Always one of the busiest men in metal, Björn “Speed” Strid slowed down this week long enough to talk about the release of the Soilwork‘s epic new double album “The Living Infinite“. It is the band’s ninth studio effort and the first to feature new guitarist David Andersson.
Soilwork, which also includes Ola Flink (bass), Sven Karlsson (keyboards), Sylvain Coudret (guitar) and Dirk Verbeuren (drums) head out this week on a mammoth North American tour with Jeff Loomis, Blackguard, Bonded By Blood and Hatchet. Verbeuren will pull double duty on several dates sitting behind the kit for Jeff Loomis as well.
“The Living Infinite” is an intriguing and thought-provoking album title. It’s a title Björn has had in mind for some time, but what is it about and what does it mean to him?
“Well ‘The Living Infinite‘ comes from how Jules Verne– He was describing the ocean and I thought that was really a cool description. Since the album deals with a lot of existential thoughts and matters, I thought that was kind of a cool title for it. I kind of connect the ocean to a lot of existential things. I was growing up by the ocean and I still live by the ocean. So I don’t know. It just makes me think a lot looking out over the ocean so that’s why we kind of had that connection to the lyrical theme and also with the title. And with the cover which is pretty oceanic and nautical looking.”
Strid opted to make it”The Living Infinite” a double album to sort of challenge the band and bring forth the songwriting talents of the entire group. It appeared to be extremely important to Björn make that happen.
“Absolutely.” stated Strid. “It is pretty cool that the whole band has been involved. It’s really a band effort. Every member of this band has contributed with lyrics and songwriting, which is pretty unique I would say. In the metal genre it’s usually two or three people writing the songs and that’s it. It’s pretty remarkable that we’ve been able to put this beast of an album, and a double album, as a band, together. And I think we needed to do that because we wanted the diversity in the album as well. Because of the diversity it doesn’t really get boring.”
Guitarist David Anderson has filled in on guitar for founder Peter Wichers the last few years, but with Wichers’ permanent departure, Anderson took on the role full time, and “The Living Infinite” is his first album with the band. I asked Björn how that impacted the album.
“I think he brought a lot of interesting things to the table. He really wanted to bring back some of the melancholy that we had on the three or four first albums. I think we lost that after a while. That was something he was pinpointing that he missed in our music. he didn’t really have to adjust or adapt to writing Soilwork songs. It was really a natural thing for him. I think it was pretty easy for him to get into the Soilwork mood. It’s pretty close to his heart.”
Check out the full interview with Björn below. Get his take on the new record, the “Rise Above the Sentiment” video, his vocal cameos and other projects, read our review of “The Living Infinite“, and learn about some of the metal albums that continue to motivate him.
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Rustyn Rose is a veteran music journalist who owns and operates Metalholic Magazine and Metalholic Radio.