Originally written by Tim Pigeon
For the devoted Soilwork fan, Listenable Records has released this EP composed of various Japanese bonus tracks and other hard-to-find extras that appeared on worldwide releases of Soilwork’s earliest albums. With the exception of the studio track, “Disintegrated Skies”, there really isn’t anything essential on this release, except for the diehards and completists. With that said, on The Early Chapters there are two covers, “Disintegrated Skies”, a live version of “The Aardvark Trail”, and a demo version of “Shadow Child”. I’ll just give a little report of each track:
1. “Burn” – This is a Deep Purple cover that the boys do a nice representation of, naturally sped up, and a bit heavier, with Strid’s trademark vocals. The production is of the same quality as the The Chainheart Machine release.
2. “Disintegrated Skies” – This track would fit in nicely on TCM, as it has the same strong leadwork, smart sense of melody, and beefy riffs characteristic of that great album. As this is the only original song that didn’t appear on an official Soilwork album, the songwriting score is based solely on this song.
3. “Egypt” – Soilwork deliver a more-extreme rendition of this Mercyful Fate classic. The production on this song is similar to that on Steelbath Suicide, meaning it’s a little bit fuzzier than their other works.
4. “Shadow Child” – This earlier version of this song just doesn’t stack up to the cut that appeared on the A Predator’s Portrait album. It’s recorded with more synth emphasis and the chorus is changed. Instead of that part where the guitarists sing “Lead us…”, you just get “Ohhh…”. The final version of this song is one of my favorites by the band, and as such, I found that a bit underwhelming.
5. “Aardvark Trail” – The live version of this song is just that – a live version. They play it well, but I just don’t think “Aardvark Trail” is one of the better songs off of Steelbath Suicide anyway.
Well that is The Early Chapters in a nutshell. Overall, it’s a pretty pointless release, but the general idea of a band releasing all the hard-to-find bonus tracks is an intriguing one. Like I said, none of these songs are must-haves, but might be of some value to a serious fan of the band.