I promised myself I would try to get through this review without dropping the N-word… ya know Anders Jakobson’s former musical digs. But fuck it, that’s the only reason anyone would have to be mildly curious about Coldworker’s facelss and forgettable second album.
From the artwork through the songwriting, Coldworker seem to be doing everything backwards. Though they churn out a solid mix of death metal and grindcore, the songwriting lacks even the rudimentary hooks that made The Contaminated Void a decent if only occasional listen. There are no hummable “Return to Ashes” or “They Crawl Inside Me Uninvited” style songs to be found here with the possible exception of “Citizens of the Cyclopean Maze,” a pinch harmonic, fluid solo frenzy that breaks up the otherwise faceless blast blast blast, chug chug chug dynamic of Rotting Paradise. It’s all executed solidly and decently produced – from an array of studios across Sweden. Which may be part of the problem because the band doesn’t seem to be on the same page and according to the production credits, were hardly ever in the same room.
Even the art fails to play to the band’s strengths, coming across as ill chosen and derivative. Relapse’s in house visionary, Orion Landau, who crafted the stunning multilayered art for the band’s debut, is back but his best mangled, rotted and eroded images evoke Pig Destroyer rather than creating a unique identity for Coldworker. And his best work is shoved inside the packaging, which is graced with a Job For a Cowboy-lite goatheaded gigolo who looks like an extra from that awful Omen remake.
While it’s good to see Jakobson back in the saddle following his long time songwriting partner’s tragic death, Coldworker’s uninspired mix of classic Swedish death and American “-tion” assault just isn’t enough to reinvigorate a well tread scene the way Nasum (there I’ve said it) kicked grind in the ass. Bands like Cattle Decapitation and Misery Index are confidently working the same territory with much better results and Coldworker just don’t do enough new to hang in a badly worn scene.