Soilwork - The Chainheart Machine
Century Media
Gothenburg Melodic Death Metal
9 songs (43:31)
Release year: 2000
Soilwork, Century Media
Reviewed by Jay
Archive review

In the tradition of At the Gates, many bands from Gothenburg redefined metal in the 90’s. Soilwork has the distinction of being one of them. Another product of Fredrik Nordstrom and Studio Fredman. This man has produced some of the finest albums I have ever listened too. This one too is of note. This sextet from Sweden (How a man named Carlos snuck in is beyond me) burst onto the scene rather late in the game but quickly established themselves with this release. Taking the past lessons of metal into account, they crafted a melodeath masterpiece.

The industrial noise that opens the album reminds you that this is a machine. Frenning and Wichers completely own on guitar. The keyboards are not excessive and only augment the music. This is a constant through the album. On drums, Henry Ranta just smokes. This man carries the band with his bombastic drumming. Of course, we have Björn “Speed” Strid on vocals. This album is before he started using his clean style of singing and he’s reminiscent of Tomas Lindberg or Mikael Stanne. The soloing is another highlight as Frenning and Wichers constantly battle. My personal favorite song on the album is “Bulletbeast.” The title is silly but the intro alone that sounds like gunfire gets me. The riff sounds like a Gothenburg standard but Soilwork’s frenetic pace makes it superb. The keys only enhance this already strong song. The solo is a rising masterpiece that seems to be getting higher and higher. It makes you wonder how many frets can fit on a guitar sometimes. The style is not all that dissimilar to that of Maiden with the dual guitars but at times you can hear bands from Pink Floyd to Metallica in the solo.

Generation Speedkill” is another fan favorite. As suggested in the title, a fast tempo is a prominent feature. Opening with a solo that 80’s metal fans should take note of, Soilwork tears it up. The riff sounds reminiscent of a more 80’s style speed riff just Fredman-ized. The energy that Strid puts into the vocals is apparent. He tests his limits when yelling the chorus part and convinces us that he means business. Some people like Soilwork because of their solos, which are a lot more defined than some of the other pack bands. “Spirits of the Future Sun” has a slow, ominous introduction that sounds like “A Momentary Lapse of Reason” era Pink Floyd. This slower song is Soilwork’s version of the metal ballad. While the verses are sped up thanks to Ranta’s awesome drumming again, the choruses are slow, melodic masterpieces in which all the elements just gel perfectly. Solos in this song come in Slayer flavor. Fast and convoluted.

One of the more grinding songs is “Neon Rebels.” The fills in this song alone are superb. Ranta is one of the more overlooked drummers in metal today. Sure everyone mentions Danny Carey, Mike Portnoy, Adrian Erlandsson and Alex Holzwarth. These men all rule but I think we can add Henry Ranta to this list. He just does everything he can to stand out and it helps the album craft along. The solo battle here is magnificent as well. The album closer “Room No. 99” is a harmonious end to an album that will someday become a metal classic. One great feature is that the liner notes tell who plays each part of the solos so you can begin to differentiate between the playing styles of the two guitarists. Strid puts on another great performance here.

While their latest efforts have been sub-par in some people’s estimation, Soilwork proves that they know how to kick ass on this classic. Many people have done the machine theme before and Soilwork adds their own flavor to it. In Flames, Dark Tranquility, hell any fan of melodeath will enjoy this.

Killing Songs :
Bulletbeast, Generation Speedkill, Spirits of the Future Sun
Jay quoted 94 / 100
Alex quoted 92 / 100
Other albums by Soilwork that we have reviewed:
Soilwork - Verkligheten reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Soilwork - Death Resonance reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Soilwork - The Ride Majestic reviewed by Goat and quoted 74 / 100
Soilwork - The Living Infinite reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
Soilwork - The Panic Broadcast reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
To see all 13 reviews click here
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