A Predator's Portrait Soilwork - A Predator's Portrait (Nuclear Blast) 2001

1. "Bastard Chain" (4:02)
2. "Like the Average Stalker" (4:30)
3. "Needlefeast" (4:07)
4. "Neurotica Rampage" (4:44)
5. "The Analyst" (4:43)
6. "Grand Failure Anthem" (5:20)
7. "Structure Divine" (4:07)
8. "Shadowchild" (4:39)
9. "Final Fatal Force" (4:59)
10. "A Predator's Portrait" (4:32)
11. "Asylum Dance" (4:16)

Soilwork are without a doubt one of the most requested bands on this site. I get at least one mail a week wondering why I don't have anything by this band on my site. Truth is, my first exposure to them was "Steelbath Suicide" and it just didn't do much for me. However, Soilworks third album 'A Predator's Portrait' is a solid slab of Gothenburg melodic death metal. They successfully fuse together power metal riffs, thrash riffs, melodic keyboards, and some extreme vocals quite well. At times I thought there was a bit too much keyboard, as keys have never been my favorite instrument in metal. The keyboards just seem to suck the heaviness out of the music. However, with repeated listens I began to appreciate the mix of keys and guitars more and more. It most certainly takes more than one listen to appreciate this CD. At first the songs don't seem to have much distinction. It took several spins to finally begin to appreciate the nuance of each song. The screams and growls of vocalist Bjorn Strid along with the musical onslaught of the band is quite compelling and remind me a bit of early In Flames. The guitar soloing is outstanding as well. From time to time there are some definite thrash influences, which were cool to hear. "Neutorica Rampage", for example, starts off with a power packed thrash riff. Unfortunately, there are also some hardcore influences here and there, giving the band a bit of a metalcore sound. I am in no way saying that this CD is metalcore, however, there are some of those influences mixed in. Oddly enough, the hardcore influence is most noticeable in the aforementioned "Neutorica Rampage". The vocals throughout have that feel as well. "Bastard Chain" is one of the best songs on the album and a wise choice as the opening cut. "Structure Divine" is another standout track with some intense guitar work. The production here is outstanding, with thick, heavy guitars and a smoking drum sound. Overall, "A Predator's Portrait" is a solid, extreme metal album. It most certainly takes more than one listen to appreciate though.

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