Soilwork - _Chainheart Machine_
(Listenable Records, 1999)
by: David Rocher (9 out of 10)
Soilwork's 1998 debut, _Steelbath Suicide_ -- a fine taste indeed of these Swedes' technical, melodic and thrashing death metal --, had succeeded in whetting many a metalhead's appetite up, owing to the large helping of energetic, addictive metal it offered. And now, as Soilwork are poised to unleash their second effort, _Chainheart Machine_, be prepared to be more than merely satiated! Ten seconds into an industrial, grating techno beat, the title track "Chainheart Machine" kicks in with crushing rhythmic heaviness, midway between At the Gates' glorious masterpiece _Slaughter of the Soul_ and Carcass' referential milestone _Heartwork_, before exploding into breakneck blastbeat velocity, that then instantly recedes before rumbling double bass antics, loaded with catchy, energetic and melodic riffing, seared with Speed Strid's furious, foaming-at-the mouth vocal delivery. As the nine tracks of _Chainheart Machine_ unfold, from the raging speed of the title track to the mid-paced heaviness of the hymn "Spirits of the Future Sun", through to the light-footed, melodic string-picking riffs of "Millionflame", lightspeed virtuoso guitar leads tinged with an almighty '70s aura furiously give chase to intricate twin axe attacks, uncompromisingly demonstrating how increasingly mature and personal Soilwork's own style is growing -- more than just another flock of sheep in the once again organically expanding death metal landscapes, these deathsters have grafted something special to the now trademark Gothenburg sound and shaped it according to their own will and sound... and judging from the ease with which Soilwork first asserted their style with their 1998 vintage, and have now succeeded, anno 1999, in giving their musical scope far greater breadth, their readily disclosed potential seems yet far from having reached its peak...

(article published 12/8/1999)

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