3 of 4 thought this review was well written
Soilwork - Natural Born Chaos
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
Produced by Devin Townsend
(taken from soilwork.org)
SOILWORK was founded in 1995 under the name INFERIOR BREED. In 1997 the band changed its title to SOILWORK which would become more than well-known within the Melodic Death scene only a couple of years later. In 2001, the Swedes released their third album "A Predator's Portrait" which marked the big breakthrough. The record got extremely good scores and critics from the press, especially in Germany, and made SOILWORK the new big hit next to their colleagues of IN FLAMES. After an acclaimed tour with ANNIHILATOR and NEVERMORE, SOILWORK went on rocking several summer open airs; amongst the many highlights, the show at Wacken Open Air 2001 remains memorable to the 20.000 + attending fans!
Follow The Hollow - You get about eight seconds of synth and talking before this songs kicks straightinto a chaotic high tempo anthem. The verse contains a fast riff and Strid's great agressive vocals.The chorus is a glimpse into the rest of the album. Clean vocals and catchy lyrics. The bridge is interesting. It has some heavy powerchords and Strid growling. And I'm not sure, but it sounds like Devin Townsend does some background vocals. The solo that follows is slow and melodic, but I feel this song would be more suited to a shred fest. This is a great agressive song, and it opens up the album quite well.
As We Speak - Starts with a few chords and then goes into a strong synth melody. The verses are fast paced and dark. The guitar plays mid-paced chords, with good drumming while Strid sings pretty fast and agressively. The synth melody returns for the chorus which is a lot more calm and soothing than the verses. Strid sings it cleanly, but in a different way than Follow the Hollow. The bridge is awesome. It's so catchy, it could easily replace the chorus. The two solos in this song are great. They blend melody with some fast runs and it sounds really good. You get a long final chorus before the song is over. Slow, and catchy, this is another good song.
The Flameout - The intro riff to this song is quite catchy and headbangable and continues through the first verse. Not only that but the great drumming in this song and Strids angry vocals make a pretty heavy atmosphere. The guitars retain the heaviness for the chorus, while synth and clean vocals oppose making a weird effect. Not quite as catchy as others, but the lyrics are pretty good.
"Feeding angels with despair
flameout's reigning everywhere
And you need it so, you just can't let it go away"
The verse keeps the same riff from before but a background effect sounds pretty cool. I'm not sure if it's a human screaming, or a high keyboard note but it creates subtle variety. The chorus now goes into a bridge section which is pretty good. All the instruments(including keyboards/synth) team-up to create a dark atmosphere, which works really well with the vocals. Frenning's solo is creepy and really suits the song. Then you get another verse and chorus. The bridge really makes this song shine. So it gets
Natural Born Chaos - The song starts with guitar playing a few chords while Henry really pounds away at the drums. The it goes into the main riff, featuring some odd leads. I'm not sure if it's the guitar with some effects or the keyboards but it sounds pretty good. The verse is just pure heaviness. Power chords and blistering double bass from the drums. The chorus has the same riff from the intro, but guess what - no clean vocals. Just goes to show the even without those you can be catchy. The second verse has a bit of a different structure than other songs so far. It is like the first but then goes into some strong clean vocals with synth and the usual heaviness. While I'm certain this isn't the chorus it is repeated, almost like the song has two of them. The solos in this song are great, like most from Soilwork. This song blends agression, with more agression(except in a cleaner form) and a different structure.
Mindfields - This song is different than Soilwork's usual stuff. Strid layers his vocals. The intro has him growling a few lines while he holds a screeching note in the background. The verse has a really cool riff. It has some chords, which are sometimes staccatoed and a few lead lines. Then it gets faster, and synth enters the background. It's hard to describe so just listen to the song.
The build up to the chorus gets quite agressive. The guitars slow down, just for a few seconds though. The actual chorus contains more layered vocals. Strid growls and sings at the same time. It's quite catchy too.
