LIVE: Soulfly / One For Sorrow / Designs Of Chaos @ Islington Academy, London

By Dave Bull

Designs Of Chaos open proceedings with a solid set of metal, possessing a venomous bite that could stand them in good stead for future outings. Tracks from their ‘Darkest Storm’ EP sound big and riffy, with solos aplenty and some demonic screaming to match. The houselights go up and the room is scattered with horns, the response a resoundingly positive one. It is clear they are stoked to be here, and their performance did them proud. Final song ‘Blood Oath’ possesses a furious beat and relentless tone, the guitars raining out to a chorus of applause. Designs Of Chaos have a long way to go, but putting in performances like that won’t do them any harm at all.

Next up, One For Sorrow, who have some swagger about them. Frontman Joe Thompson, an aggressive and marauding sight. The songs are blasted through a southern twang which gives it a different kind of metal sound to others on the block. The vocals are raspy and throaty and drive the songs like a jumbo jet on full throttle. The set is mature and complete with air guitar impressions from Thompson.

To the camo-clad masses that have arrived early to catch the support acts, they seem happy enough and the sweaty pit begins to get going, a blur of long hair, all seemingly to be in each other’s mouths. ‘Fools And Liars’ has a Rammstein beat, with the vocals sounding very David Draiman. There are plenty more solos, much to the crowds liking and they become especially vocal when Thompson asks ‘ready to see Soulfly tear it up? Fuck yeah’. ‘Fuck yeah’ indeed.

Soulfly have been around the block. They know exactly what it takes to put on a good show and before even coming on, you just know that, even if it’s an off day or no one turns up to watch them, Soulfly will put on a show that justifies the £15 you’ve paid to see them.

Complete with new lineup, including the two sons of the talismanic frontman Max Cavalera, Soulfly, or potentially the could be renamed ‘Cavalera family show’, enter the stage, to a raucous crowd amidst some hugely epic cinematic music (see the Gladiator movie).

Soulfly pulverise a set of oldies alongside newbies from their forthcoming album. Out in August ‘Arch Angel’ has already been labelled a ‘new metal classic’, and with the surprisingly commercial sounding chorus ‘We Sold Our Souls To Metal’, Max and crew are opting for potential anthem status rather than simply ripping you a new one.

Old classics such as ‘Primitive’ and ‘Tribe’ get the pit going to new levels of ferocity, the steam giving the show an added aura much like a swamp scene in one of the early Star Wars. Max continually shouts ‘circle pit’ and various other statements essentially relating to ‘fuck shit up’, but he really doesn’t need to. The crowd, or at least the front ten rows all came to do exactly this.

‘Roots’ is one of the biggest and well known songs in metal, having inspired many to start bands and covered the world over; controversially played by more than one band (Sepultura,  Soulfly and The Cavalera Conspiracy). It is the seminal ‘roots, bloody, roots’ chorus that displays the vocal vehemence of Cavalera and highlights why he has been doing what he does so well for so long.

Sons Igor and Zyon put in respectful performances. The vocals of Igor Jr. sound bigger than his stature suggests. Both due to go back to their first band Lody Kong, Soulfly will need to replace potentially half their band again, but for such old heads in the game, the Cavaleras aren’t worried about such things tonight. It is clear that they just love entertaining and love bringing their unique tribal infused metal to the UK.

The encore of ‘Jump/Eye For An Eye’ sees everyone just go mental and lose themselves in what would be the last action of the night. As Brazil’s flag is lofted high from stage and crowd, Soulfly have done themselves proud tonight and go on with their epic, non-stop European tour with a resounding tick in the London box. We wait to hear of a Killer Be Killed tour in 2016 which will hopefully bring Max back to these shores with friends Greg (Dillinger Escape Plan), Troy (Mastadon) and newly appointed Ben Koller (Converge) which has all metal fans drenched in anticipatory saliva.