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Natural Born Chaos
March 2002
Released: 2002, Nuclear Blast
Rating: 4.2/5
Reviewer: Cid

I’m sure many of you will agree that A PREDATOR’S PORTRAIT was a very refreshing album for the entire Gothenburg Death Metal scene, and thus NATURAL BORN CHAOS had some really big shoes to fill. I really was looking forward to hearing this album, and my expectations were damn high. I must say; I’m nowhere near disappointed.

Soilwork has managed to pack their sound into a more consistent, more polished version of themselves and I’m sure Devin Towsend’s production did not hurt this album one bit either. Stylistically, nothing has changed much except that the vocal department has had some degree of expansion (I guess that’s a good term to describe what’s going on) that I’ll discuss in a moment. The Opener, “Follow the Hollow” is a classic Soilwork track. Featuring Gripping melodies, solid guitar work and some very impressive rhythm structures, this song comprises what Soilwork wants to do with their sound. One of the most interesting things I have found on this album is the use the Swedes have given to choruses; they are driving, catchy and very consistent. I am really impressed on how well the band has incorporated clean vocals in the middle of a fast paced song to turn the whole track into a very interesting piece of music.

I think the Gothenburg Death Metal sound in not yet dead since bands like Soilwork and Ensiferum are keeping the flame alive, lets hope the heavyweights like Dark Tranquillity and In Flames take a few pointers in how to do what they did best a few years ago, Original Melodic Death Metal!


Next review: » Soilwork - Natural Born Chaos
Previous review: » Soilwork - Figure Number Five

Natural Born Chaos
June 2002
Released: 2002, Nuclear Blast
Rating: 5.0/5
Reviewer: JP

It’s not often you see butterflies on the cover of a metal CD let alone one this intense! The buzz and hype about this CD are pretty accurate; this is one damn, kick-ass CD. For me this is a bit of a comeback because after CHAINHEART making my Top 10 for 2000, PREDATORS, left me feeling a little disappointed. The band has made similar comments and enlisted Devin Townsend (SYL) to work with the band. A great move!

The debate rages between the traditional, original fans who suggest the band has injected too much melody into their latest disc. I fully understand that position. It would be hard pressed to even call this death metal anymore or even death thrash. The vocal lines and melodies are sooo catchy there really are “just” a thrash band in my mind now. However, that doesn’t bother me at all. The whole look and feel of the band is somewhat lighter, in terms of lyrics, packaging and presentation. I do miss the 80’s retro lyrics like those found on CHAINHEART. Don’t get me wrong this is STILL a killer heavy disc but in comparison to their previous works it is much lighter and happier!

The lead off cut shreds as we expect it to but it is not really until track four, the title track, is where Devon’s genius shines through. The title track is so catchy and melodic and has tiny hints of his ambient, Ocean Machine vibe. The drumming is not quite as frantic and Strid’s vocal performance is his best to date. This is their most sophisticated and well-rounded disc to date. It will very difficult to top. Again this is a strong contender for my Top 10 of the year.

Next review: » Soilwork - Stabbing The Drama
Previous review: » Soilwork - Figure Number Five

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