One thing you can be sure of when Soulfly roll into town - it ain't going to be pretty.
Last night's return to Belfast was far from pretty - more like pretty brutal, on a couple of fronts.
Rumours had been circulating for a few days about Max Cavalera's health, and the frontman indeed did not appear his usual self: still the messiah-like rabblerouser, his onstage movements were slower, less fluid than I remember from the 'Dark Ages' tour, and those closer to the stage than I reported he could be seen gasping for air on his frequent departures off stage.
However, Max Cavalera being Max Cavalera, he nevertheless gave it his all - albeit with a somewhat curtailed set (I made it seven songs shorter than published tracklists for the first leg of the 'Omen' tour, before the band hooked up with the festival circuit). From the opening, chantalong barrage of 'Blood Fire War Hate', it was a nonstop circlepit of action, as the band trawled their six album back catalogue (one song from each of 'Soulfly', '3' and 'Conquer', two each from 'Primitive', 'Prophecy' and 'Dark Ages') mixed with three tracks from their latest, and heaviest to date, opus - the anthemic 'Kingdom', the fiercesome 'Bloodbath & Beyond' and the impressive 'Rise Of The Fallen' - and the usual handful of Sepultura classics, 'Refuse/Resist', 'Troops Of Doom' and 'Roots Bloody Roots', with accomplished aplomb.
Temporary bassist, and Rasputin-lookalike, Johnny Chow filled the bottom end admirably, although there were a few missed cues, while birthday boy Marc Rizzo's shredding definitely was the highlight the highlight of the musical side of things.
One other positive to be taken from this evening's performance: the muddy sound which practically ruined Max and co's last visit five years ago was long gone, which bodes well for this evening's visit by the mighty Fear Factory.

Authors: Monk

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