Monday, March 4, 2013

Soilwork - The Living Infinite (2013)

"The first double album in the history of melodic death metal". That is the slogan for the ninth full-length album of Soilwork entitled "The Living Infinite" and it stands clear that Soilwork is raising the bar extremely high with this giant of an album. Twenty songs in 84 minutes makes this one of the meatiest albums in modern age.

My own experience with Soilwork is that folk in the metal community either love them or hate them. I myself definitely like them but I am after all Swedish and I have grown up with this melodic death metal sound. But I can agree on that Soilwork has seen its better days but they still flinch here and there with some great tunes (for instance, "Deliverance Is Mine" from the last album, "The Panic Broadcast").

Soilwork has had its highs and lows but one thing that is consistent with the band is Björn "Speed" Strid's great vocal work. He weighs up both the clean and harsh vocals to a perfect amount in every song and his repertoire of both the styles is amazing. I would not say he is one of the best singers in metal but he is one of the most skilled and professional vocalist in the community. The rest of the band is also very skilled and especially the double guitar assault signed Sylvian Coudret and David Andersson (his first album with Soilwork) is impressive with the rich amount of exciting riffs and killer solos. But let us now talk about "The Living Infinite" and just like the album, I will split it into two parts.

Disc 1

The first disc starts off in a furious tempo with "Spectrum of Eternity", a song that should please old Soilwork fans. The opening scream and blast beats gives you an immediate adrenaline rush that only wild headbanging can cure. A perfect way to start of this disc. The rest of the songs are not nearly as heavy as "Spectrum of Eternity" (With the exception of "Let the First Wave Rise") but most of the songs weighs it up with some great melodic abilities like in "This Momentary Bliss" and "Realm of The Wasted". However other songs like "Tongue" and Vesta" takes your mind towards bands like Killswitch Engage which does not feel entirely wrong but it is a little unpleasant. The overall variation on the first disc is good and it gets better with the atmospheric songs "The Windswept Mercy" and "Whispers And Lights". A good way to round of the first disc.

Disc 2

The big difference between disc 1 and 2 is that disc 2 is a little more progressive than the first disc. Songs like "Leech" and "Antidotes In Passing" reminds me of something Devin Townsend would do. Good songs but it does not quite feel like Soilwork to me. Disc 2 is contains without a doubt more of the newer Soilwork. The music does not get heavy until the end of the disc starting with the short but interesting instrumental "Loyal Shadow" followed up by "Rise Above The Sentiment" that has the most beautiful chorus the band has ever made but also a great melodic guitar solo. One of my personal favourites in the album. But the heaviness is definitely showing its ugly face in "Parasite Blues". Almost everything in this song is perfect. The groovy drum beat, the epic chorus and the amazing guitar work. I only wished that the solo could have been a little more complex but it does not matter since the song still kicks ass with the existing solo.

If we compare the disc against each other I would say that it is a very close call but the first disc wins it. But I would advice you to give both disc a listen since they are surprisingly even together, something that is really hard to accomplish in an album that has this many songs. Sure there are a few fillers here and there but they are a very small minority and the overall standard of "The Living Infinite" is much higher than I anticipated.

I am pretty sure that if you are against Soilwork and their current sound then you probably will not scream hooray for "The Living Infinite" but if you are like me and actually like the 21st century Soilwork then you will, just like me, take this double album with open arms and hug it. It is hard to make twenty songs without cutting corners and I find a couple of fillers but "The Living Infinite" exceeds the expectations and delivers an assault of twenty songs that does not get boring anywhere along the way. This is definitely the best album Soilwork has made in more than five years and it is a proof that the band is not done yet with their heavy roots (even if those roots still hangs out mostly in the background). Double album = double joy.

Songs worthy of recognition: Parasite Blues, Spectrum of Eternity, Rise Above The Sentiment, Whispers And Lights

Rating: 8/10 Tongues

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