The Early Chapters
~reviewed by Eric Rasmussen

The cryptic cover for The Early Chapters reminds me of Indiana Jones. I'd say this is mainly due to the miner's pickaxe placed against the cobweb-covered tomes, but it has a lot to do with the one Soilwork concert I went to. I'll never forget that the band came on stage with the Indiana Jones theme blasting triumphantly behind them. In any case, with a pricetag of $9 (via The End Records), a title like The Early Chapters, and a cover image full of recently uncovered artifacts, you can reasonably and accurately conclude that this is a mini-CD with unreleased and rare Soilwork material.

"Burn" is a Deep Purple cover, played with a good deal of aplomb, some jammin' rock solos, and an uncredited female guest vocalist who joins Speed's rasping during the chorus. "Disintegrated skies" is generi-Soilwork - good, but it's not hard to guess why it didn't make it onto their CDs as a regular track. The group provides a very Soilworkian take on Mercyful Fate's classic "Egypt", giving the song enough of the band's own personality to raise it beyond "crappy imitation" or "eerie, unnecessary clone." Owners of A Predator's Portrait will recognize the track "Shadow Child", represented here in a raw, early stage of development. And digging way back into the Soilwork catalogue, we're treated to a poorly recorded, but otherwise decent live version of "Aardvark Trail" (from the band's debut, Steelbath Suicide).

You might have noticed that this review is weighed down with frequent comparisons to the rest of Soilwork's music, and that's because the only people in their right minds who would buy this CD are Soilwork fans. The songs are good - don't get me wrong - but they're rare collectables for the hardcore fan with $9 to blow. I can't shake the feeling that Listenable Records solely wishes to capitalize on their ownership of old Soilwork material (now that Soilwork has moved on to Nuclear Blast), but then, the hardcore fans really do dig this stuff... just make sure you're one of them before laying down your cash.

Track List:
1) Burn (Deep Purple Cover)
2) Disintegrated skies
3) Egypt (Mercyful Fate cover)
4) Shadow Child
5) Aardvark trail (live)

Soilwork - Official Site:

Listenable Records:

The End Records (US):