Soilwork – The Living Infinite
Nuclear Blast, February 2013
After putting out a string of great death metal albums (my favorite being 2001’s A Predator’s Portrait), Sweden’s Soilwork began to slide into irrelevance with increasing amounts of metalcore to their sound. I stop caring after the atrocious Stabbing The Drama album was released in 2005. Quite honestly, I haven’t much cared to listen to any new material from Soilwork in some years now and The Living Infinite is a reminder of why. This new album has its moments, but it mainly reminds me of what used to be and what could have been. I can’t get past the band’s continual quest for “groove” now, much less the awful clean vocals from Björn Strid. No amount of slick guitar work and partial returns to form can overcome these faults. The Living Infinite has many instances of fleeting brilliance, but then the predictable breakdown comes along and Björn starts bellowing like Burt Bell from Fear Factory. It’s maddening. Then it really kicked in that this is a double album over 80 minutes long. I really can’t take it. Soilwork seems to be trying to please all of their fans (and former fans) here – the results are inconsistent at best. Obviously the band has gained a huge legion of fans since the time I saw them as a support act at the Quest Club back in 2002 or so, and to them I imagine that The Living Infinite will sound like genius. Call me disgruntled, but I can’t be the only one who’s felt left behind as Soilwork has evolved.
Soilwork performs Wednesday, March 27 at Station 4 in St. Paul with support from Jeff Loomis, Blackguard, The Browning, and Wretched.