Soilwork - A Predator's Portrait (Nuclear Blast) 2001
1. "Bastard Chain" (4:02)
without a doubt one of the most requested bands on this site. I get at least
one mail a week wondering why I don't have anything by this band on my site.
Truth is, my first exposure to them was "Steelbath Suicide" and it just didn't
do much for me. However, Soilworks third album 'A Predator's Portrait' is a
solid slab of Gothenburg melodic death metal. They successfully fuse together
power metal riffs, thrash riffs, melodic keyboards, and some extreme vocals
quite well. At times I thought there was a bit too much keyboard, as keys have
never been my favorite instrument in metal. The keyboards just seem to suck
the heaviness out of the music. However, with repeated listens I began to appreciate
the mix of keys and guitars more and more. It most certainly takes more than
one listen to appreciate this CD. At first the songs don't seem to have much
distinction. It took several spins to finally begin to appreciate the nuance
of each song. The screams and growls of vocalist Bjorn Strid along with the
musical onslaught of the band is quite compelling and remind me a bit of early In Flames. The guitar soloing is outstanding
as well. From time to time there are some definite thrash influences, which
were cool to hear. "Neutorica Rampage", for example, starts off with a power
packed thrash riff. Unfortunately, there are also some hardcore influences here
and there, giving the band a bit of a metalcore sound. I am in no way saying
that this CD is metalcore, however, there are some of those influences mixed
in. Oddly enough, the hardcore influence is most noticeable in the aforementioned
"Neutorica Rampage". The vocals throughout have that feel as well. "Bastard
Chain" is one of the best songs on the album and a wise choice as the opening
cut. "Structure Divine" is another standout track with some intense guitar work.
The production here is outstanding, with thick, heavy guitars and a smoking
drum sound. Overall, "A Predator's Portrait" is a solid, extreme metal album.
It most certainly takes more than one listen to appreciate though.