Hey there, and welcome to the first album review of 2019! Hooray!
To kick off what 2019 has to offer, I thought I would start off with a band I’ve never listened to before, so I have chosen to get my teeth into Soilwork’s new album “Verkligheten”, which was unleashed onto the world on 11th January 2019.
Soilwork are a Swedish melodic death metal band who have been around since 1995, releasing 11 studio albums in that time, I’m guessing they’re a great band to follow if you don’t like waiting years for a new album!
After giving the album a few spins, I must say it is a very well put together record and is pretty enjoyable throughout. The album for the most part features a fairly commercialised hard rock sound, utilising guitar riffs that have a distinctive classic rock feel and combining them with some delightfully catchy choruses. Despite its catchy nature there are also some death metal elements present throughout the album, adding an extra layer of brutality and aggressiveness to appease the most ardent head-banger. A great example of this intriguing combination can be found on tracks such as “Bleeder Despoiler” and “Full Moon Shoals”.
However, not all the songs are catchy, and Soilwork do a great job of unleashing the fury on “When The Universe Spoke”, bestowing epic blastbeats and heavy guitar riffing, a real ripping track that will get the blood pumping in your veins. “Arrival” is in pretty similar territory but has a slightly more grandeur character, thanks mostly to an epic & powerful chorus.
The vocal performance’s on this album in particular really impressed me. Vocalist Björn Strid seems to really be able to nail the delivery of both clean and screamed vocals in equal measures. The screamed vocals sound smooth and controlled, used in exactly the right place in the context of the songs and never feel forced. His cleans convey the emotion of the tracks exceptionally well, especially on tracks such as “Witan” and he manages to produce some stunning high notes at the end of “Stålfågel”, probably my favourite song on the album. Alissa White-Gluz of Arch Enemy features as a guest vocalist on this song and the combination of their two styles works brilliantly.
The theme of this album centres around escapism, more specifically escaping from reality to quieten the mind and prepare to go again (Verkligheten is the Swedish translation for “reality”)
The lyrics in the chorus of “The Nurturing Glance” sums up the general mood pretty well…
“As we rise
Seeking shelter from our sins
From the universe within” – Soilwork
Overall, I would say this is a solid offering from Soilwork. I found their use of both classic rock and death metal elements quite interesting and it gives the album a unique personality. The vocal performances were superb, they are a real highlight, along with some of the crushing drumming in the more death metal corners of the album. It’s not the most technical sounding album you’ll ever hear, far from it, but the songs are well written, with all of the pieces fitting together to deliver a consistent listening experience throughout.