Soulfly Vs. Nile: Battleground Pittsburgh!

Soulfly can be a divisive act. There are three tribes: those who will not give Soulfly their time, those who prefer the early Soulfly, and those who prefer that latter day Soulfly. I can recall the rank smell of disappointment of the entirely overhyped nu-metal that was the debut and a few records after that but have watched and listened to the band grow into an almost idealized modern Sepultura, a band that is still in leader/righteous ogre Max Cavalera’s blood as demonstrated in what’s still left of Diesel Club Lounge. Yet, I don’t feel that one can discuss Soulfly these days without touching on the virtuoso axe-wielding of Marc Rizzo who took many a musician to school with his funky thrash metal Santana pyrotechnics as the tight rhythm section made up of Max’s drummer son Zyon and bass monster Mike Leon bound it all together. Tribal, indigenous fury borne of thrash met Egyptian-styled progressive death head on, co-headliners Nile ¬†acting as the irresistible force to the immovable object that is Soulfly, arguably winning out with their sandstorm riffs, rumbling blastbeats that sound like a horde of mummies on the march, guitar solos that would beguile Anubis, and vocals that invoke the roar of a Sphinx and the collective pain of all of those who died building the pyramids. Sanders, Kollias, Kingsland, and Parris channeling deities named and nameless as they scorched through a set that sounded thousands of years old, the band playing as if they were guided by invisible forces, their background as Southern Americans mattering none.

I unfortunately missed the first opener, but I did manage to take in locals Post Mortal Possession, who mercilessly devoured their competition with a fervent sort of Cannibal Corpse worship that eclipsed their brazen influences. In 2011, I coincidentally managed to catch both Nile and Soulfly on two separate dates just a day between each other, so I felt the pairing was intuitive, each band bringing the ancient world to heavy metal as they bring heavy metal to the modern world.


– The Grym Hessian

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