Go Ahead and Die – Go Ahead and Die


Max Cavalera spends ten months of every year on the road and has done so since 1989. As a man of many projects, the notion of a hiatus is anathema to him. When the Covid-19 lockdown forced the world into economic and social inertia, he faced the prospect of six months stuck at home. Fortunately, he spent that time with his son, Igor Amadeus Cavalera, in Florida, and found a new lease of life jamming his favourite metal and punk riffs with his offspring. Within a few weeks, father and son realised they had something far more invigorating than a special family bond – they had the ingredients to make the type of crusty thrash metal record the world needs to hear in 2021. They sought out Arthur Rizk to mix and master it and brought in Khemmis/Black Curse drummer, Zach Coleman, to provide the biceps and stamina. Nuclear Blast had no hesitation signing Go Ahead and Die to a contract for their debut album.

But this is no gimmick or side project. This is the perfect concoction of your favourite extreme metal bands of the 80s spliced together with the best of the 90s hardcore bruisers. Cavalera Jnr is a powerful mid-range screamer with an impressive arsenal of grimy riffs and punk-infused venom. Go Ahead and Die simply cannot fail with Coleman on the drum stool and one of the most iconic metal frontmen of all time joining him on guitar and vocals. Opener, ‘Truckload Full of Bodies’ is equal parts death metal and hardcore punk, like Death and Discharge tearing up a cavernous club among shirtless stage-divers and maniacal moshers. The lines blur even further on ‘Toxic Freedom’, a song that makes no attempt to hide its ambition to be the follow up to Sepultura’s classic ‘Refuse/Resist’. It’s a diatribe against police brutality from an American son who witnessed the shocking murder of George Floyd on television and a father who lived through a military dictatorship in 1970s Brazil. If you want violent hardcore like the roster of bands on Creator Destructor Records or the primitive death metal of Profound Lore’s assortment of artists, look no further than ‘(In the) Slaughterline’. How about the sound of a NY hardcore band encroaching on Hellhammer’s unmelodious territory? Yep, you get that too on ‘Isolated/Desolated’.

Max said he wanted the album to sound like a modern metal artist returning to the fire and fury of 1987. There’s no digital wizardry or polishing at the mixing desk. This is as close to live as it gets – rough around the edges, spit-soaked, chaotic, and noisier than a freight train. Listen to ‘Punisher’ and see if you can keep your fists unclenched as Cavalera Snr roars, “You’re so brave with your gun, killing women and children…” before launching into a classic Sepultura gear change. He could be describing a crack addict, an incel or an angry misanthrope, but it makes a change to hear somebody denounce the high school shooters and supermarket sprayers who take aim at random people to exact their vengeance on the world. The plight of the planet’s homeless people makes up the social injustice of ‘Roadkill’. This is a six-minute dirge of nasty Obituary verses and a Terrorizer grindcore tangent that pulsates with anger and righteous rage. Again, Cavalera Jnr demonstrates his talent for an agonising scream to enhance the death metal flavour.

The most enjoyable aspect of this record is picking out the bands that the father experienced and helped to mutually influence back in the day, and the ones the son had to discover on MySpace in the late 2000s. Standout track, ‘G.A.A.D.’ shows they share a mutual love for Celtic Frost, with both of them referencing not one, but two, riffs from Morbid Tales (‘Dethroned Emperor’ and ‘Return to the Eve’) before launching into a tidal wave of blast beats. Cro-Mags and Discharge are always in the background (see ‘Worth Less than Piss’), but you can hear modern acts like Power Trip and Gatecreeper in the mix as well. Sometimes the reference is too obvious. ‘El Cuco’ uses the exact bassline as Napalm Death’s classic song, ‘The Kill’, to build a groove, but the grinding breakdown riff and sinister multi-echo effect on the vocals give it a darker edge.

This is an album that aims to salute every patch sown onto your retro denim jacket. It’s the record Max has yet to make with Soulfly and the one Sepultura tried to create without him on 2003’s disastrous Roorback effort. Go Ahead and Die is crusty, violent and vitriolic. The hybrid between death metal, hardcore and thrash is seldom this good. Father and son can be proud of this release and might even see it become the cult metal record of the 2020s, just as Terrorizer’s World Downfall did in the 1980s.

JVB


Verdict


Release Date: 11/06/2021

Record Label: Nuclear Blast

Standout tracks: Toxic Freedom, Punisher, G.A.A.D.

Suggested Further Listening: Celtic Frost – Morbid Tales (1984), Scalp – Domestic Extremity (2020), Terrorizer – World Downfall (1989)