

The world music influences that Soulfly is known for only appear on the closing instrumental, which will most likely never be played live and goes nowhere musically, showing just how little effort went into the songwriting compared to earlier efforts. In fact, the only track that actually seems to have any decent ideas was a collaboration with a guest musician. "Rise of the Fallen" manages to create a decent sense of groove while electronics buzz away in the background and Greg Puciato of The Dillinger Escape Plan takes over lead vocals. It's incredibly obvious that Puciato played a role in the songwriting compared to how well this track came out in comparison to the bland music of the rest of "Omen." It's a breath of fresh air that comes way too soon in an album borne of burnout and contractual obligation, particularly when many of the other tracks simply sound exactly the same.

On the plus side, Max Cavalera will never make an album this bad ever again since it would take an effort to top "Omen" in terms of migraine-inducing bad music. Congratulations, Max. You've finally made your version of "Octagon." Now excuse me while I listen to "Beneath the Remains" and "Dark Ages." Avoid at all costs.

Highs: Greg Puciato. Not much else.

Lows: Lyrics and riffs that feel like they were written in five minutes or less. Lack of world music influences. Generic song structures. Random guitar noodling for no apparent reason.

Bottom line: A horrible misstep that is hopefully not indicitve of the upcoming Cavalera Conspiracy album

Rated 1 out of 5 skulls
1 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)