23 years ago Sepultura and Soulfly main man Max Cavalera created a side project Nailbomb with English songwriter producer Alex Newport. The group reportedly only played one show with a host of famous guest musicians, released one live album, then poof, gone, never to be seen or heard from again. It wasn’t a bad way to go out. The project and their one studio album Point Blank has since enjoyed a certain underground legendary status to those who know of it, but largely it was a project lost to the annals of metal lore.
Fast forward two decades and it would seem that the project left an itch that Max really needed to scratch because he’s decided to resurrect it (at least in name) and take it on the road to play the cult classic album in its entirety. Bringing with them an impressive line up of bands to share the stage including Cannabis Corpse, Noisem and Lody Kong; this show was sure to be anything but boring.
For those who don’t know, Lody Kong is a project comprised of two of Max’s sons, Igor Jr. and Zion (Zion also plays drums for Soulfly). In case you were wondering, the answer is no: the Cavalera apple does not fall far from the tree. Far from egregiously appropriating their father’s style while still being undeniably his sons, the Cavalera groove is in full effect on these songs, which are injected with a sludge-metal vibe that acutely distinguishes it as its own. Being only a three-piece band, the musicianship of each member gets its time to shine. For me, it was none other than drummer Zion whose hypnotic, rhythmic flow and style is a pleasure to watch.
Baltimore’s Noisem describe themselves as “manic and raw” on their Facebook page, and I have to admit that’s pretty dead on. Noisem are explosive on stage, delivering an unrelenting barrage of death, thrash and grind. There was not much time to catch your breath between songs before being launched into another onslaught, which seemed totally fine with everyone in the audience. Their sound is dirty and raw, akin to acts like Full Of Hell and Trap Them with maybe just a hint of sludge from time to time for a brief respite from the chaos.
I’m going to have to apologize to the good people at Cannabis Corpse for sleeping on them for so long; chalk that up to another case of mistaken preconceived notions. With a name like Cannabis Corpse, it was easy for me to assume they were a stoner metal band when in fact they were just about anything but. C.C laid down some seriously groovy and brutal death, not too far stylistically from Cannibal Corpse (whom they obviously pay homage to in their name) and Suffocation. Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with their live line up these days, but suffice to say the band’s musicians were stellar performers especially with Phil Hall of Municipal Waste and Iron Reagan fame fronting and playing bass.
Having only familiarized myself with Nailbomb’s music the week before the show, I was fairly excited to witness Point Blank performed live. Nailbomb does share certain musical facets with Max’s other bands, i.e. the Cavalera groove, but infuses them with a whole new set of elements.
My first impression of their music once they took the stage (the band being comprised of the whole Soulfly lineup with Igor of Lody Kong, Max’s son) was how similar in vibe it was to Strapping Young Lad. The thrash/industrial fusion and Brazilian rhythm is quite unique and packs an unrelenting punch which was very well received by the crowd. I couldn’t tell how many people in attendance were actually familiar with the music and not just there to see Soulfly per se, but there was no doubt people were fully embracing the savagery. Dare I say I actually enjoyed watching Nailbomb more than Soulfly, and even Max appeared to be more animated on stage than I’ve seen previously, channeling a presence like Tom Araya (Slayer) meets Jamie Jasta (Hatebreed). The sentimental cherry on top was watching two generations of Cavaleras on stage performing together. I can’t imagine how proud Max must feel with two of his sons by his side every night, living out every metal head’s fatherhood fantasy.
Written by Paul Ablaze
Photography by Hugues Bouchard