Review Summary: A good album that is easily accesible, just not anything you havent heard before.
After receiving great commercial success from their last album, "A Predator's Portrait", Soilwork more or less bring the goods right back to the table. Soilwork's style has been the subject of criticism from many unhappy campers after their music became slightly more melodic. The term sellout was thrown around more often than it should. Personally, I enjoy the fact that Soilwork added more melodic elements to their music. I'm up for any band to try to expand their sound without turning into someone else. Making the same album over and over would be bland and uninteresting.
Soilwork have released their 2002 album "Natural Born Chaos" and is a solid piece of music. Although not as booming as “Stabbing The Drama” or as crushing as Steelbath’, this remains in the middle ground. A better album then “Figure Number Five” that‘s for sure.. They still had main song writer Peter Wichers on board to contribute to the music. And I have to say that he is a big reason why Soilwork has had so much success. You could feel with his absence that the new album was lacking in quality and song writing despite Devin Townsend's handle on the disk. Devin Townsend had actually controlled the boards on this album as well as "Sworn To A Great Divide". No introduction necessary for Devin but does a solid job bringing most of the instruments to the limelight. Also, he contributes harsh vocals during the tradeoff with Bjorn in the mid paced number "Black Star Deceiver".
Bjorn "Speed" Strid - Vocal
Peter Wichers - Lead and Rhythm Guitar
Ola Frenning - Lead and Rhythm Guitar
Ola Flink - Bass
Henry Ranta - Drums
Sven Karlsson - Keyboards and Synth
Soilwork is a Swedish Melodic Death Metal band. Although not as harsh or ground braking as some of the other bands, Soilwork excels at what they do, basically creating catchy melodies, foot tapping rhythms, strong vocal transitions and molding these basic elements into a sound of their own. They found their niche early on in their career and haven't found the need to unnecessarily experiment with other sounds toi make the listener. Guitar wise, this album is chock full of thudding grooves that would make Pantera proud. Staying around the mid tempo mark, the guitar creates the basic foundation of the music. Riffs are extremely catchy and the solos are warming. Peter and Ola put up successfully on their end of the bargain. The electronic work wraps itself around the guitar riff while giving the music a more melodic feel. Sven's work is neither haunting or overly dramatic like a lot of Doom metal bands these days, but none the less add well to the atmosphere.
Drum work is lower into the mix than I expected but still sufficient at providing numerous interesting fills and double bass patterns. Bass is down tuned into the mix as well. Despite these flaws, Bjorn somewhat makes up for those absences with a great vocal performance. It can be debated about Bjorn's voice but in my opinion has a strong singing voice that over shadows his harsh vocals. Not too say that his harsh vocals aren't bad, they're just lacking the power of some of metal's vocalists. Bjorn usually trades off between his smooth croon to either higher pitched growls or lower pitched screams.
A good example of that could be shown in the opener "Follow The Hollow". As one of the faster paced songs, Bjorn displays a fast delivery with his clean to harsh vocals to display one of the most aggressive songs on the album. Keyboard work is spacey and the riffs chug away before a well timed solos pops in. This is basically the album that Sonic Syndicate abused in their recording room before writing their songs as a striking similarity can be felt between both albums. Production for the most part captures the sound pretty well. Bjorn’s voice can be heard crisply, guitar riffs are loud and heavy, solos are clear and on key, keyboard work is presented well, and yet the drum work can not be heard clearly and the bass work is tuned down to the point.
A good album but not excellent due to some lingering problems that plaque this disk. All in all, this is a extremely catchy album that takes no time to sink your teeth into, whether or not that's a good thing. Due to the accessibility of this album, almost everyone can listen to this album without problem. Call it metal-lite. Too melodic for it's own good, the screams don't have much aggression, and the riffs although heavy can't compare with let's say Dissection.Overall, this is an album that can be heard for listening enjoyment or just rocking out with your friends, just not the album for when you crave hard edged music to pound something or someone. Nothing really groundbreaking or to the point of extreme, but this can still bring the mosh.
-Catchy, great melodies and solos.
-Vocals, harsh and clean are delivered well.
-Not treading any new ground.
-Drums are low in the mix and bass is nonexistent.
-Lacking that oomph that typical Metal bands have.