The Living Infinite
3/24/2013 - Review by: Eric Compton
In the mid to late 90s, I thought a handful of bands including Soilwork were framing the next millennium of metal. Swedish notables like In Flames and Gardenian were years ahead of anyone else, designing and pioneering the "metalcore" sound a full decade before it gained prominence. Clean vocals, punishing grooves and breakneck speeds all wrapped neatly around catchy hooks and melodic passages were the order of the day post "Slaughter Of The Soul". Soilwork advanced the genre with the groundbreaking "Predator's Potrait" in 2001 and have continued pushing the boundaries on six records thereafter.
New opus "The Living Infinite" is a monumental effort that spans two discs or one really large download. Twenty tracks make up this colossal recording and the album is produced by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Amon Amarth, Bloodbath) for Nuclear Blast. Tracks like "Memories Confined" and "Antidotes In Passing" will see a drastic change in texture, a melodic and introverted formula that shelters the aggressive sound by showcasing more clean vocals over soft keys and riffs. Opener "Spectrum Of Eternity" displays some of the fastest riffs, blast beats and double bass on a Soilwork record to date, a strong statement considering the speed of early works like "Chainheart Machine" and "Steelbath Suicide". These Swedes rival and maybe surpass genre mates In Flames with the sense of melody injected in Speed's vocal delivery. "This Momentary Bliss" and "Drowning With Silence" are saturated in twin guitar melody that touches the softest and still most aggressive chords within a few seconds of each other. No one is doing this as well as Soilwork right now and through twenty tracks of a very long album these veterans hammer that point.
Where "Sworn To A Great Divide" and "The Panic Broadcast" were subpar efforts, "The Living Infinite" more than makes up for it, washing away those albums with solid songwriting, an uncanny ear for melody and the diversity to write brutal exhibits of power yet still so persuasive with focused accessibility and commercial logic. Soilwork have made the strongest statement of 2013 by advancing the genre and doing their damnedest to re-invent the wheel.
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