There is so much wrong with this band and album. There is so much right with the band’s monicker, album title and artwork.
Most importantly this band and its members have no idea what metal is. The band members fantasize being “thrash” and “death” and “grindcore” and “black metal” etc., but they neither are any of those nor do they show an affinity to any subgenre whatsoever. First however, one could call this ‘cold shower’ music. To put it plainly this is a band that can play interludes of very impressive metal – just listen to opener Hour Of The Wolf or Hand That’s Dealt – only to absolutely insist on stopping to add a lame pop, jazz, lounge, whatever minute of the aforementioned to make sure no metal fan derives any enjoyment from the song. One second the song is bobbing forward with metallic intensity only for the next minute to comprise of boring acoustic strumming with some background synthesized nonsense. One more thing, dubs and spoken word intros are clichéd and beyond redundant. Too bad really; this band could cut it if it were serious and would not wimp out at the oh frightening thought of having an actual metal piece of music longer than sixty seconds.
Speaking of metal, here we go again kiddies (Dimmu Borgir fans cover your eyes): grindcore requires blast beasts, down-tuned guitars and crashing hi-hats. Death metal is the subgenre of metal that sings the praises of ‘death’ and yup Soilwork is not death metal. Black metal is the domain of metal bands that worship and support evil and Satan, et cetra. Now that we have shocked 95% of the so-called scene we can revert back to our trio at hand whose musical capability exceeds its sense. Planets Like Chess Pieces – whose title reminds one of something Rush could have come up with – shows again that the band is capable in small bursts but soon tires out and takes the wimpy way out.
It is not all wrong however. The band’s name is absolutely correct. One Step Beyond accurately describes the band’s style or desirability. ‘The Music Of Chance’ is also appropriate given how the gang delivers anything and everything at a moment’s notice leaving the listener with too little and too much simultaneously. The artwork is also right. Firstly, there is the cover model who is encompassed in a … harp… and is blind to see what she is doing. Each track has its lyrics printed on its own page complete with a related illustration. The effort is there. Sadly, the music is not – or rather was and is not anymore. – Ali “The Metallian”


One Step Beyond