Cavalera Conspiracy - Blunt Force Trauma
Roadrunner Records
Thrash/Groove Metal
11 songs (34:14)
Release year: 2011
Cavalera Conspiracy , Roadrunner Records
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

If there’s one thing you can rely on post-Sepultura Max Cavalera to do, it’s pleasantly surprise you despite not coming near Arise and co. Soulfly had been gradually improving for a while, culminating in 2008’s excellent Conquer before slipping down a peg for last year’s Omen, and this team-up with his brother produced enjoyable results with 2008’s Inflikted, although again not even threatening to come anywhere near pre-Chaos AD Sepultura in quality. Despite that, there’s no denying that Max’s output of late has been pretty damn good. I’ve rated Max’s projects higher than the decent-but-disappointing Derrick Green-fronted Sepultura for a while now, and Blunt Force Trauma wastes little time in breaking open the big box of riffs and kicking A-Lex where the sun doesn’t shine. I’m interested to note that Max only has a finite amount of good songs in him, however – just as he seemed to keep the best songs from Inflikted for Conquer, so has he favoured Blunt Force Trauma at Omen’s expense – this is notably killer stuff from the first listen, and only gets better each time.

It’s notably more upfront and aggressive than Inflikted, with less tribal patter and meander and more grunts and riffs from Max, here joined by Soulfly guitarist Mark Rizzo and Fireball Ministry’s Johnny Chow on bass (with Igor on drums, of course). You’ll notice immediately that Blunt Force Trauma is shorter and tighter than its predecessor, too, opener Warlord being just over three minutes and only one song on the whole album passing the four minute mark. You’ll also notice that Max’s various extreme metal influences are clearly audible here, with a Bolt Thrower heaviness being audible on Torture beneath splashes of lead guitar. True, Lynch Mob’s guest spot from Agnostic Front’s Roger Miret will raise eyebrows, but the track’s hardly a foray into hardcore so much as a groovy thrash stomper. There’s a track called Thrasher here, for god’s sake – the message is pretty clear.

Make no mistake, this album is the closest that Max has been to classic thrash since leaving Sepultura, guitars in general much closer to Arise than Roots, and the likes of Burn Waco having a genuinely catchy brutality to them that is sure to go down a storm live. No-one could listen to Rasputin or Target with their cascading powerful riffage and be reminded of anything other than thrash. If there’s one step back towards the past it’s Killing Inside, ominous build-up to jumpdafuckup chorus complete with “I’m a nutter, me” lyrics – but it’s clearly ‘proper’ metal, using a tired template to positive means. A greater annoyance will be, as mentioned, Max’s dreadful lyrics – I Speak Hate’s intense and compelling chorus of ‘I speak hate/do you understand/I speak hate’ especially teethgrinding. Still, it’s a testament to the band that the surrounding metal stops you caring too much about such minor problems. Good metal needs no reason for existing other than itself, and Blunt Force Trauma more than makes the argument well enough.

Generally, when I’m listening to an album and writing a review I insert in the killing songs in the section below as I come to them. Imagine my surprise when I came to this point to discover that I’d filled in the entire tracklisting, and had to go back and relisten to pick out the crème de la crème! Fortunately, this is no chore – Blunt Force Trauma is an especially enjoyable modern thrash album, and Sepultura are going to have to pull something spectacular out of their hat later in the year if they want to be taken seriously again, never mind beating this.

Killing Songs :
Warlord, Torture, Lynch Mob, Killing Inside, Target, Burn Waco, Blunt Force Trauma
Goat quoted 87 / 100
Other albums by Cavalera Conspiracy that we have reviewed:
Cavalera Conspiracy - Inflikted reviewed by Goat and quoted 77 / 100
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