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Max Cavalera on Marc Rizzo's departure from Soulfly and the possibility of Dino Cazares appearing on the band's next album

Max Cavalera of Soulfly
(Image credit: Gina Wetzler/Redferns)

A valid argument could be made that the two most original and groundbreaking metal bands of the ‘90s were Sepultura and Fear Factory – the former due to their blend of manic riffing and influences from their native Brazil, and the latter with their razor-precise riffing and metronome-perfect rhythms.

And from August 2021, former Sepultura singer/guitarist Max Cavalera and Fear Factory guitarist Dino Cazares will join forces on tour in the band that Cavalera has been leading since the late ‘90s, Soulfly.

When word got out that longtime Soulfly guitarist Marc Rizzo had exited the band, an announcement was made shortly thereafter that Cazares would be replacing him on this upcoming tour of the United States

And on the day that rehearsals for the tour began, Cavalera spoke with Guitar World about the upcoming dates, the 30th anniversary of one of Sepultura’s best albums, and the status of Soulfly’s next studio offering.

How did the idea come up to have Dino fill in as guitarist for the tour?

“We wanted to get somebody that we know, but also, that would make the Soulfly sound heavier. And a chance to do something different and exciting. We had a couple of names on the list, but Dino was on the top of it. 

“I’ve known Dino for a long time – me and him go back a ways. I don’t know if people know this, but I kind of got Fear Factory signed with Roadrunner. I really bugged Monte Conner back in the day when I heard the demo that had Big God on it. 

Soulfly

(Image credit: Getty Images)

“Dino tells a story that he had to wrestle me to get the tape back – I didn’t want to give him the tape back, but it was the only copy he had! They eventually got signed, so in a side way, I’m glad I was a part of them getting signed to Roadrunner.

“And he plays on Eye for an Eye. When I did the first Soulfly record, he came out to the studio. The leads you hear on Eye for an Eye, there are a couple of notes – but those are Dino’s. And before that, I did Nailbomb, and he played on 24 Hour Bullshit [on 1994’s Point Blank].

“Because I always liked Fear Factory picking – the machine-sounding. And Dino is a riff master of that stuff. So, he was the coolest person we could think of.”

Why is Marc Rizzo no longer in the band? 

“It’s a combination of a lot of things. I’ve been reading some of it. I knew it was going to be like that – a lot of accusations from him. Stuff that is laughable. He always got paid really good, we always treated him really good. 

“It’s kind of sad to hear all that stuff. I think we are supposed to have a code among musicians that we shouldn’t do that – even when we’re bitter. I don’t know where his head is at, but those accusations are pretty ridiculous. 

I’ve always wanted Soulfly to keep moving. It did get a little stale. It got to the point where it wasn’t really working. Marc and us just kind of went our separate ways

“It’s kind of been growing the last couple of years, and I’ve always wanted Soulfly to keep moving. It did get a little stale. It got to the point where it wasn’t really working. We just kind of went our separate ways.”

Which Sepultura song and Soulfly song are you most proud of from a guitar perspective?

“I think Sepultura, I have to say Refuse/Resist is one of my favorite riffs. It’s really energetic and I love the song. If you were to find a way to put the word ‘chaos’ into a song, it is the riff of Refuse/Resist. It’s chaotic, catchy, and heavy. 

“And as far as Soulfly, probably Eye for an Eye. The hardest record for me to make was the first one [1998’s self-titled]. But Eye for an Eye always has a special place in my heart. It was the song that got me back on track after the Sepultura split – kind of let the fans know ‘Max is back.’ 

“It’s a simple song – it shows that simplicity sometimes is more effective than very complicated things, and sometimes harder. Eye for an Eye is super-simple, super-catchy, but very effective.”

This year marks 30 years since the release of Arise. What do you remember about the writing and recording of that album, and how important was that album in your career?

