Natural Born Chaos, Soilwork’s 2002 release, was the band’s most commercially successful album to date. And, no wonder — the band, while remaining heavy, began dabbling in nu-metal circles, breeding aggression with pop sensibility. In that respect, Soilwork’s fifth album, Figure Number Five, is a logical progression.
While brutal verses still reign supreme, the choruses contain more singing and harmonies than ever. When combined with musical breakdowns, light keyboards, and the lost art of guitar solos, many of Five’s tracks take a radio format without being particularly radio friendly.
After wading through the predictable “Rejection Roll” and the keybord-heavy “Overload,” the album begins to come into its own on track three, the title track. Soilwork proves that when they want to rock, they can. The heavy parts are definitely heavy, as proven on “Figure Number Five”. On later tracks however, the keyboards and layered vocals get a little thick, sometimes to the point where when you hit the chorus you feel as though you’ve shifted into a completely different song — only to shift back songs once the chorus is over.
Songs like “Cranking the Sirens,” “The Mindmaker,” and “Downfall 24” show the band’s best side by blasting ahead at full speed. More often than not however, the band drifts ever closer toward the cleaner side of metal.
Figure Number Five is to Soilwork what the black album was to Metallica. Five is probably the most accessable and fan-friendly album Soilwork has recorded to date. As is the eternal gamble with evolving bands, it remains to be seen whether the band will gain more fans than they lose with their shift to a more accessable sound.
01. Rejection Role
03. Figure Number Five
05. Light the Torch
06. Departure Plan
07. Cranking the Sirens
09. The Mindmaker
10. Distortion Sleep
11. Downfall 24