With relentless touring and a lineup change its very easy to see why Soilwork has been quiet over the past few years. Where many bands might have struggled replacing key members, Soilwork didn’t let lineup changes hinder them, taking their time and filling these spots with equally talented musicians and forging forward with a new album. Following on from 2015’s highly successful The Ride Majestic was going to be a difficult task, but like fish taking to water the band has embraced the task and has finished their latest offering Verkligheten which releases on 11 January 2019. Here at MetalWani.com we have had the privilege of listening to a sneak peek of the album and are here to provide you with our track-by-track first impressions:
Verkligheten: A slow acoustic track that serves as an appetizer for the rest of album. Not much else to say about this one unfortunately.
Arrival: The first actual track on the album and also the first single dropped starts it all off with a bang. A fast-paced melodic anthem that barely slows tempo while enveloping all the best elements of the band into one nicely bundled package.
Bleeder Despoiler: A rollicking track carried by the fury of Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid’s vocals. Pounding drums and balanced guitar harmonies give the verses a relatability, while the slight tonal shift for the chorus as the clean vocals sweep over is a masterful touch. The electronic feel to the instrumental outro creates something different but ultimately effective and unique.
Full Moon Shoals: The second single released and a unique sounding song for this album. Beautifully paced with a mixture of clean and harsh vocals over a simplistic, yet effective song structure that is wrapped together with a beautiful solo and instrumental outro.
The Nurturing Glance: The rock chanting nature of the verses seems a bit abstract for Soilwork, but melds seamlessly and is also offset by the jubilant nature of the chorus. The guitar solo in this song stands proudly as one of the best on the album – and probably Soilwork’s entire catalogue.
When the Universe Spoke: Embracing a melodically dark tone this track swells with energy. Different reverb patterns add interesting layers that compliment the vocal delivery perfectly.
Stalfagel: A mid-tempo romp led by a very prominent drumming pattern and the soothing appeal of Speed’s clean vocals. The guitars don’t play a particularly prominent role until a very encapsulating solo that feels well positioned and seamlessly transitioned in and out of.
The Wolves are Back in Town: Bold track with dark verses that contrast strikingly with the soothing choruses. The song is driven by Bastian Thusgaard’s voracious drumming which compliments the subtle melody produced by the guitar leads. Another song that has a lot of emotion tied into its musical sections, and embraced further in its lyrics.
Witan: The relatively empty musical nature of the verses initially seems like it might lead to an underwhelming song, but that’s all before the bridge and chorus kick in, enveloping the listener in a storm of emotion with immense double kicks and an understated lead riff. It’s an action packed track combining dark, melancholic and uplifting elements all within its 3:48 duration and will probably be a big growing track for the fans.
The Ageless Whisper: Speed showcases his entire vocal range on this one and gives a masterclass in vocal dexterity, while the exuberant and lively guitar, drum and bass pacing give listeners something to continual bang their head in time with, while the electronic interlude provides a great segue into yet another Impressive solo.
Needles and Kin: Savage and unrelenting from its opening note, this harrowing track lays a bleak groundwork off the back of ferocious double kicks and near on death metal sounding guitar riff structures and patterns. Amorphis frontman Tomi Joutsen does an guest vocal appearance on this track and once again Speed shows off vocal diversity, but the lower range seems to be some of the deepest growls he has pulled off. A hidden gem packaged towards the back of the album, but one well worth the wait.
You Aquiver: While sharing some similarities to its preceding track, this song shifts the tempo up and makes great use of its electronic elements before a bombastic and bouncy chorus kicks in. It’s a lively track, and is perfectly situated at the end of the album where a clean vibrato note signals the end of the song — and the record.
So, that was it for our first impressions. Will this be Soilwork’s magnum opus? Will it rival the already amazing legacy of this bands earlier albums that are fondly reminisced about? Only time will tell, but one thing is for certain — Soilwork is back, in very strong form and ready to once again stamp their mark in melodic heavy metal with Verkligheten.