Jul 152010

We named this site NO CLEAN SINGING for a reason, which is spelled out in excruciating detail on the “ABOUT” page. In a nutshell, the personal tastes of myself and my two sometimes-collaborators veer toward the more soul-shakingly cathartic side of the extreme metal continuum. And for us, that tends to correlate with the absence of clean singing. But from the beginning, we’ve admitted that there are Exceptions to the Rule.

To be brutally honest (which is the only kind of honest we know how to be), there are some songs by some bands that live with us in our memories precisely because the melodies are so unforgettable — particularly when paired up with adrenaline-laced rhythms and blowtorch power. And sometimes those songs have featured clean singing. Sometimes the clean singing is part and parcel of what makes the songs so unforgettable.

There might be a better example of what we’re talking about than Sweden’s Soilwork, but if there is, it ain’t coming to mind. The first notes of songs like “Exile”, “Black Star Deceiver”, and “Stabbing the Drama” start playing, and the whole, epidemically infectious songs immediately come tumbling out of our corroded mental databases like the vivid images of old, close friends.

At the same time, Soilwork has been capable of harder-edged, melodeath marauders like “Needlefeast”, “Follow the Hollow”, “Like the Average Stalker”, and “The Chainheart Machine”. Those songs, and others like them, have tapped into the reptile parts of our brains that just want to headbang, windmill, and slam into shit.

Soilwork’s hallmark ability to straddle that divide between melodic death metal and metalcore, between mayhem and epic melody, is exactly what’s made them an NCS favorite despite all the clean singing.

So, what are we to make of the new Soilwork release, The Panic Broadcast? As a group, the three of us are conflicted. (what we mean? follow along after the jump . . .) Continue reading »