Even though this song is different, it still features a typical structure. The bridge is weird. There is a percussive clicking sound, like hitting the rims on the snares. The solos in this song are awesome, much better than their average ones. This song is a unique Soilwork experience and I have to give it
The Bringer - The song starts with a great clean guitar melody. So this is going to be a ballad. Oh but wait, distorted guitars and a solid drumbeat come in destroying that theory. The verse riff and drumming in this is actually similar to the title track. I'm not great at deciphering lyrics, but the lyrics to this song sound like they're about molestation. Figuratively or literally, I don't really know.
The pre-chorus is faster, with a heavy chord sequence. The chorus has the same riff as the intro, after the clean part. The chorus is damn catchy too, with Strid putting a lot of emotion into his voice.
"Bring it back, bring it home
Enough is enough, I'm alone
Everything's set all ready to go away
Bring it back, bring it home
To the place I used to know
There comes a time
when this nighmare will turn to hate"
The verse and chorus are repeated, and then the song goes into a bridge. There is a cool synth/keyboard riff before the solos. They are slow and melodic, although there is a fast descending run and a neo-classical tapping lick. Before going back into the chorus Strid growls a few lines from it while a guitar does a quiet palm muted version of the chorus riff. This song is a good thrashy song with a catchy chorus.
Black Star Deciever - This is the heaviest and most intense song on the album. The intro is fast, with a lone eerie lead just before the verse kicks in. The reason this song is a bit more unique than other is because producer Devin Townsend trades lead vocals with Strid throughout the song. The first verse is just Strid growling while the rest of the band thrashs away at their instuments. Synth helps create some atmosphere. It isn't until the pre-chorus that Townsend joins in the chaos. The chorus is cleanly sung, and catchy. The rest of the song follows the same formula so I'll tell you about the bridge and solos. There is a keyboard riff in the background while guitar and drums weave in and out of the sound. The solos are good, making plenty of use of the WAH pedal. This song is excellant, probably my favourite on the album.
Mercury Shadow - The song starts out with a hard rocking distorted riff. The verse is not standard in Soilwork songs. Strid does a weird growling whisper thing, while keyboards work the leads. The chorus is not as catchy as previous efforts. It talks about them knowing how to spit and swallow while Strid switches between a clean voice and growling. I'm getting tired of reviewing so I don't have much more to say. The solo is a fast shred fest, with lots of tapping and the like. On such a great album, a mid-tempo song like this doesn't really stand out.
No More Angels - Starts out with some lead work and a heavy riff. It then fades into a synth riff before Strid joins in. The song moves along pretty quickly at a fast pace. The verse captures Strids trademark agression with good synth work in the background. The chorus comes and goes quickly. It is probably the catchiest one on this album, being sang very fast. After the second verse there is a pre-chorus build-up. The vocals are simple, just a few growled words but the guitar does some cool type of bending.
The bridge in this song has an acoustic uitar passage before going into the solos, which are really fricken fast, and melodic. No More Angels is another great song, with a catchy chorus and unique structure.
Song Of The Damned - The final track. It starts with a great melody, my favourite on the CD. The other instruments join in while the melody continues. The verse has some great singing, heavy riff, drumming and the like, but my favourite is the new melody introduced on guitar. The chorus contains a lot of emotion from Strid. Of course he uses clean vocals. The melody is repeated occassionally along with another catchy part.
"So why are we trusting those cynical souls
Bleeding, aching, bleeding, aching-bleeding with hearts
open wide all so cold
Live for the moment get killed for the thrill
Bleeding, aching, bleeding, aching bleeding for nothing
for we've seen it all"
This song has great lyrics, and a very emotional solo. It's a great way to end my favourite album.
-Great solos in every song
-Great guitar, singing and drumming
-Most songs have the same structure
-Bass doesn't really standout
Overall Rating: *****
Follow The Hollow
Natural Born Chaos
Black Star Deciever
Song Of The Damned
WARNING: I am very much a fanboy of Soilwork so my rating may not reflect the opinions of most others who have heard it. It's probably a 4 if you are just a casual fan of the band.