Arise is a big record in our career. In fact, we just got announced for Maryland Deathfest for next year – playing Beneath the Remains and Arise with my brother, Igor. 

“I went back and listened to it again, and there is a lot of cool stuff on Arise that maybe I didn’t give much credit when we first made it. But now that time has passed, I see the value of it – stuff like Subtraction, Altered State, and Desperate Cry

“There’s a lot that went into the songwriting. Most people talk about the song Arise – which is of course one of my favorites – but the album had a lot more than that. Dead Embryonic Cells has one of my favorite breakdowns. 

Mostly, I didn’t have many effects pedals – it was straight-up riffing

“I think at that time, I was approaching the songwriting at a very exciting level – mixing death metal and thrash metal together. We were listening to [Metallica's] …And Justice for All, but at the same time, we were listening to Morbid Angel – and trying to bridge them together somehow. 

“I think Arise showcases that – especially in the riffs. A lot of the riffs I wrote for the record is the pinnacle of the ‘death/thrash’ idea.

“It opened a lot of doors. We did the biggest tour ever for this record – something like 200 shows. It was the most ridiculous, crazy, longest tour ever. But we went everywhere – Russia, Indonesia, Australia. I’m very proud of Arise.

Which guitars, amps, and effects did you use during the recording of Arise?

“A white BC Rich Warlock was my favorite guitar at the time. I think we were into trying to get that crunchy Metallica sound – maybe we used some Mesa/Boogies. Probably some Marshalls, too. It was a combination. 

“It was definitely before Peavey – I’m using Peavey these days. I use a lot of 6505 Peaveys. That’s my favorite amp. 

“It was the first time we recorded in the US – we recorded at Morrisound [in Tampa, Florida]. And we had available for us for the first time a real studio – with people who knew about this kind of music. Scott Burns producing and Andy Wallace to mix – it made the record sound even better when Andy put his mixes on. Mostly, I didn’t have many effects pedals – it was straight-up riffing.” 

Which guitars, amps and effects do you use today?

“I’m using ESP guitars. I’ve been with ESP now for 25 years. I’ve got my own model, the RPR. Me and my friend, Chris Cannella – he’s in Deicide now – we designed it together. 

“My idea was to mix an Explorer and a Warlock. If the Explorer and a Warlock got together and fucked and had a baby… the RPR is what it would look like! It’s the bastard son of the Explorer and Warlock. 

“I’m using mostly Peavey 6505s. And then I’ve got three pedals that I use – a chorus, a Boss Auto Wah, and a tuning pedal… a drop-tune pedal [DigiTech Drop]. 

“I don’t think they make the Auto Wah anymore. It’s just wicked and crazy when you step on it – it is louder than anything on the stage. My soundman used to hate that pedal!”

What is the status of Soulfly’s next studio album? 

“Right now we are working on a Soulfly record. We have been working on it since February/March. It’s being produced by Arthur Rizk – he did a lot of stuff that I really like, including the Cavalera Conspiracy record [2017’s Psychosis], Power Trip, and underground stuff. 

“Arthur has got a really unique way of getting stuff out of the artists that would not come out normally. We’ve found some really cool riffs and cool songs for this next album.”

Is it possible that Dino will appear on the next Soulfly album?

“Yeah – the door is open. Right now we’re still working on the record, so there is always a possibility. We have not made any concrete plans for that yet – we’re just going to see. 

“We’re going to go on tour, we’re going to see how the tour goes. First thing’s first – take care of the tour first. We want to make the songs sound amazing. 

“I’m working my ass off on guitar playing – I’m really concentrating on that. And I really want to gel with Dino on the rhythm parts, and then let him do whatever he wants on the solo parts – that will be up to him to go crazy and improvise. 

“After that, there is always a chance we book a studio and record some stuff with him. That would be awesome. It’s a really cool idea – but we don’t have anything booked for that yet.” 

  • Soulfly tour the US in August and September – dates are listed on their official website.