SOILWORK — The Living Infinite (review)

SOILWORK — The Living Infinite album cover Album · 2013 · Melodic Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
UMUR
"The Living Infinite" is the 9th full-length studio album by Swedish melodic death metal act Soilwork. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in February/March 2013. "The Living Infinite" is a double album featuring two discs, both around the 40 minutes mark in length. The lineup have seen quite a change since the release of "The Panic Broadcast (2010)", as guitarist/composer Peter Wichers left Soilwork for the second time in 2012. New guitarist is David Andersson (Mean Streak, The Night Flight Orchestra), who in addition to playing guitar also wrote most tracks on the album along with lead vocalist (and now only original member again) Björn “Speed” Strid.

The music on the album is unmistakably the sound of Soilwork, new contributing composer or not. Björn “Speed” Strid has sailed this ship for years and will undoubtedly make sure that Soilwork will always sound like Soilwork. Soilwork have of course added new elements over the years and developed their sound, but every release by the band feature their signature sound, which is just one of the great qualities of this particular band. The music features aggressive distorted vocals (somewhere between intelligible high end growling and more "core" type screaming) and clean vocals as we´ve become used to over the years, strong death thrashy guitar riffing and nice rythmic variation (drummer Dirk Verbeuren is on fire on this album playing everything from furious blast beats to intricate groove laden beats played both fast, mid and slow paced), more atmospheric/melodic chord progressions and the occasional brilliant lead guitar work. There are generally very few solos on the album, but the two guitarists still play some impressive fast and melodic lead themes. It´s safe to say that the musicianship on the album are absolutely brilliant across the line. But of course that´s no surprise...

...however it´s the songwriting that takes the prize on "The Living Infinite". First of all I have seldom come across a double album with no filler material! That´s an achivement in itself. I had my doubts about the double album concept when I first heard about it, but my fears have been put to shame. Each and every track on "The Living Infinite" are not only worth listening to, they are cleverly composed too. The band are known for their soaring "pop melody" clean sung choruses, and here those choruses are more than ever before delivered with great impact and emotion. Very catchy and instantly memorable. But the band don´t forget to kick ass and you´ll be treated to lots of fast aggressive sections too. The band seamlessly combine the two stylistic elements and miraculously make them work wonders together. A testament to how great composers Soilwork actually are. The level of sophistication put into the songwriting on this album is admirable.

There are several highligts on the album like album opener "Spectrum of Eternity", the very melodic and very Devin Townsend influenced "The Windswept Mercy" or the closing semi-progressive heavy and epic closer "Owls Predict, Oracles Stand Guard", which is one of the tracks on the album where Soilwork leave their comfort zone with great success. The latter is actually penned by keyboard player Sven Karlsson and bassist Ola Flink and might feature a couple of closing minutes that sound slightly too close to something Gojira could have conjured up, but what the hell! It sounds fantastic, brings variation to the album and introduces new stylistic elements to the band´s sound, that they can further explore on subsequent releases should they wish to.

The fact that the whole thing is packed in a powerful and detailed sound production that brings out the best in the tracks is not exactly an issue either and it´s actually pretty hard to come up with anything negative to say about "The Living Infinite". I guess some of the tracks fall into the slightly formulaic vers/chorus trap, but when it works as well as it does here, I´m not going to complain about it. Overall "The Living Infinite" might actually be Soilwork´s strongest release yet and a 4.5 star (90%) rating definitely isn´t too much.
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UMUR wrote:
more than 2 years ago
It´s been a couple of albums since I´ve been interested in their music, but this one is really great IMO.
more than 2 years ago
Great Review! I've always been skeptical of Soilwork's music, because of a music video I once saw by them that was pretty meh. I guess I'll give them a serious try sooner or later.

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