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Steel Bath Suicide
February 1999
Released: 1998, Listenable Records
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson

What do you get when you cross Arch Enemy with Armageddon? Soilwork! No, no, this band doesn't feature members of either band, but the music they play closely resembles a mixture of the two. Extremely heavy and extremely melodic, with Amott-style guitar leads, precise drumming, thundering bass, blackened vocals, and a fine production by Fredrik Nordstrom. This album hails to the NWOSDM movement with the flags of metal flying high! Soilwork doesn't really present anything new to the melodic death metal scene, but their songs are crafted extremely well, and their top-notch musicianship is too much to be ignored.

The opening instrumental "Entering the Angel Diabolique" starts off with a big middle finger towards skeptics with its evil heaviness and heavenly melodies. "Sadistic Lullabye" gets things cruising with its speedy rhythms and distressful, painful vocals. A sadistic lullabye it is! "My Need", one of the best tracks, has a killer opening…a sinister riff put up against a good beat and some great cymbal work. And the inclusion of some whispers and some lower death growls give some variety to the vocals. Man this song crushes! But wait…there's the title track too, "Steel Bath Suicide", which is "dedicated to the metal gods of the '80s". Hell yes! This song is also filled with great riffs, leads, and some more crazy cymbal work. It doesn't sound like an '80s song though…more like an Armageddon song. "In a Close Encounter" has a really cool break down part: some acoustic guitar backing up a sweet guitar solo. There's another instrumental too, "Centro de Predominio", which keeps that middle finger firmly pointed upwards. "Razorlives", another speedy song, hints at At The Gates' Slaughter of the Soul. Some effective, suffocating vocal effects add to the hysteria of "Demon in Veins". Awesome!

And once again, for you collectors, the Japanese version contains two bonus tracks. The first, "Disintegrated Skies", is an unreleased song which runs along the same lines as the rest of the album, although the production lacks a little bit in comparison. There's a cool double guitar harmony in this one that brings to mind Iron Maiden. The second bonus track, "Burn", is a Deep Purple cover. Kind of an odd choice, aye? I don't know what the original sounds like, but this version is complete with keyboards, some female vocals, and even some blast beats! An awesome cover indeed!

If you like Armageddon and/or Arch Enemy, then get this disc! Soilwork, as I've said, doesn't present anything new here, nor do they have much originality. But hey, they totally kick ass regardless! Metaaaaallllllllll!

Next review: » Soilwork - Sworn To A Great Divide
Previous review: » Soilwork - Stabbing the Drama

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