This is one hefty Metal production. Metal music is everything but an attitude with a glory round its behaviour pattern; “it’s evil and does no good” they’ll say, “The Chainheart Machine” isn’t exactly evil sounding but it’s one of those pulsating Thrash albums that shows the mainstream audiences that Metal has an ugly face.
In my opinion the bands best work after the masterful “A Predator’s Portrait”. This is their breakthrough; the album plays on all the well-known Thrash Metal strings while also mixing a bit of Death Metal and atmospheric keyboards. It’s an album that has left its mark on a hungry Thrash/Death Metal scene which they understandably began to exit after “A Predator’s Portrait”.
The nine tracks make up a madly game of good old Thrash Metal music. “Steelbath Suicide” was a good/average album to begin with; even on that album the band has some ideas not commonly used in Extreme Metal, on “The Chainheart Machine” everything is mightier and improved; from the untamed speedy accelerations of tempos and changes to the song writing and execution of superb tracks such as the title cut, “Bulletbeast”, “Millionflame” and others, SOILWORK’s music is hard to resist if you’re addicted to this genre and damn entertaining as well.
Many people talk about the keyboards. There’s a difference in the way they’re used on the first albums and the more recent ones; I like the progression with the keyboards becoming more and more prominent on each album without dominating the music. On this album the keyboards are only used for providing an extra dimension to the atmosphere, not the biggest of purposes but it’s still seen as one of the more unique elements of SOILWORK’s otherwise pretty heavy music.
Making their first appearance as soilworkers are drummer Henry Ranta and guitarist Ola Frenning. Frenning is the old timer in the band being a good deal older than the rest of the line-up; this only adds more experience to the formation, he sure has some routine in his delivery and participates actively in the song writing. Ranta’s drumming is way better than Jimmy Persson’s on “Steelbath Suicide”; a well rounded lesson in high class drumming goes on in every song, his performance is simply put: GODLIKE!!! with tons of variation and different styles to his insane slashing, it’s a shame he left the band, really. Strid’s vocals are definitely at their strongest range here, he really screams like he believes every word that is coming out of his mouth (something must’ve been bugging him at the time of the recordings) but just like Anders Fridén he has lost his edge with time.
Like all good old school Thrash acts the band has some stellar solo sections. Wichers stands for the more technical and fast shredding while Frenning handles the laid back techniques (and some fast too). “Machine Gun Majesty” has a lengthy trading of spiralling solos including some sick licks from Matthias “IA” Eklund of FREAK KITCHEN, which has become something of a tradition since he has laid down solos for every SOILWORK album.
“The Chainheart Machine” is an album where the old school spirit of Metal joins with the dreaming atmospheres. Make no mistake though; this is Metal with the fun factor in the driving seat, great for Metal parties by the way, Thrash til’ death for the messengers of the chainheart machine!!!!!! (Online March 3, 2004)