By now, you all know the rules, but here’s a one phrase recap: New studio records only. Also, like a classic Spinal Tap joke, I went to eleven this year. What can I say, I couldn’t narrow it down farther from that. It happens. Let’s get started.

Nine consecutive weeks on tour with only two days off. For those doing the math, that adds up to sixty-one shows in sixty-three days. That’s the type of grueling tour schedule we’re talking about.

Swedish death metal was a wave. An irresistible force that consumed metal as we knew it, blazing a new trail that left ripples across the entire genre and touched every corner and splinter. In the vanguard of that cascade was Soilwork, a hungry band with an aggressive sound. As the years passed, the wave receded, but Soilwork remains, as strong as ever and on the cusp of the release of their double album "The Living Infinite." We talked with vocalist Bjorn "Speed" Strid on the eve of this release about the spirit of his band, the new album and the fortitude it takes to make a double record.

A double album is one of the riskiest propositions in music.

Wow. I can’t say this is what I expected from Soilwork. Forever titans of the melodic death/extreme/speed metal scene, the last twist I could have anticipated was for the band to release something, dare I say, “pop-y.”

Okay, with all the recent "best [blank] of the decade" going on, I decided it was high time I got involved.