For Soilwork, Natural Born Chaos was their transitional album. It swayed them away from their heavier roots and brought up a more raw sound. As well as that, it also propelled them in the mainstream with their next albums. A transitional album like this is very common in metal bands, the same happened the Children of Bodom (hate crew deathroll) and in flames (clayman) However, in both cases, the transitional album is the best or second best album released by the band. Soilwork manages to prove just that with their fourth release. It retains the heaviness, but drops the roughness if that makes any sense. It’s much more listenable to the mainstream. Also, Carlos del olmo left the band after the previous release, “a Predator’s Portrait.” In came Sven Karlsson, and thus Soilwork gained a new sound. The keyboards stand out MUCH more in this release than another, yet they don’t prove to be annoying. In fact, they fit in quite well and although Karlsson is no Janne Warman, he is definitely a vital member to Soilwork.
Speed sings more in this album then the others, and his screams are a little weaker as well, but once again, this doesn’t prove to harm the album in any way. The rhythm section remains strong with the bass and drums, and WInchers and Frenning deliver some monstrous riffs as usual. This is a very strong release by Soilwork, probably their second best behind APP.
Follow the Hollow: Starts with a synth sound and a male voice that sounds like the people that announce airport flights talking. After this, the guitars come in briefly which is followed by an awesome drum fill. The rest of the band, including Speed then comes in really heavy. The riff is built of solid drumming and a relatively simple, yet very heavy riff. Speed’s vocals are probably strongest on this album, both clean and harsh. His clean vocals are shown off in the pre chorus, a very catchy area with softer guitars than before. After the pre chorus, the verse comes back briefly. The pre chorus then repeats again with slightly different lyrics. The extremely catchy chorus then comes in. Speed Screams in a very very low tine here, lower than any of the other Soilwork songs actually. The double bass pounds and the guitars maintain a melodic riff while scream belts out those raspy vocals, which almost sound like old In flames vocals, only a little quieter and less raspy. A short bridge plays after, followed by a solo which is good, but not too special. The pre chorus and chorus then repeat themselves. This is the best song on the album and defines the new Soilwork sound. 10/10
As We Speak: This is where Karlsson’s keyboarding starts to stand out. The whole intro, roughly thirty seconds is all a keyboard interlude, with the drumming and guitars in the background. After the intro, a lone part with just Speed comes in briefly before the whole band comes in full force at your face. The verses are very in your face with some fast riffs and Speed screaming “As we speak, the stable table turns, as we speak, I should’ve known we’re burned.” The whole verse remains the same aggressive feel. The chorus is much more melodic, and goes back to the strong keyboarding in the intro. Speed belts out some beautiful clean vocals here, his best since Shadowchild. A short bridge comes in with the verse riff, but nothing much else, giving it a lighter feel. The verse repeats followed by another bridge instead of the chorus. The bridge has an odd sounding guitar to it, and more clean vocals for an interesting feel. Another softer solo comes in, followed by the chorus, which eventually ends the song. 9.5/10
The Flameout: The intro starts very heavy with lower toned guitars and heavy double bass from Ranta. The riff doesn’t change at all in the verse, where Speed screams a little lower than his normal tone. The second half of the verse tones the guitars down a bit, and they only come in on beats 3 and 4 every two measures. Speed screams again here, with the keyboards in the background. This transitions straight into the chorus, where Speed does some more excellent clean vocals. It’s like the chorus to the previous song, but faster and more relied on the guitars than the keyboard. The whole process repeats, followed by another bridge, which seems a lot slower than the rest of the song. Another solo then comes in, which is a little better than the last two, but really short and still not great. After this, Speed comes in saying “Your time is running out” in a really low voice. I love that part for some reason. It transitions to the verse again, which goes to the chorus. The song ends with a sustained note from Speed. 9.5/10
Natural Born Chaos: The last track immediately flows into this one. It starts extremely heavy, with a slow riff and pounding drums. The keyboards them come in and the verse starts. Speed never really screams in this song harshly, it’s more of a real scream, it’s hard to describe. The guitars and drums pound throughout. The chorus is very catchy here, though the lyrics are a bit corny: “Wait for chaos, wait for the welfare.” This repeats followed by another part, which is like the pre chorus somehow, only it doesn’t play the first time. It’s much softer than the rest of the song, the guitars are toned down a bit and Speed sings cleanly. The chorus then comes back. Once again the process repeats, only this time skipping the chorus and going to a solo. This song actually has the same structure as the song “like the average stalker” from their last album. The solo is once again, short and soft. The chorus then comes back. This is one of the best songs on the album, yet it’s kinda corny. It would fit perfectly on a SOnic the Hedgehog soundtrack, the lyrics and the sound to it. (That’s not an insult by the way) 9.5/10
