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Soilwork - Steel Bath Suicide

1998 Listenable Records :: Reviewed by rofreason on 2005-07-14

Critically acclaimed, I had been hearing about this release for quite some time before I finally got it for myself. Let me only say this, I've heard about 40 different albums in the last couple weeks, and this album is by far the best things I've heard in months! Steel Bath Suicide lived up to all my expectations, including the ones I built upon hearing the inevitable comparisons to personal favorites At the Gates, Arch Enemy, In Flames, etc... In fact, Soilwork do sound so much like those aforementioned bands it's obvious where the influences are, but with ATG gone forever, Arch Enemy exploring new directions, and In Flames plagued with personnel changes, Steel Bath Suicide is a godsend for those of us who never expected another melodic masterpiece from the land of frost. To describe the sounds (and compare), vocally, a perfect replica of Tompa's performance on Slaughter of the Soul. Musically, an amalgam of AE's Black Earth, The Jester Race, some old Priest, old Maiden, basically what defines the old "Gothenburg Sound". Not that you'll hear any complaints from me, for I just think this album kills! Along with Gardenian, Listenable Records has another excellent group on their roster, and with this being their first release, I see great things for Soilwork, for they are already masters at songwriting, creating melodic tracks of monster riffage interwoven with just the right amount of keyboards. Apparent, but not overpowering, the different layers intertwine to form the perfect combination of melody and punch. As I stated, one of the better albums to come out in quite some time. Trust me on this one, if the influential bands are in your collection, you can't pass this one up!

Soilwork - The Chainheart Machine

2000 Century Media Records :: Reviewed by rofreason on 2005-07-14

Finished almost a year ago, The Chainheart Machine is here to once again prove the worth of these 6 young Swedes. Averaging an age of 18 when they released Steel Bath Suicide, initial comparisons were drawn to other Scandinavian groups such as At the Gates (vocally) and Arch Enemy (musically). Well, the similar sounds may have been there, but let me tell you, I played SBS into the ground, and The Chainheart Machine is rapidly following course. Both CDs are instantly recognizable and likable, no doubt due to the similarities between albums released before. To my ears though, Soilwork manage to add their own signature, injecting a shot of speed and fury into one of my favorite brands of metal. A couple changes in the Soilwork camp since the last album have also helped the band define more of a trademark, with things noticable improved in the drum department. Reading the last statement, you'd think I had some problem with Jimmy Persson's playing on Steel Bath. I'll clarify things a bit... The percussive work on SBS was top notch, creative yet solid, impressing me quite a bit, yet there's no comparison to Henry Ranta's explosive job here. From all angles, things are pushed up a notch due to the energy he's throwing around here, actively trying to run circles around some of the best dual guitar licks this side of the Amott brothers. And while I'm in this vicinity, I'll acknowledge the Arch Enemy references, but I hear more of the common bond references between these two bands, such as Accept or other late 70s, early 80s guitar hero metal. It's not over the top, just technical enough to pique interest without becoming a detriment. There also appears to be somewhat of a blues influence here, especially in some of the leads. To end this, I'll just say that Soilwork are definitely one of my top new bands as of late, and with The Chainheart Machine, easily avoided the "sophomore slump" that plagues many groups. Add in to the equation that these guys are barely of drinking age in the states, and I can almost guarantee that we'll be hearing quite tons more from them in the future. I, for one, will be waiting...