Soilwork The Living Infinite 2013 Reviewed by Sebastian Kluth
Soilwork is probably Sweden’s most famous melodic death metal band after the legendary In Flames. Both bands have recently released more courageous and experimental records with modern electronic influences, but have also included progressive elements and more than a bit of metalcore. The reaction of many old school fans has been rather negative, while younger audiences have cheered the last releases. The new Soilwork record is a perfect answer to old, more closed-minded metal maniacs, as well as their more recent fan base. The six guys from Sweden, France, and Belgium simply released a double-record with eight-five minutes of music and a total of twenty tracks. This definitely is value for money, but let’s also take a look on the quality and not just the quantity.
The first disc is more likely to please fans of Swedish melodic death metal. The tracks are short, easy to digest, straightforward, absolutely energizing, and include great hooks. The first three songs are among the most pitiless ones on the double-album, and the band seems to want to prove to its fans right from the start that they can still play music like they did in their earlier days. The most intriguing song for me on the first disc is “Tongue”, because it has a very beautiful melody and a catchy chorus you won’t get out of your mind anytime soon. Towards the end of the disc however, a few songs get a bit too catchy, sweet, and radio orientated. I already hear the old school fans complaining about it and this time they might be right.
The second disc is more for the fans of modern Soilwork, and is much more experimental. There are, for example, two well done but not outstanding instrumental songs in “Entering Aeons” and “Loyal Shadow”. A few truly atmospheric and dark tracks like the gripping “Antidotes In Passing” or the original and almost progressive closer “Owls Predict, Oracles Stand Guard” keep the tension high until the end, and are clearly among my favorite songs. Many tracks manage to include diversified changes of rhythm and style as well as a few modern sound experiments, all while keeping quite addicting hooks that can maintain the attention of a larger audience, as seen in “Rise Above The Sentiment” (even though it has a terrible music video that supports it) or “Parasite Blues”. With these songs, Soilwork has found the right balance for old and new fans, in my humble opinion. As you might guess, the second disc appeals to me much more than the first, as the overall atmosphere and clear guiding line is there, but also because the individual tracks are more outstanding and surprising.
In the end, fans of other Swedish melodic death metal bands like Darkane, Gardenian, Scar Symmetry, Solution .45, Sonic Syndicate, and so on should give this release a fair chance. It’s no highlight of the genre but a very entertaining release with a lot of material that should cater to old and new fans alike. From that point of view, Soilwork has done a clever job even though I would have preferred a shorter and more consistent release with only ten to twelve songs in the end.