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Not for the closed minded, but pretty great. - 96%

ShiveringShade, March 17th, 2007

Figure number five is quite an amazing album, but be warned, it is not for everyone. Those who prefer to stick to pure black/death metal will be absolutely appalled by this, as well as those who dislike industrial metal and other genres of music.

If I had to give classify this, most of it would still fall under 'melodic death metal', though very weak genre-wise compared to their earlier efforts, and far more varied. In this album, you will see some modern hard rock/metal influence, as well as some industrial metal-ish style riffing (somewhat similar to Mnemic), and some synthesizers.

However, those who are generally open minded, and are not afraid to stray from black/death metal roots will enjoy this album a great deal. Sure, it's started to sound a bit more poppy, but this is largely due to the production style, which is now similar to that of Mnemic's. I would not classify anything like this or Mnemic as having a 'mallcore', but rather 'modern metal'. However, this still retains some Gothenburg influence, so while being fun and modernized, will still draw in more open minded Soilwork fans.

The synths are actually great on this album, and don't seem to overpower any of the other elements of the music. Sure, some may hate the use of synths, but they seem to add to the music, giving the songs a more layered and complex feel.

The guitar work is somewhat simple, but effective, as is the drumming, though these are both varied enough to prevent the music from becoming monotonous. Overall, the songs are quite varied, and quite catchy, but hardly in a lame way. There still is power in the music despite it being not the most serious of records, which the mixed semi-harsh/clean vocal style capture effectively.

To be honest, I know that I'm about as open-minded as any metalhead can get. As well as metal I listen to a huge amount of post-rock, industrial, ambient, neofolk, and a whole bunch of other non-metal artists. So, while I do understand the qualms of some who exclusively stick to metal (especially those who keep to strong death/black metal), I do believe that this is a strong album.

However, I do believe that Soilwork is taking a dangerous path. Should they get much more mainstream than this, they could become utter garbage (sold out, etc), even to the most open-minded listener, so I hope that if they do not return a huge amount to their past style, they stay around this area (they don't seem to have gone that far with STD). Overall, I'd say that the best songs on this album are Light the Torch, The Mindmaker, Figure Number Five, and Rejection Role. The rest are still pretty great, even Departure Plan (which could be considered borderline metal if lucky, but I like it anyway).

96/100