During the my early years listening to metal, building my collection and gig going, a new album or tour featuring Max Cavalera has seemingly never been far away, with his prolific work rate spread amongst several bands. Alas, over the last few years I haven’t paid as much attention as I used to, mainly due to the fact that I had began to feel that his work was becoming more about quantity than quality. There were some really good tracks, but for every two or three albums, there was one really good albums worth of material, and then some not so good stuff. The first Cavalera Conspiracy album had near constant rotation for a while when it originally came out, compared to a very average second album. This one however, seemed like it was onto a winner right from the first preview tracks.
The album begins with an intro very similar to the beginning of the ‘Arise’ album (a damn fine start) but when it finally kicks in it heads more towards the territory of Nailbomb (even better) with its intense mixture of hardcore and thrash. It manages to keep up the pace too, with the album flowing well from track to track and rarely dropping from the high quality of its beginning. There are a few tracks which stand out slightly more than the others (‘Babylonian Pandemonium’, ‘Cramunh?o’ and ‘Insurrection’ in particular) but it definitely rates higher than recent Soulfly offerings and a lot higher than Blunt Force Trauma. There are a couple of tracks that feel a bit similar, but most of the tracks on the album are around 3-4 minutes, so nothing ever outstays its welcome. Production is quite minimal, with the raw sound only adding to the atmosphere. Max’s vocals offer a little more than his usual style and the short sharp riffs add to the assault to produce the closest thing to the classic ‘Point Blank’ that he has managed.
This is definitely a sign of Max being back on track with his writing, both musically and lyrically. Its easily the best of the three Cavalera Conspiracy albums so far, and if Max’s interview about wanting to try more and more extreme music was meaning this, then ‘Pandemonium’ is definitely a step in the right direction. This album also made me think about the constant rumours and questions about a Sepultura reunion. As good as they were and as much as I love the band, if this is the way that Max is heading, if he was to reunite any of his other projects, surely Nailbomb would be a more interesting prospect right now.