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Soilwork: Natural Born Chaos

Not only one of the more exciting prospects from the mass of new bands Sweden spits out with alarming frequency, but also one with the promise of staying power, Soilwork show on this, their fourth full-length album, why they deserve all the hype that's been generated in the wake of their 1998 Steelbath Suicide debut. The twin guitars of Peter Wichers and Ola Frenning, singly, by turns or in unison, simply dazzle, fiery virtuoso runs giving way to scorching soulful excursions in the manner of Michael Schenker, even at times kindling a bit of the old Maiden magic. Bjorn "Speed" Strid on vocals is a bit of an anomaly for this genre -- his "clean" vocals, almost too clean, could persuade a casual listener that The Haunted had merged with Tears for Fears. The explosive opener "Follow the Hollow" really puts Natural Born Chaos off to a winning start, and standout tracks like "Black Star Deceiver" (perhaps a nod to Soilwork influences Carcass?) and especially "Mercury Shadow" show the band's natural stretch. Soilwork, not simply the latest twist on the NWOSDM, could conceivably break out of the underground without much tweaking to their repertoire; their melodies are even hummable, the choruses resonant. The only thing I can't figure out is why they would write a line like "We know when to spit or swallow" (in "Mercury Shadow"): Musicians of this caliber need not stoop to conquer, as the saying goes. I expect that if they continue on this track Soilwork will have to defend against charges of overt commercialization, but except for a few purists out there, the strength of the music will overcome.

Added: February 17th 2002
Reviewer: Alex S. Johnson
Related Link: Nuclear Blast USA
Hits: 4584
Language: english

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