Soilwork Verkligheten CD Review
Nuclear Blast Records
Melodic Death Metal
Soilwork have been plugging away at the melodic death metal scene for over 20 years now and during this course, the band have released some excellent work. Yet in 2017, for long-standing drummer Dirk Verbeuren, the rotating drum stool in Megadeth once again became available causing Verbeuren to take his place with Dave Mustaine and co. This caused a delay in Soilwork being able to capitalise on their 2015 warmly received ‘The Ride Majestic’ album whilst the band searched for a new sticksman before arriving upon Blood Label drummer Bastian Thusgaard. With Thusgaard in place, Soilwork began work on what would become their latest album ‘Verkligheten’.
‘Verkligheten’ continues Soilwork’s move away from a standard melodic death metal approach and into an overall more melodic approach that incorporates elements of metalcore and groove metal in with more pop sensibilities that have definitely made the band more accessible over the last few releases. Regardless of this evolution in sound, the pop and metal overtones intertwine with some excellent guitar and drum work; yet it is the vocals of vocalist Björn Strid which have always helped Soilwork stand out and without this, tracks such as ‘Arrival’, ‘When the Universe Spoke’ and ‘The Wolves Are Back in Town’ would just not be as strong. Furthermore, these songs provide a meaty backbone for guest musicians such as Alissa White-Gluz (‘Stålfågel’) of Arch Enemy, Tomi Joutsen (‘Needles and Kin’) Amorphis to expand on the already instantly recognisable Soilwork sound. However, there is nothing on ‘Verkligheten’ which hasn’t already been heard on any of the band’s recent output, but instead of being repetitive, Soilwork have the amazing way of making their music continuously interesting and endearing.
As an album ‘Verkligheten’ will not shock or overly impress anyone, but neither of those statements really do this album justice and the latest Soilwork may be better than average; but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable and with it ‘Verkligheten’ adds another decent album to the repertoire of Soilwork.
MHF Magazine/Adam McCann