Mindfields: This song took a bit to grow on me, I found the chorus quite annoying at first. After about 10 listens, this grew on me and it became my second favorite on the album. This song is much more unique than most Soilwork songs, Speed uses all of his different vocal styles here. And yet, this is the shortest song on the album at 3:29. It starts pretty heavy with some nice harsh vocals from Speed. The guitars maintain a very heavy feel through out the whole verse. The part at 0:36 is very catchy with atmospheric keyboards and heavy guitars. Speed kinda “half” screams here. The chorus is very interesting. The guitars play an odd, but very catchy riff with great drumming and cool keyboarding. Speed sings in a very high voice here, not quite but almost soprano sounding. IT’s a little annoying at first, but will grow on you. The chorus is one of the strongest on the record actually. The solo is softer again. I have no idea why, but Soilwork seems to be obsessed with slower, melodic solos on this album instead of faster heavy one’s in their previous albums. The chorus then plays till the end. Great song. 9/10
The Bringer: It starts with a clean guitar part that makes this song feel like it’ll be a ballad. However, that completely changes when a heavy mind-blowing riff comes in. It’s very simple, but one of the catchiest on the album. The verses are a little annoying though. Speed’s vocals almost seem out of place a little a bit with the guitars. The next part is really good though, with another heavy and simple riff and some stronger screams. The chorus then comes in, which I also find a little bit lackluster. It’s quite simple, “Bring it back, Bring it home, enough’s enough, I’m alone” The simplicity of this song brings it down a little to me. The solo is actually a little better than the other ones. It’s not any heavier, but more catchy, and a lot longer. The keyboards and guitars blend well here. Overall, this is a very good song, but could've been better. It is by no means weak either, just a little annoying sometimes. 8/10
Black Star Deceiver: This is the most brutal and heavy song on the album. It starts fast and heavy right away, followed by some frantic picks at the guitar. The main riff then continues with some very harsh vocals from Speed. It’s very catchy. The verse repeats for a while before the catchy chorus comes in. The chorus is much softer than the verse. Sped sings very beautifully again with some nice guitars and double bass. At 2:24, some techno-ish keyboards come in with some fast guitars and drumming that come on and off. This part of the song is a little darker, then in comes the solo, which is much better than the others. It’s got a heavy and melodic riff to it and just maintains a catchy feel to it. The bridge that played right before comes in, only with Speed almost talking in a really low voice, like in “The Flameout” The verse then comes back again with amazing brutality. The chorus then plays till the end. A definite highlight. 9.5/10
Mercury Shadow: This song starts with a simple and heavy riff. The verse comes in very similar to rejection role, with Speed “whispering,” only here, it’s lower sounding. THe bass is actually pretty audible here, and plays a simple but catchy tune with the guitars. The verse then gets much heavier, and the keyboards add an atmospheric touch. The chorus is pretty catchy and features some great keyboarding. This song actually features a heavy solo! It’s one of the strongest on the cd, though pretty short. There is also a softer bridge mixed into the middle, which could’ve been left out but is still nice and catchy. At the end, Speed screams the chorus instead of singing it, ending the song nicely. 8/10
No More Angels: This is probably the catchiest song on the album, and the keyboards stand out really well here. The verse has a simple and heavy riff and harsh vocals like the other songs. The chorus is another very good one, with some great clean vocals by Speed. There is also a very catchy part in which Speed screams “SO, COLD, RIGHT, NOW!” This part is really catchy, and the keyboards make a sound that almost sounds like a mix between a train and fire truck. This song features the best solo hands down. It starts with an acoustic breakdown, then bursts in really fast and really melodic. This is probably the softest song on the album, but oddly, features the fastest and heaviest solo. The “SO COLD” part then repeats, followed by the chorus. Very good song again. 8.5/10
Soilworker’s Song of the Damned: This is the song where the keyboards really shine. The intro is all keyboards and guitar, performing some melodic masterpieces. The verse comes in really heavy with some nice keyboards. The chorus is more geared towards the intro. Speed sings softly and cleanly while the guitars and keyboards play some great riffs. This song repeats a lot from then, only it adds a heavier bridge to it which features some great double bass. This song also has a really good solo. IT’s not too heavy, but it is very melodic, though short. It leads back to the verse. The chorus then plays and fades out to the end. A great closer. 10/10
This is one of Soilwork’s best. Probably tied for second with Chainheart Machine and behind “A Predator’s Portrait.” A great album that can’t be missed by fans of the genre.