Max Force - Cavalera carries on the trauma

Max packs his bags and talks tours, fear and the end of the world...

Max Cavalera is relaxing at his house in Phoenix, Arizona before the madness of the next couple of days; tonight he flies to San Paulo, Brazil where Cavalera Conspiracy will support Iron Maiden.  Couple that with the release of the new Conspiracy album Blunt Force Trauma on 29th March and you’ve got a hectic week. 

But Max is ready.

The press release from Roadrunner Records quotes Max as saying of Blunt Force Trauma that "It's more brutal.  It's more in-your-face." The first album Inflikted (2008) is pretty fucking heavy; how did they go beyond it?
"We used Inflikted as a starting point and we said 'Let's make an even heavier album, a more brutal album' so we started with a bunch of fast songs like Thrasher, Torture, Target and Burn Waco (about the David Koresh/Branch Davidian massacre) - those are all really fast like Reign in Blood kind of songs.  After we got that, we decided we needed something else so we tried to make something more 'groove'. We went into songs like Killing Inside, Ghengis Khan and I Speak Hate which are more kind of groove oriented.  When you combine the fast tracks at the beginning of the album together with the groove stuff then you have a whole record”
So is Blunt Force Trauma heavier than Inflikted?  “I think we did it.  I listen to Blunt Force Trauma and it’s one step further than Inflikted so I’m very happy with the final result”
I’ve heard the new album and there’s no mucking about; the first track Warlord starts with some massive guitars and huge double-kick drums.  It’s like being crushed by an anvil.  There’s a definite scent of early Slayer to the opening tracks with Marc Rizzo’s chunky riffs and Max’s trademark lyrical growling.  It's all tied together with Iggor's pounding drums and Johnny Chow's roaming basslines.

Speaking of Marc (who Max also worked with on Soulfly project), he says “We’re really good friends and Marc’s an excellent guitar player.  I think he’s one of the best guitar players around.  With everything he does, he always manages to do something different.  He always surprises me, he manages to do different stuff from Soulfly to Cavalera; it’s two different styles of playing, and Marc was the first guy I thought of to invite to be part of this new project”

Max is stoked about Conspiracy supporting Iron Maiden in Sao Paulo, Brazil: “It’s the same stadium where me and Iggor saw Queen in ’81…it’s a little bit nostalgic for us to be back in the same stadium except now we are playing there instead of being in the audience.  It’s gonna be great, man, I’m really excited.’s gonna be a great show and we’re looking forward to it”

You can tell; he really is looking forward to it. 
After the shows with Iron Maiden, Conspiracy will tour with Blunt Force Trauma, touring America, the festival circuit in Europe and maybe Australia around August or September.
“We’ll probably come down under and do some Australian shows.  That would be great, especially with Cavalera as we’ve not been to Australia before with this band.  It will be very special and I’m excited to do that”

I’ve seen many interviewers ask Max about a Sepultura reunion so I have to ask; is he fucking sick of the question?  Hell yes.  For Max, the Cavalera Conspiracy is like having a new girlfriend; you don’t want to go back to the ex…
 "The Cavalera Conspiracy has filled a void I had since I left Sepultura, it takes care of the business and we’re doing great with Cavalera all over the world and the more and more I do with Cavalera the less and less I need a Sepultura reunion.  When I hear people talking about Cavalera I get really excited because I know they really like the band and it means it has future, and I’m not going to need a reunion if Cavalera keep up like that”
"It does feel like a real band now and the band is playing really good together”

So there.  Absolutely no chance of a Sepultura reunion.  Interviewers can stop asking now.

Max and brother Iggor are making the most of it; there was a falling out back in 1996 and they went their separate ways for over a decade.
"We went through that phase where we didn’t speak to each other for ten years and it was a really hard time.  After that we became brothers again and we saw our friendship differently, we got more value to the relationship.  We enjoy our brotherhood more these days, we fight less and enjoy each other’s company more.  We crack jokes in the back of the tour bus, we do drawing together and we talk about music.  He shows me what he’s been listening to and I show him what I’ve been listening to.  We’re in a good relationship right now”.

As children, Max and Iggor were like any normal kids – there were the usual fist fights and throwing stuff at each other, these spats would usually end with Iggor threatening to run away from home. 

I ask Max what scared him as a child; his response: “The police, mostly, Brazilian police are very hard-core; if you’re walking around the street and you don’t have I.D, they’ll throw you in jail…it happened to a lot of our friends.  The police are very corrupt and they’re not there to protect you; they’re really evil, you know?  They’re really fucked up.  Most of the poor people in Brazil are scared of the police, and we were poor.  The police really scared me more than the devil!”

I advise him to be on his best behavior when he arrives in Brazil tomorrow.
So what scares him now?

"Probably mortality.  Death and shit like that.  When you start getting older you start thinking about your mortality and how long you are going to have on this planet.  It gets a little scary when you think more than half your life is gone.  I try not to think too much about that.”  Too bloody right.
But Max is philosophical about it all: “I think right now we’re entering the Apocalypse, like the bible says.  Especially with all these catastrophes and natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, the tsunami in Japan, the riots in the Middle East, pollution and oil spills,  all these crazy problems , it’s the time of Armageddon. But at the same time it’s kind of exciting to be living in these times.”

Exciting times indeed.  But alas, my time with Max is at an end so I wish him well with the tour and album launch. Max is a bloody nice guy and there’s an almost noble quality about him.  I think the man will go far.
Brazil, at least.