fter a disagreement between Max Cavalera and his brother whilst still in Sepultura, the vocalist and guitarist would leave to form his own act in 1997 to follow a less thrash metal/death metal style and incorporate more Korn-ish down tuned guitar hardcore metal, continuing on from the Sepultura's Roots days. In fact, Soulfly incorporates many styles of heavy metal with Brazilian tribal and world music.
Hiring the services of Jackson Bandiera (a.k.a. Lucio; ex-Chico Science; guitar) and Marcelo "D. Rapp" Dias (ex-Mist; bass), Roy "Rata" Mayorga (ex-Agnostic Front/ex-Shelter/ex-Nausea/ex-Chaos USA; drums) he would proceed to record their self-titled debut album in 1998. Despite recently discovering God due to the death of his stepson from marriage to wife (and manager) Gloria, and the illness of his other two sons, his vocals remained ungodly on the album. The album was a hardcore blast of heavy metal that many found refreshing, but no one could argue was anything but heavy. In addition to the above mentioned members, the disc would feature an all-star guest supporting cast of Burton C. Bell, Dino Cazares and Christian Olde Wolbers from Fear Factory, Fred Durst and DJ Lethal from Limp Bizkit, Chino Moreno from Deftones, Benji Webbe formerly of Dub War and, at the time, a member of Skindred, Eric Bobo who was formerly of Cypress Hill, Jorge do Peixe and Gilmar Bola Oito from Chico Science, as well as Nação Zumbi, and Mario C. The album went gold certified in the US.
That follow-up, Primitive (2000), would see more of the nu-metal style as well as is chart position beat it's predecessor's 79 US (16 UK) with a 32 US, but fared less well in the UK with a 45 this time around. A band membership change also occurred with Mickey Doling replacing Bandiera and Joe Nunez replacing Mayorga. Once again, this album featured a long list of guest appearances, including Corey Taylor of Slipknot and Stone Sour, Sean Lennon, Chino Moreno of Deftones, Tom Araya of Slayer, Grady Avenell of Will Haven, Cutthroat Logic, Babatunde and Asha Rabouin. The artwork was created by longtime Bob Marley artist Neville Garrick. The release of the album was followed by world tours with Pantera, Morbid Angel and Ozzfest.
In addition to his Soulfly efforts, Cavalera also branched out into other areas not usually associated with heavy metal musicians. He became a speaker at music conventions, appearing at CMJ's New Music Marathon in New York and Holland's Crossing Border Festival, both back in late 1997, and sang a TV commercial for Sprite in Brazil.
In late 2001, Joe Nunez left to join Stripping the Pistol. Roy Mayorga departed from his band Medication to rejoin Soulfly for the recording of their third album. 3 was the first Soulfly album which was produced by Max Cavalera. Several guest musicians were featured on this album as well.
In September 2003, after the world tour for 3, Marcelo Dias was fired from the band, and Mikey Doling and Roy Mayorga both left the band in protest, leaving Cavalera as the sole remaining member for three weeks. Claiming that it was his intention all along to not allow Soulfly to become like most other bands whereby the same musicians played all the time, a new lineup was recruited by Cavalera for the Prophecy (2004) album. Joe Nunez returned on drums, with Marc Rizzo, formerly of Ill Niño taking guitar, and Bobby Burns, formerly of Primer 55 on bass. David Ellefson (Megadeth at the time) also played bass on several of the album's songs.
In February 2005, Soulfly released their first DVD, The Song Remains Insane, a biography of the band featuring live footage, interviews, and all of the band's music videos. In August 2005, 'Roadrunner Records' reissued their self-titled first album as part of the label's 25th anniversary celebration.
2004 saw Cavalera's friend Darrell "Dimebag" Abbott shot to death while playing in Ohio, and two days later (on December 10), Cavalera's 8 month old grandson Moses unexpectedly died due to health complications.
Omen (2010) followed shortly before bassist Bobby Burns quit. Former Static X and current Asesino/Prong/Ministry bassist Tony Campos replaced him early the next year, along with Joe Nunez being replaced by Borknagar drummer David Kinkade. Enslaved would be the result in 2012.
Zyon Cavalera, Max Cavalera's son would assume drums soon after the new year for the release of Savages (2013).
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