When I first learned that Soilwork’s new album would be a double disc, I was skeptical. It’s difficult for most bands to create even one album’s worth of solid music at a time, and releasing two at once seemed like an idea fraught with risk — especially because of the unevenness of the band’s last album.
But man, The Living Infinite has confounded my expectations. It’s extremely solid from end to end over the course of 20 songs. That’s not to say that the songs are all of equal quality, but this really is an excellent album that justifies the dual-disc format.
We have kind of an unusual review planned for the album next week, which TheMadIsraeli will tell you about below, along with his own preview thoughts about the album. And then after that you’ll find yet another new song from the album that debuted today: “Long Live the Misanthrope”, from disc 2.
We’re not reviewing this, YET, but I think the album is in need of an introduction not only because of its immense size and musical scope, but also because of the way we’re reviewing it.
The Living Infinite is an insanely diverse, yet heavy, bombastic, and dynamic thrill ride packed onto two discs totaling a whopping eighty-four minutes of melodic death metal that, quite frankly, charges its way through almost every single root and innovation of the genre since its inception.
For one person to take on the task of reviewing this album would be a maddening thing, given that all of the twenty songs are very much their own entity. As a consequence, Andy Synn and I shall be taking on this behemoth together, alternating with each other to review the songs one at a time. I do want to talk about The Living Infinite in general terms though, just for a minute.
This album is really quite an accomplishment. Having listened to it myself about five times now, it’s safe to say that this is Soilwork’s best album since Predators Portrait. Not only is it hard-hitting and packed with a renewed energy at every turn, the new guitar duo replacing the mighty Peter Wichers and Ola Fenning create a rather interestingly varied dichotomy of influence. People should know guitarist Sylvain Coudret (who joined in 2008) from his work in French progressive death metallers Scarve, while David Andersson comes from a power metal band by the name of Mean Streak.
The core Soilwork sound is still there — don’t mistake me for contending that the new album represents a massive change. Bjorn Strid still has a hand in the composition, but there is definitely a renewed vigor and a definitive aura of a new direction and approach on this album. Strid has also never sounded better since his change of vocal style.
This album almost serves as a living testimony to Soilwork’s career, touching on every single aspect of their career and sound as it used to be, and as it is today. I think this song-by-song review will be a fun journey, and really a reflection upon a band that has had a definitive, significant effect on modern metal as we know it today. See you on the other side of this massive undertaking.
EDITOR’S NOTE: And now here’s “Long Live the Misanthrope”, followed by the three other tracks from the album that have previously been released for streaming to date.