Soilwork Figure Number Five

Last year's Natural Born Chaos was an incredible change of focus for Sweden's Soilwork. With NBC, they added to their aggressive death metal clean vocals, memorable choruses and songwriting that had to be heard to be believed. On Figure Number Five they're streamlining the songs even more to create a lean killing machine; traditional metal mixed with radio smarts and the extremity of death metal. So, where the hell does this sound come from? "Sometimes we made songs that were quite difficult to play live," says guitarist Ola Frenning. "We can handle it, but sometimes it was like we had to concentrate so very much to just play our instruments. We just tried to cool down a little bit. This thing with playing as fast as you can, we feel that we've done that, and we want to go on." With FNF's blend of melody and aggression, hooks and venom, one wonders if there's been any backlash from the older Soilwork fans. "The fans we've had since the first albums, we may lose some of those, but hopefully we will win new fans as well. The opinions are kind of mixed.” No one ever said progressing as artists was without its costs, and if Soilwork keeps delivering albums as rich as this, there's not a lot to complain about. And of the future, Frenning simply says "we just try to hang in there," but admits that "it feels like something's about to happen." (Nuclear Blast)