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Natural Born Chaos

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2002 release produced by Devin Townsend. 10 tracks. Nuclear Blast.

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  • How can people call this a sell-out album? Just because a few songs on this album were shown on TV doesn’t mean the band have become any more accessible than they were in their hectic At-the-Gates-esque days of “Steelbath Suicide”. Bands progress over time, and I believe that “Natural Born Chaos” is Soilwork’s apex. They proved themselves as not being another generic cookie-cutter Swedish DM band, especially with the elaborate harmonies and the dashes of sublime industrial synths. Though, I must say, this isn’t a total DM album. If you want death metal, don’t check this out, instead I would reccommend bands like Obituary, Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, etc… but if you want some all around good metal, check this out at all costs.

    Soilwork seem to have a much more “catchy” sound to their formula this time around. Speed uses his clean vocals more than ever on this release, but his screams are just as gutteral and throaty than ever. His voice is smooth on the choruses of “As We Speak”, “The Flameout”, and “Soilworker’s Song of the Damned”. The guitars are surperb, perfectly finding a balance between crunchy thrash/death metal, tumbling and ripping solos, and elaborate melodies backed by the keyboards. The drumming is just as good! The drummer has a lot of good grooves, and you can tell he knows the kit like the back of his hand. Smashing double bass, impeccable and tight fills, and solid grooves. Top performance here. The band as a whole are extremely tight and have their fair share of technical moments, which are perfectly executed, leading to bruising passages.

    1. Follow the Hollow- Amazing guitars, solid rhythms, and a fist-pumping chorus. A nice opening track. 5/5

    2. As We Speak- One of the best on the album. Speed’s clean vocals shine thorough on the chorus, accented by the trade-off solos and lightning-quick double bass. The synths do a good job of adding to the atmosphere here as well. 5/5

    3. The Flameout- One of my personal favorites. Features all of the album’s best traits, including the head-banging DM coupled with a soaring chorus. 5/5

    4. Natural Born Chaos- one of the heavier tracks here. Features a strong rhythm with crunchy guitars. Sums up the album the best. A truly fist-pumping song. 4/5

    5. Mindfields- A typical song, I’d say. Follows in the pattern of previous songs, but has a more accessible song structure with extra synths added in. Pretty good, but not great. 3/5

    6. The Bringer- Great opening here. The sound is more melodic, but still has a pummeling rhythm. A strong track, stands out a but more than others. 5/5

    7. Black Star Deceiver- Amazing chorus here, and some wicked technical guitar work. Again, a typical song, but it has some good merits to it. 4/5

    8. Mercury Shadow- Meh… Seems like a filler track, if you ask me… Typical song structure, and nothing really exciting… 2/5

    9. No More Angels- Here we go! Back to the ferocity! A blistering song, another one of my favorites on the album. Great drums, furious vocals… Raise the horns! 5/5

    10. Soilworker’s Somg of the Damned- A superb closing track. Awesome guitar work, and a VERY addicting chorus. Definitely worth checking out. 5/5

    Despite some of the filler tracks and repetitive parts of this album, it’s still a great album from one of Sweden’s best melodic DM bands. Reccommended to fans of metal in general!

    Posted on January 7, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Two bands known under the name of In Flames and Dark Tranquillity managed to give death-metal a more artistic dimension, bringing melodies into their songs, avoiding the monotonous sound of straight death, that make me sick to the point I wonder if these death-metal bands enjoy their own sound (I sometimes say to myself “I’m very sorry for these guys”).But Soilwork is not one of them. They are the younger brother of In Flames and Dark Tranquillity. The three bands are from Gothenburg, Sweden and their new melodic sound is now known as the Gothenburg style.But while In Flames are losing their talent with their latest releases (‘Clayman’ and ‘Reroute to Remain’), Soilwork has made progress. The growling vocals are not the best I’ve heard, but the combination between the power of Speed’s vocals and the softness of the chorus are made like in no other band.Please, don’t compare to Linkin Park or other mainstream horror. Have we heard the same album ? I wouldn’t even have the idea to mention this band to describe this. If you have never heard about Swedish metal bands, I think this isn’t for you. Anyway, one thing clearly needs to be said : this is ‘love it or hat it’ album.My ratings : Follow the hollow – A+ : great opener, nice intro, easy listenable, cool chorus.As we speak – A+ : slower song, but atmosperhic and full of inspiration.The flameout – A : harder song, more difficult to appreciate, but good chorus.Natural Born Chaos – B- : for me, this is the weak point, repetitive and slightly annoyingMindfields – B-: same problem.The Bringer – A+ : My favorite song. Little intro on guitar, nice chorus.Black Star Deceiver – A+ : nice dialogue between Speed and Devin (producer)Mercury Shadow – ANo more angels – ASoilworker’s song of the damned – ATo conclude, I’d say this is a great album. Soilwork has done some good innovation. But one default is that it’s overall repetitive, since it always uses the same combination (aggressive verses/cool chorus). But don’t let that fool you !

