Ahead of the release of Soilwork’s 11th Studio album Verkligheten, Metal Wani caught up with vocalist Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid to have an in depth discussion about the album. The discussion covers a range of topics including musical influences, the inception and meaning of the album name, the different stylistic approaches taken on the album, how the band has managed to endure constant line-up changes, and much more.
When asked about the concept of Verkligheten and its meaning to the band, Speed reflects back to where the band arrived at the idea to pursue an album with this title “ David put the idea a few years ago ‘we should totally name an album Verkligheten, and at the time it seemed sort of weird, but it sort of marinated for a couple of years and we picked it back up again, and especially with this record that has so much Swedish melancholy written all over it, especially with the melodies, it seemed like the perfect title”.
Musically speaking, Verkligheten is a statement from Soilwork, and one which might be considered abstract or outside the box for the melodic maestro’s and their core fanbase. But the album is also a musically diverse offering, which Speed assures was a product of just getting down to business and wasn’t a conscious choice made when writing the record ‘We always aim to surprise ourselves and our fans, and I think that’s why we make so much sense today, you know we aren’t trying to recreate albums, we’re always developing but there’s always that theme running through our songwriting”.
When questions are raised about the guitarwork on the album, Speed is happy to discuss how Verkligheten was written by himself and lead guitarist David Andersson “This one was just me and David, which was not planned at all. Normally Sven and Sylvain would write some songs but they never really came up with anything. It’s been really interesting to me to write a song from scratch instead of just getting the demos and adding the vocals and the lyrics”.
The conversation then covers line-up changes, something that Soilwork has been all too familiar with in their two–decade long career, and how the inclusion of drummer Bastian Thusgaard has helped shape the sound on Verkligheten.
Shifting to Speed’s vocal delivery, the discussion analyses how Speed’s voice has matured over the past few years from being growl oriented to transitioning towards a more balanced overall delivery. Speed acknowledges that his work with The Night Flight Orchestra has helped influence his vocal techniques moving forward.
The conversation then covers Speed’s thoughts about working with renowned producer Thomas ‘Plec’ Johansson and how his influence was felt during the creation of the album. They then discuss whether or not the band received any assistance from the Swedish Government during their formative years in light of recent comments made by fellow Swedish band At The Gates, before closing out by discussing the band’s upcoming tour plans in 2019 in support of Verkligheten.