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Soilwork
A Predator`s Portrait
March 2001
Released: 2001, Nuclear Blast
Rating: 4.7/5
Reviewer: El Cid

First off, forget all you have heard about how this band is from Gothenburg. Most people nowadays tend to think that all that comes from Gothenburg is a Dark Tranquillity/At the Gates (and for the sadder clones In Flames) clone. This is not the case at all. Soilwork are indeed a Gothenburg band, but by no means are they clones of the sound. I’ll acknowledge there are some striking similarities to Arch Enemy (musically, guitar wise) and At the Gates (voice) but Soilwork manage to escape the shadow of their predecessors and blend the roots of the Gothenburg sound with their own mix to spice the ride up.

Their first album Steel Bath Suicide came to me from a friend who swore this was even better than Dark Tranquillity, so naturally I dismissed it as folly, but after giving it a few listens, my doubts were cleared, SBS wasn’t as good as the early DT stuff, but it certainly was top notch. Then came the highly acclaimed The Chainheart Machine which was again some mindblowing stuff for a Gothenburg sound fan such as myself, it was nearly flawless and now this. A Predator’s Portrait is undoubtedly thei best Soilwork album to date. Blending together the best guitar licks orbiting the Amott brothers, some top notch drumming and a great vocal work, A Predator’s Portrait has moments of unashamed brilliance during the entire album. Granted, the similarities with Arch Enemy and At the Gates are still there (and you may think “Why buy this when Wages of sin is coming?”) but the real resemblance is not to Arch Enemy in my opinion but to Accept and some other late 70s, 80’s bands.



In short, A Predator’s Portrait is a must have for anyone who values melodic, high speed metal with death-like vocals (plus it has some kick ass artwork all over :op). So with Dark Tranquillity’s descent into electronica/bluesy vox land, At the Gates’ disappearance from the scene (RIP) and Arch Enemy exploring some new horizons with their sound, Soilwork is a god sent gift for the die hard Gothenburgers.

Next review: » Soilwork - A Predator`s Portrait
Previous review: » Soilent Green - Inevitable Collapse in the Presence of Conviction

Soilwork
A Predator`s Portrait
March 2001
Released: 2001, Nuclear Blast
Rating: 5.0/5
Reviewer: EvilG

Soilwork are back with a new album representing their strongest work to date. After two killer CD’s, STEELBATH SUICIDE (1998) and CHAINHEART MACHINE (2000), Sweden’s Soilwork are back on a new label to wring your neck again.



On first listen to A PREDATOR’S PORTRAIT I knew something was different…. not drastically different, just improved. In the past I’ve lumped these guys in with some other melodic Swedish death metal bands…but guess what I’m not even going to mention them this time because they have succeeded in becoming their own band with their own sound. This album is my favorite out of the three they’ve done, and I quite liked their other two! The area that has improved the most on this is the vocals. Some diehard’s who only go for the screaming vocals will not agree, but I think this direction that mixes 75% of their aggressive vocals with melodic singing is absolutely amazing!! Also, the songs on here are not all neck breakers. They have opted for more melody; more grooves and it really grabbed me after about 6 listens. Each time I hear it, I hear something new or a riff that’s like whoa, or a cool solo or vocal line. Don’t worry, if you think this is a wuss out you are dreadfully wrong. The title track mixes brutal thrash parts with clean/melodic choruses combining the two elements perfectly. Some of the other songs that really grabbed me with their mixture of brutality and beauty are “Structure Divine” and Shadowchild.” Some Opeth fans might be pleased to know that Mike Akerfeldt makes a guest appearance on the CD’s title track. The other thing to point out about this CD is the sound. The guitars, drums everything is just so perfect sounding - thick, heavy and clear. Having Fredrik Nordström and Studio Fredman at their disposal again of course was a great help.



With A PREDATORS PORTRAIT, Soilwork have fashioned a musical landscape that is far from paint by numbers, beyond the mere copying of At The Gates meets Carcass or any other Gothenburg melodic death metal band. This is a big step forward for this band and one that I fully embrace.

Next review: » Soilwork - Figure Number Five
Previous review: » Soilent Green - Inevitable Collapse in the Presence of Conviction





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