Melodic death metal veterans sound as vibrant and focused as ever!
I've been a fan of Soilwork since 1998's 'Steel Bath Suicide'. Their mix of melodic death metal, heavy metal (and sometimes even hard rock), blast beats, occasional atmospheric keyboards, and especially Strid's powerful clean and harsh vocals have kept them at the head of the pack in the melodic death metal scene for over twenty years now. Whereas a lot of bands tend to change of their style - or even slow down a bit - in a career this long, Soilwork has remained consistent and have even outdone themselves on their 11th studio album, 'Verkligheten'.
Starting with a short intro featuring a slide guitar riff, it's almost like calm before the storm. "Arrival" – just as the title suggests – shows that Soilwork have arrived and they mean business. Rolling right into a blast beat intro with blazing guitar riff that builds right into a classic Gothenburg metal grove. The twin guitar solo in this song is incredible and could be one of their best ever. "Bleeder Despoiler" sounds almost like a Devin Townsend groove before the harsh vocals kick in. My favorite track on the album, "When The Univer Spoke" has all of the Soilwork elements that we've all come to love, but the songwriting is incredible and the vocals (both harsh and clean) stand out as some of Strid's best ever.
The overall sound and production on 'Verkligheten' is crisp and crystal clear and all of the instruments can be heard throughout. I just wish that the mix was a little bit louder. Other than that, this is another excellent album from on of the most active and consistent bands in metal. Easily an early contender for metal album of the year.
Recommended for fans of: In Flames, Dark Tranquility, Sonic Syndicate, Scar Symmetry