    Posted on January 7, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Occasionally in metal, the emphasis lies a bit too much on brutality or evilness than on thatwhich are commonly held as true qualities of brilliant music: well developed harmonies,memorable melodies, superior musicianship in execution and uniquely inspired structure. While Soilwork may not have delivered the most brutal or evil release to date, they havemore than quantified their penchant for poignant songwriting.Hot on the heals of the acclaimed A Predator’s Portrait comes the landmark Natural BornChaos. With their latest offering these Swedish masters do more than just raise the bar forthe melodic death metal scene, they challenge all those in the “rock” genre to match theircraft. Helped tremendously by the maniacal genius of producer extraodonaire DevinTownsend (S.Y.L), the sextet have more than demonstrated their poise.Going back to beyond Stealbath Suicide, Soilwork attempted to set themselves apart byutilizing a unique harmonic structure that paired the traditional dual lead guitar writingwith a keyboard and created a progressive overtone that managed to set a standard in itsown right. With NBC, however, they have found a better way to utilize the keyboard andtwin guitar onslaught to create atmosphere and push the melodies even further to theforefront.By the time one finally hits the title track, the aural assault has gone beyond haunting inthe development of the “hook.” Soilwork move like a leviathan, swiftly between grain andgrace, to create gargantuan choruses and hum along riffs that echo in the transient cornersof the mind for hours after the disc has ended while maintaining their death roots. Sweden may quickly become the entertainment industry’s next `Seattle’ scene with the riseof several of Soilwork’s contemporaries in the international arena, but with NBC the boysonce again set themselves apart from the “norm” by continuing to not only push theboundaries of their own genre but influence the execution of melodic output in its entirely. Just listen to the development of the closer “Song of the Damned” and understand thebeauty of a simply crafted melody under the guise of a “metal” effort. Soilwork havetranscended the stereotypes of metallic brutality to compose songs of melodic appealwhile maintaining their metallic sensibility.Next time you year for something more than shear evil aggression out of your music butare not willing to forego the adrenaline rush of pure metal mystique, dig into Soilwork’sNatural Born Chaos and find it is not as confusing as you once thought to sing along andpump your fist simultaneously.

    Posted on January 7, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Didn’t Soilwork just release ‘A Predator’s Portrait’? Seems like it, but now all of a sudden in 2002 we have the Devin Townsend produced ‘Natural Born Chaos’. And it is spectacular from start to finish, this band is easily the hottest running in the Gothenburg metal scene. Townsend must be given credit for adding that extra touch of melody on this album. On first listen, NBC will sound like an album that focuses way too hard on being catchy and not enough on that death metal brutality. But give it some time, and everything will blend together in a mass of metal perfection. I really can’t find any faults within this entire CD. Vocalist ‘Speed’ gives a full on aggressive assault in every song, and when the time comes to sing cleanly, he shines even greater. Opener “Follow the Hollow” is classic Soilwork. A very aggressive song that switches back and forth between clean and death vocals until we hit the amazing lead work that Soilwork has become known for. Next comes “As We Speak” which utilizes keyboards in a tremendous way. This is without a doubt my favorite song on the CD, extremely memorable. “The Bringer” uses some nice acoustic guitar at the beginning and is definitely the catchiest of all the songs (features another clever use of keyboards in the solo section). “No More Angels” shreds and rips its way through, a huge standout on this record. Closer, “Song of the Damned” ends this album perfectly with a catchy as all hell main riff and great vocals.I don’t know how the metal community will recieve this album. Soilwork has written an album full of catchy metal songs, and that usually is a bad thing for such an elitist fanbase. But let me say, these songs would never be accepted by the mass public and are still metal as can be. This is my favorite Soilwork album, and I’ve heard each one many times. Don’t miss out on the best album released so far in 2002. Highly recommended.

    Posted on January 7, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • After first listening to this album I was literally stunned by the time it had ended. Soilwork’s latest album blew me away song after song, and in my first day of owning it I ended up listening to it seven times before reluctantly taking a breather with something mellower. Natural Born Chaos is the essence of melodic aggression — it is definitely one of the best metal albums I’ve heard in years. I’m not really a metalhead, per se, so take that for what it’s worth. Either way, I readily maintain that this is an _awesome_ record.Produced by metal’s own mad scientist, Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad), Natural Born Chaos envelops the listener with raging staccato walls of heavy riffage with exceptional compositional and melodic talents. While unquestionably aggressive, Soilwork’s music here is also stunningly melodic at times. For this, we can mainly credit the incredible vocal melodies and vocalist Speed’s delivery. On nearly every song, he smoothly toggles between his threatening, throaty growl and dark, powerful clean voice — and often straddling the line between the two. Speed’s vocals are uniformly stunning, and the album is not shy with hooks. I’ve found many of these songs stuck in my head for days at a time. Yet, for all of Natural Born Chaos’ melodic qualities, it remains a punishing, visceral metal album. Predominantly fast thrash-inflected, syncopated guitar furies, there are also the occasional slow, heavy-duty rhythms that recall the trendy nu-metal which works interestingly for rhythmic diversity. If my use of the term nu-metal frightens you, it shouldn’t. Soilwork’s songs are replete with technical, intense riffing that crushes any nu-metal band you can think of, and the band’s leadwork slaughters. Reams of tasty harmonies and textural guitar effects don’t temper the aggression, but still instill a melodic subtlety.I like how this album makes use of keyboards. They are very gentle in the mix, but they subtly enhance the songs without detracting from the “metallic” quality at all. The keys mistily creep through the songs, almost elusive but valuable in every situation: “As We Speak” presents a dramatic keyboard-generated atmosphere behind the raging guitars; “Soilworker’s Song for the Damned” has icy, haunting keyboard backdrops.The musicianship is topnotch, and every song is a highlight — I honestly can’t pick out any favorites because they are all great. Although the album is not very long, it is so awesome anything more would probably cause a fatal overdose. From its haunting artwork to the music itself, this album is an utter success.

    Posted on January 7, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now