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.
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