MAX CAVALERA Explains The Strange Story Behind SOULFLY’s 3

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Soulfly released 3 in 2002 and the story behind the album’s name and cover are a little insane. According to Soulfly frontman Max Cavalera in an interview with Revolver, some of the decision making was thanks to too many drugs and too much drinking. The story encompasses everything from mirror Led Zeppelin to asking some random Hindu dude at Hindu temple in Phoenix if it’s cool to use the AUM symbol on the cover.

“I was taking way too many drugs when I made that record, and drinking too much. And I was really not in my best head space. But there are some really good jams on the record, like ‘Downstroy,’ ‘Seek ‘N’ Strike’ and ‘L.O.T.M.’

“But I think what turned people off a little bit was the fact that it was called 3. It didn’t have a proper name. The original name was Downstroy. I should have just kept it as Downstroy. That’s a sick word. That’s a made-up word. It’s way cooler. I was on this Led Zeppelin trip, thinking I’m Led Zeppelin, which I’m obviously not. Like Led Zeppelin IV, Soulfly 3.

“I remember working with the artist that made the cover because it was Bob Marley‘s artwork guy, Neville Garrick. So we worked on the previous record, Primitive, and Primitive was cool. It was colorful and had kind of reggae looking colors, Brazilian colors: a lot of yellow, green, red. A lot of Ethiopian stuff throughout the record. And when we went to the Soulfly 3, I just remember looking at the symbol of the Ohm, that looks like the number three.

“So I actually went to a Hindu temple in Phoenix with the image. And I asked the guy for permission to use it, which was a totally crazy thing. I’m there like, ‘Excuse me, sir.’ And there’s a Hindu guy, like a priest. I’m like, ‘I’m in a metal band. You don’t know me. You have no idea who I am. Is it OK if I use this image?’

“And he goes, ‘Your intentions are good?’ I go, ‘Yeah. My intentions are good but it’s a heavy-ass record. It’s aggressive music.’ And he gave me permission. So I thought, ‘I’m clear with the Hindu priest, so I’m good, right?’ So I ended up using that image, but I should have called the record Downstroy, for sure.

“It’s an underrated record. But I think also, in a way, it’s the departure record from the nü-metal era. I think that record is really… There’s nothing nu-metal about it at all. It’s all back to thrashier things, and faster, heavier kind of stuff.”

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