by Brendan Reid
VANCOUVER – Max Cavalera is surely one of the busiest dudes in metal. With Soulfly, Cavalera Conspiracy, Sepultura nostalgia tours, and now the return of Nailbomb on his plate all at once, you’d think he’d be a stressed out mess. But instead, Cavalera embodies the opposite. You’ll never meet a guy more relaxed and enthused about his various projects.
This sense of enjoyment is something Cavalera has always possessed. It proved to be an essential boon in the creation of Nailbomb, a side project started by himself and Fudge Tunnel’s Alex Newport in 1994. The two began their relationship by trading riffs, then decided to create their own group. Eventually, Alex brought in a sampler and created drum loops, and the two started recording.
“It was kind of a joke at first,” says Cavalera with a laugh. “It was pure fun. No compromise. Then one day [my wife and manager] Gloria walked into the room and said ‘This sounds amazing, I’m gonna get you guys a record deal!’ I thought she was joking. She called Roadrunner the next morning and we got the money for a real studio.”
Thus, Point Blank was born, an album that responded to the industrial trends of Nine Inch Nails and Ministry that were popular at the time. Though its subject matter and sound were serious business, Cavalera never let this get to his head. “We never took the fun out of it. It never had the pressure to be a huge record. We never cared for that,” he admits. “It was underground as fuck and angry as hell. A big fuck you to everything we don’t like. Political, anti-war, anti-religion. By the end we had a monster album, a really cult kind of record.”
The ideas that Point Blank totes are still staggeringly poignant. Problems caused by war, religious fanaticism, and willful ignorance still appear in our headlines. Cavalera is all too aware of this.
“[The song] ‘While You Sleep I Destroy Your World’ is about the Charles Manson cult, but could really be translated as a Trump cult,” offers Cavalera. “Everything within that record is relevant right now, probably even more than before.”
Despite the dense subject matter that Cavalera sings about, he has a sure-fire strategy to remain grounded. Everything the songwriter does in his career is a family affair. From the early days of Sepultura, Cavalera played with his brother Igor, and now his wife Gloria does management duties. His sons Zyon and Igor Jr. also join him on stage for Soulfly and Nailbomb. It’s a rare and exciting phenomenon.
“You never really know what’s going to happen when your kids are first born,” he says. “You dream that maybe one day you’ll get to play with them. It became reality, and it kicks ass, man. I’m the biggest, proud dad on stage raging with my kids!”
The love that Cavalera exudes contrasts the rage-filled sentiments of his music and is perhaps a response to it. In times of trouble and uncertainty, often the best strategy is to embrace those close to us, and remind ourselves of what’s truly important in life. Heavy metal is a positive outlet for frustration, rage, and all walks of emotion. Once you have cleansed yourself in the pits or on the stage, all that remains is elation. Few embody this ideal better than the Cavalera clan.
You can catch Soulfly performing Point Blank in its entirety on March 2 at The Astoria.Astoria, Nailbomb, Soulfly