Label: Nuclear Blast
Release Date: 08/18/22
Location: Helsingborg, Sweden
Soilwork has changed sounds significantly in the last 27 years, so many times that it’s hard to pin down exactly what they have become. Somewhere between Progressive Metal and Melodeath. While more aggressive previously, their new album Övergivenheten has reduced that aspect. It’s quite a contrast with some of their earlier releases, and that may be a bit jarring for some fans. A different approach does have its benefits however, as cleaner vocals and blistering guitar riffs give way to soaring sing-along choruses and tight melodic hooks.
Soilwork has refined their songwriting down to a perfect science. Each song is an earworm that’s likely to sit in your head for days. With this being their first album written as a six piece since 2013’s The Living Infinite, Soilwork really have moved beyond their roots. In Övergivenheten, they have embraced their progressive side and even brought some traditional folk to the table rather than leaning into their agro, melodeath roots as they have elsewhere.
Björn “Speed” Strid has his influence all over this album as his vocals are at the forefront in almost every song. David Andersson, the newest songwriter in the Soilwork crew, brings his signature guitar work and piano accompaniment to each and every track. To Andersson’s credit, this gives Övergivenheten a cohesiveness that most Soilwork albums lack. Finally, while drummer Bastian Thusgaard is not necessarily a replacement for the great Dirk Verbeuren, his overall musicianship is still tight and impressive.
This album may be divisive among Soilwork fans as it sounds quite different from their traditional sound compared even to just a few albums ago. Prog fans are going to find plenty to enjoy here compared to those who prefer the melodeath elements and aggression which have been toned down. Long-time fans of that aggressive, melodeath sound (especially if you’ve been around since The Chainheart Machine) should approach with an open mind – you may well enjoy it. If you’re new to Soilwork, you’ve picked a fine time to join us.
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