Soilwork
The Living Infinite


4.3
superb

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
March 3rd, 2013 | 805 replies | 99,434 views


Release Date: 03/05/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The loss of Peter Wichers and an attempt at a double album? All the pieces were in place for a total meltdown. Instead Soilwork have come back with their strongest, most consistent album to date.

Soilwork dodged a bullet. It had been years since they had released anything that people were really excited about, and things appeared to be getting worse. First, they released Sworn to a Great Divide without their founding guitarist, Peter Wichers, and seemed to prove that they couldn’t do it without him. Then, as if to reinforce this notion, Peter Wichers returned for The Panic Broadcast and gave the band a much needed kick in the ass. On top of that, there was still the vocal minority lamenting the lack of melodic death metal since A Predator’s Portrait. In a nutshell, Soilwork were going to fight an uphill battle on album number nine regardless of what they did. Adding insult to injury, Peter Wichers left again and word got out that the band were going to attempt a double album. Fans wept for the eventual demise of a band they used to like and critics giggled like schoolgirls waiting for the car crash… but it never came.

Soilwork released the song ‘Spectrum of Eternity’ and shocked almost everybody. This wasn’t Sworn to the Great Divide’s neutered sound; it wasn’t even The Panic Broadcast’s half-hearted attempts at recapturing the glory days. This was a ferocious track that shot right out of the gate with pounding drums, melodic leads, multiple tempos and excellent vocals. This track single-handedly reset people’s expectations for what Soilwork could accomplish without Peter Wichers, and the band have met (or exceeded) them. The Living Infinite has turned out to be the best, most consistent album that the band have ever put out, and it is definitely their most ambitious. They’ve taken the high-energy tempos and melodeath foundation of their earliest years and mixed it the modern sound of The Panic Broadcast while injecting the entire formula with varying degrees of progressive influence.

This has allowed the unimaginable to happen: Soilwork have released a double album that somehow manages to be filler-free and diverse. Spread throughout its twenty-track length are songs that sound like they could have come directly from A Predator’s Portrait while others pull directly from the band’s modern formula – and there also a blend of the two styles. The album’s first eight tracks burn through variations of those styles with ‘Let the First Wave Rise’ bringing back the melodeath roots with its breakneck tempo and keyboard-backed refrains while songs such as ‘Memories Confined’ are modern (but good) Soilwork right down to the strong chorus and moderate tempo. A double album full of these two styles blended to varying degrees could have probably dragged The Living Infinite over the finish line, but the band had a trick up their sleeve. On the first eight tracks Soilwork had definitely been toying with a slightly more expanded style, but it was buried within the standard Soilwork sound; that changes on the subsequent track, ‘The Windswept Mercy’.

For those familiar with Devin Townsend’s Ocean Machine release, ‘The Windswept Mercy’ is definitely in the same style but with the Soilwork treatment. The song introduces fans to a whole new side of the band and it does so flawlessly. ‘The Windswept Mercy’ has its heavy parts, its smooth main section and one of the band’s best choruses. This is also the track that marks a stylistic shift in the album. From here to the end of the album, the band introduces an expanded sound that opens up a lot of the songs to a more progressive undercurrent. Don’t get me wrong, though, the latter half of the album definitely still sounds like Soilwork and there are still tracks that will have old fans banging their heads, but these tracks have to share time with the melodic, progressive leaning of songs such as ‘Whispers and Lights’ and ‘Antidotes in Passing’. Songs that feature a classy, moderately paced style that focuses on clean vocals, open spaces and strong choruses (again, Devin Townsend is a good frame of reference). This new direction comes at the perfect time in the album and allows the band to make it through the final twelve tracks with ease.

Who thought Soilwork could pull off a double album? Probably only the most optimistic among us believed it was possible, and it turns out that they were right for once. The Living Infinite finds Soilwork doing everything right. They’ve managed to merge the sound of their earliest albums with their modern direction without appearing contrived or forced. Some of these songs blend the styles and some of them are totally dedicated to one facet of the formula, but it totally works. They also managed to pull off the double album by being smart and not turning it into an exercise in redundancy. The Living Infinite basically bludgeons the listener for eight tracks before smartly diversifying its sound with a more expansive, progressive set of ideas that pulls the album through the final twelve tracks. On The Living Infinite, Soilwork have simultaneously stepped back to their past while maintaining their current sound, but they have also diversified their formula more than ever before – and they did so without a single filler track.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
March 3rd 2013



15900 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3 | Sound Off

If you've ever been a fan of this band and gave up on them, it might be time to come back.

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
March 3rd 2013



21768 Comments


just started listening to this but DOUBLE ALBUM oh god I have enough trouble going through single albums in one go

PistolPete
March 3rd 2013



3579 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Absolutely loving the first half, hopefully the second half is just as good but I like taking my time with double albums.

LOL always the best avatar's eh Willie?

Digging: Jolly - The Audio Guide to Happiness (Part 2)

Willie
Moderator
March 3rd 2013



15900 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3 | Sound Off

Yeah, that's why this took me so long. I had to listen to it over and over and over in order for it to all finally sink in.

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
March 3rd 2013



21768 Comments


I've enjoyed bits and pieces of their previous stuff

1SecondToDie
March 3rd 2013



35 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like second disc much more; first seems a bit heavier and chaotic, second has rather modern sound I accustomed to. Noticable songs are Long Live The Misanthrope and Rise Above The Sentiments, nothing to complain about but still can`t give them the highest score.
BTW< nice review

Yazz_Flute
March 3rd 2013



18769 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The Windswept Mercy is actually one of my least favorite tracks, but it's more a testament to the strength of the rest of the album and the fact that I always facepalm when Speed says things like "Never ever", (Breeding Thorns' chorus is another example).

Digging: The Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

PistolPete
March 3rd 2013



3579 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This Momentary Bliss is easily my favorite so far.

Yazz_Flute
March 3rd 2013



18769 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's either Long Live the Misanthrope or Whispers & Light for me.

trilogique21
March 3rd 2013



383 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Leech, Long Live the Misanthrope and Antidotes in Passing for me.

Willie
Moderator
March 3rd 2013



15900 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3 | Sound Off

I like the whole thing, but the closing track is exceptionally good.

Yazz_Flute
March 3rd 2013



18769 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I was going to list my favorites from each half of the album, but it would have been half of the first disc and every non-instrumental from the second disc except for Drowning With Silence haha.



BallsToTheWall
March 3rd 2013



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Alright, i'll youtube a few tracks off this.

Yazz_Flute
March 3rd 2013



18769 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You mean Owls Predict, Willie? That one sounds like a really good Amon Amarth track to me.

BallsToTheWall
March 3rd 2013



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Don't like First Wave or Memories Confined but I do like Windswept Mercy out of the 4 songs ive heard off this.

Yazz_Flute
March 3rd 2013



18769 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

First Wave and Memories Confined are probably my two least favorite tracks...try Leech, or Tongue. If you're not into those you probably won't be big into the album.

BallsToTheWall
March 3rd 2013



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Youtube has the whole album. Im just going through random tracks now. Loyal Shadow is cool.

UnitK2K
March 3rd 2013



106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I need this. I NEED THIS! I don't want to listen to any of the songs until I buy the album... I totally forgot this is coming out. They're playing up in Cleveland on the 22nd. That's going to be badass. Last time I saw them they played a 17 song set.

ViperAces
March 3rd 2013



12390 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

actually the instrumentals are some of my favs
entrening aeons especially

CK
March 3rd 2013



4908 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm still really fucking skeptical of this



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