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The Chainheart Machine
February 2000
Released: 2000, Century Media
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson

After Soilwork's debut album "Steel Bath Suicide", I waited in great anticipation for this album. Well, I am totally blown away! On "The Chainheart Machine" Soilwork have found their place among the Swedish death metal elite. You may recall the many similarities between these guys and Arch Enemy on the debut album. That likeness has been slightly pushed aside as the band has gone for a more brutal attack! The music is still melodic as hell, with loads of brilliant, memorable, and soulful lead guitar work. But the approach to song structures and overall style has shifted towards speed. I would say this album is a cross between Arch Enemy and The Haunted, but with plenty of elements that define Soilwork's own style. These guys bust out some very innovative riffs! And with such precision and speed! Sometimes I cannot help but wonder how in the hell these guys thought of such music. The guitar tandem that is Peter Wichers and Ola Frenning is fabulous, showcasing some great talent and technical ability. Ola replaces former shredder Ludvig Svartz and has contributed his writing skills to several of the tracks. And drummer Jimmy Persson has been replaced by Henry Ranta, who does nothing short of a superb job. His playing is also rather technical at times, which adds a little cayenne pepper to the music, especially with his tasteful use of cymbals. Blast beats are limited to the title track, which is the opening song, and definitely the highlight of the album, at least for me. The lightning harmony guitars and keyboards during these blasts are just so damn awesome! I only wish this band did more blasts. Vocalist Bjorn Strid, although quite similar to former At The Gates vocalist Tomas Lindberg, has outdone himself this time as he screams his ass off better than ever! Even though his style may not be original, he out-screams most of the other Swedish deathmeisters. Keyboards are present throughout the album and really add to the atmosphere. They are sort of laid back…maybe even buried in the mix a little. But their effect on the music is very positive and it is hard to imagine the band without them. The only thing missing from this album is an instrumental. The two instrumentals on "Steel Bath Suicide" made me want to run down my street screaming "metaaaaaaaaaalllllll!!!!" So I was hoping for the same on the new album. Alas, none are present. But that is no reason not to run down the street screaming anyway!

If you love aggressive, brutal, melodic, and technical death metal, then get this CD! It looks as though Century Media has picked up the band and will be releasing "The Chainheart Machine" shortly. It's about time someone has finally taken notice of this killer band!

And for you diehards, the Japanese version contains a bonus track. It is an original Soilwork recording called "Shadow Child". Once again, experimentation has been left to the song that goes unheard. You may recall that on Soilwork's cover of Deep Purple's "Burn", found on the Japanese version of "Steel Bath Suicide", the band employed blast beats and female vocals. Both of these elements were not administered on the rest of that album. But they worked very well in that song. This time, we get some clean vocals out of Bjorn in the chorus of "Shadow Child". Once again Soilwork's experimentation has proved successful, and it would not surprise me if clean vocals make their way onto the next album.

Next review: » Soilwork - The Chainheart Machine
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The Chainheart Machine
February 2000
Released: 2000, Century Media
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: EvilG

Can you say " In Flames Arch Enemy"....go ahead - say it really fast. Sounds just like SOILWORK doesn't it ha! Well probably not, but man do these guys owe a lot to those two bands. Being mentioned in the same breath as these bands is no coincidence because Soilwork are also from Sweden and they are actually as good as these aforementioned bands!! This CD was also produced by the master himself - Fredrik Nordstorm (In Flames, Dark Tranquility, Arch Enemy, Armageddon). "The Chainheart Machine" is actually Soilwork's second CD, the first being 1998's "Steel Bath Suicide."

Soilwork's strength lie with their guitars - the riffs are brutal a la In Flames / Arch Enemy and the solos would make the Amott brothers very proud!! One of the CD's more exciting tracks is "Millionflame." The intro riff to this track will have any metalhead in metal heaven. The solo section of " Millionflame" even has an influx of Sabbath with a grooving doomy riff. I love "Neon Rebels" - especially the chorus, memorable. One major thing that makes these SIX (yeah you read that right -SIX!) guys who call themselves Soilwork so cool is that they not only have the sound and the chops but they know something about an often overlooked ingredient in extreme metal - dynamics. It's as important to have a song that is relentless like "Chainheart Machine" and then something that is more mid-tempo and melodic like "Spirits of the Future Sun." The keyboards add a nice touch, but never over power the guitars which for me is a good thing. So expect lots of great solos, both ripping and melodic, and lots of thrashy riffs and fast harmony styled riffs.

If you like this "Gothenburg sound" or the style that some refer to as the new wave of Swedish death metal, then your collection will not be complete unless you own this CD. Get it, love it, or rot! For more info check the official page at

Next review: » Soilwork - The Ride Majestic
Previous review: » Soilwork - Sworn To A Great Divide

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