Thursday, April 11, 2013

Review: Soilwork - The Living Infinite

Band: Soilwork
Album: The Living Infinite
Year: 2013
Country: Sweden
Genre: Melodic Death Metal

I really haven’t heard anything bad so far of the releases I have listened to so far this year. It seems Soilwork will continue this trend with The Living Infinite, which is a large offering and supposedly the first double album released by a melodic death metal band. For me Soilwork’s first 3 releases should be required listening for anyone interesting in experiencing melodic death. Yeah, I’m one of those guys who holds up their early releases as being great and writes off the rest. In fact you can say the band pulled an “In Flames” and after those albums  became very mainstream and softened their approach. So its with much pleasure that I say this  is a much welcomed return to form.

It’s interesting to note that neither of the guitarists were in the band around the period of Steelbath Suicide to A Predator’s Portrait which is funny because a lot of the riffing sounds exactly like those time periods. In fact a lot of the material like Spectrum of Eternity, This Momentary Bliss, and Realm of the Wasted sound like a mating between the thrashiness of The Chainheart Machine and melody heavy (and clean vocals) of A Predator’s Portrait fused together. The second CD is a bit more darker and experimental with a number of tracks slowing down, the opening instrumental Entering Aeons being quite doomy while Owl’s Predict, Oracles Stand Guard also stays at a far slower doom type pace until it gets close to the end. But all the riffs compiled from both CDs have one thing in common, they have quality melodic riffs whether fast or slow. I can’t say there are any bad guitar parts of the 20 songs on the release.

Bjorn Strid uses his screams to great affect and sounds more like he did in his early days though sometimes going down to lower growls to switch things up. His clean singing is really good and he has a strong voice. I’m glad its not whiny or it could have spelled doom for the album. In fact his cleans are so good that I would not mind if he had a project where he only sung as Antidotes In Passing clearly shows he can go a whole song only singing and do quite well.

The drumming by Dirk Verbeuren is incredibly well handled and is very much a highlight and important part of making The Living Infinite sound the way it does. He displays a lot of energy through the drumming and shows major chops, its very fun stuff to listen to.  Ola Fink sticks to playing along with the guitars a lot though he is turned up just enough in the mix to be heard and in some songs gets to the forefront like in Drowning With Silence where he gets a sort of bass break during the bridge. Keyboards are also very tastefully done by Sven Karlsson and never overstep their bounds.

Something I find  really cool about this double album is the fact that each CD seems to go by so quickly since these are all quality songs. You would think at 20 tracks it would drag somewhere along the way, maybe even on both discs at some point. But instead before you know it each is over and my guess is its because its such a good listening experience, you know the old saying “time flies when you’re having fun” surely applies here. There is no filler, not a single throw away track. It’s really impressive that Soilwork were able to create two albums worth of music and keep it interesting all the way through. While disc one is aggressive and has a lot of fast paced thrashing action the second is a little more experimental and they seem to complement each other very well. While there are a few slower tracks overall The Living Infinite reminds me heavily of their earlier material and I couldn’t be more pleased at how it turned out.

Score: 9.5/10
Standout Tracks: Spectrum of Eternity, This Momentary Bliss, Tongue, Vesta, Long Live the Misanthrope, Antidotes In Passing, The Living Infinite II

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