Monday 14 January 2019

Album Review: SOILWORK - Verkligheten

Soilwork - Verkeligheten

01. Verkligheten
02. Arrival
03. Bleeder Despoiler
04. Full Moon Shoals
05. The Nurturing Glance
06. When The Universe Spoke
07. Stålfågel (feat. Alissa White-Gluz [from Arch Enemy])
08. The Wolves Are Back In Town
09. Witan
10. The Ageless Whisper
11. Needles And Kin (feat. Tomi Joutsen [from Amorphis])
12. You Aquiver (feat. Dave Sheldon)

Soilwork are back with this, their 11th studio album, Verkligheten (which means 'Reality' in Swedish). It's their first with new drummer Bastian Thusgaard, as his predecessor Dirk Verbeuren was poached by Megadeth a while back.

I've been into Soilwork for many years now, and while some of their records are better than others, they have never disappointed me. When it comes to Melodic Tech-Metal, Extreme Metal, Metalcore, or whatever label you'd care to pin on them, Soilwork are undisputed masters of their realm.

Verkligheten is a really interesting album. It is still easily identifiable as Soilwork, but certainly explores new territories. There's a multitude of genres of Extreme Metal thrown into the mix, all wonderfully juxtaposed with Björn Strid's clean vocals which bring a refreshing Pop sensibility to the mix, making the songs catchy and injecting them with plenty of character. Björn's savage Metal screams are still very much present and really hit the spot when required. He's been not only one of the best Metal singers for years, but easily one of the most versatile.

The album as a whole is expertly crafted and fortunately devoid of fillers. For that reason, it's very difficult to pick favourites. I'd have to go with The Nurturing Glance with its glorious Accept-esque Classic Metal riffing, the 70's Rock flavoured Stålfågel, which features some amazing soulful vocals from Arch Enemy's Alissa White-Gluz, and the grooving beast that is Bleeder Despoiler. These choices could change tomorrow, as the more I listen to Verkligheten, the more new hooks my ears pick up on.

Soilwork have kicked off 2019 with a monster of an album that encompasses everything that they're known for, but still manages to sound fresh and vital. As a piece of work in its entirety, Verkligheten stands up to any of their previous albums, and, given time, may prove to be their best.


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