Review by Michael on June 4, 2001.
This band are insane! They are fast, technical, talented, heavy... calm down Michael, just breathe..., ok. Metal world, I think we have a new winner. Right away after putting this CD into your stereo you realise these guys are exactly what the metal doctor ordered. !!! BUT BE WARNED!!! Severe neck pain may occur upon listening to this CD!!!! I’ve heard many people comparing early Soilwork to At The Gates and Arch Enemy, but I don’t think these comparisons do Soilwork justice. Sure these bands may share a loose-genre, but you can instantly see there is something very different about this band. Be it the surprising maturity for a young band on a debut album, or the obvious potential shown (as fans will know, their newer albums ‘The Chainheart Machine’ and ‘A Predator’s Portrait’ are just out of this world!) from start to finish this album is a piece of art. The musicianship is wonderful, ranging from killer, technical guitar riffs through ‘the feeling’ inducing chorus’ and finishing with solo’s that make you fall to your knees and thank the world for the invention of the electric guitar. The production is excellent compared with many bands debut albums. These boys from Sweden were not going to make any mistakes with this one, so they did what any smart band would... headed right to Studio Fredman and the man himself Fredrik Nordstrom (In Flames, Arch Enemy, The Haunted... pretty much if it's from Sweden and kicks ass, Fred did it). Everything is in its place, the guitars are full of bottom end with just the right amount of distortion, the drums are clean and accurate and the vocals sit perfectly. One thing that I really like about this recording is the synth work care of (the now ex-member) Carlos. It are very subtle, but provides a great ambience to the whole thing. Now, Peter Wichers, I officially salute you. The guitar lines are fantastic, full of enthusiasm, full of power and with just the right amount of added HBB (Head-Bang-a-Bility). The extended bridge/breakdown in the middle of ‘Razorlives’ is just beautiful on my ears. I feel like crying every time I hear it!!!!!!! Vocally, this album is also fantastic. The lyrics are good, Speed’s voice is faultless and the timing is fantastic. One thing I really love about Speed’s vocals is his ability to know when they are needed. He doesn’t push the envelope trying to fit a thousand words into each verse, rather he moves with the music, always pulling out just at the right moment to make the entire package perfect.
Favourite track(s)? Obviously ‘Razorlives’ and the brilliant title-track ‘Steelbath Suicide’.
Bottom Line: Unless you are mentally retarded, you should already be in the process of getting this CD!!
Rating: 10 out of 10