Friday, December 13, 2013

#12 of my Top 12 Albums of 2013: The Living Infinite

Soilwork's The Living Infinite

Release Date: March 5th, 2013
Label: Nuclear Blast
Genre: Melodic Death Metal

     There has been quite a lot of "double" albums released recently hasn't there? Five Finger Death Punch came out with their two part album, The Wrong Side of Heave and the Righteous Side of Hell, this year and Stone Sour finished their epic House of Gold & Bones in early April.  However, as much as I like both of those albums, Soilwork outdid them both in terms of consistent quality in the 20-song double-album The Living Infinite.

     For those of you who may not be familiar with Soilwork, they are a Melodic Death Metal band from Sweden founded in the mid 1990's, when Melodic Death, or Melodeath, was just getting started with other bands like Dark Tranquility and In Flames.  They quickly rose to prominence and by the mid 2000's, they became one of the most recognizable names in the genre and , alongside In Flames, helped transform the genre into what it like today.  Previously, Melodeath was more on the "death" side of its moniker, creating really heavy and fast songs with harsh vocals that were meant to be a more technical version of traditional death metal.  In 2002, both Soilwork and In Flames released albums that helped transform the genre and make it truly melodic by incorporating more alternative metal influences with clearer singing and generating the formula that is in common use today.  This change caused a split, however, as some are still sticking to what Melodic Death Metal once was, but many, myself included, praise the change of the style, enjoying the songs that are much more accessible to those who don't enjoy  that much harsh vocals in music.

     Now, I may be a little biased, since I was looking forward to this album for months up until its release and pre-ordered the album the second I could, but I still stand by the fact that this is one of the best albums Soilwork has made in their career.  At first, I was actually a little disappointed as I did not think that this album lived up to the hype it presented and I also believed that it was nowhere near The Panic Broadcast or Soilwork's definitive masterpiece Figure Number Five.  In fact, I still believe that this album is not as good as those two listed previously, but if it was, I am sure this album would be much higher up on the list.  For now, it sits at number 12 above many other albums I have considered, which I will later go into in a post for "Honorable Mentions."


    This album does well to address both sides of the split that occurred in 2002 that i briefly covered above by creating many more Death-focused songs, such as "Spectrum of Eternity" and "Long Live the Misanthrope," to balance out the more Melodic-focused songs such as "Tongue" and "Rise Above the Sentiment."  As a more melodic fellow, I enjoy the latter-listed songs more than the former but that still doesn't take away from the fact that there is not a single song on this album that I do not enjoy to some degree.  They are all fast, have great guitar solos (look at "Rise Above the Sentiment" for a particularly shredding section) and the drumming is still fantastic.  My favorite two people in Soilwork are still killing every song just as they have been for years, the entire album still sounds like they are in their prime, creating their 3rd or 4th album when in fact this is the 9th album by the band.

     This is by far my favorite Melodeath album of the year, meaning this is the first and last Melodeath band on the list, despite it being one of my favorite genres.  Here's a couple links to give you a taste of the album.  If you are a fan of any of the bands listed prior or you are a fan of any Metalcore band like Shadows Fall, As I Lay Dying or Trivium, check these guys out, they've hooked me for years and with this release it does not seem like I will be letting go any time soon.

"Parasite Blues"

"This Momentary Bliss"

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