Soilwork were the first band that achieved something I would have never thought possible. When I listened to "Black Star Deceiver" in 2002 on a CD in the Rock Hard magazine for the first time (that appeared on "Natural Born Chaos" shortly after that), I was haunted by the song in my dreams. Seriously, I woke up from humming the chorus in my sleep. It was like coming to the surface while you're diving in a deep blue sea. "Figure Number Five" was one of my all time favorite records. When "Stabbing The Drama" and "Sworn To A Great Divide" didn't overwhelm me, I lost track of the band (similar to many metal bands, as you can read in my blog post about Amorphis).
But I couldn't escape all the buzz that kept showing up on social media before "Verkligheten" (that's Swedish for "Reality") was released. And now that the album is out, I'm delighted that I'm caught in a Metal Flashback right now - because the timing couldn't be better. "Verkligheten" is heavy, melodic, epic, furious - everything you want a a metal album to be.
The band had to deal with a lot of setbacks in the past, from line-up changes to personal stuff. Therefore it's excellent to see them releasing a record that unites all of the strengths that Soilwork have been known for since they put out their debut "Steelbath Suicide" in 1998. The mix between raging verses with growls and clean vocals in the chorus is one trademark of the band that shaped melodic death metal equally as In Flames or Dark Tranquillity. I think "Verkligheten" could be the best record since "Figure Number Five". While songs like "The Nurturing Glance" have incredible chorus melodies, they clearly show the evolution the band has gone through since then. The album reflects influences that range from Black Metal (the blast speed drums in "Arrival" and "When The Universe Spoke") to futuristic rock sounds a la The Sword ("Stålfågel"). In "Needles And Kin", singer Björn "Speed" Strid is supported by Amorphis vocalist Tomi Joutsen. It will be awesome to see them on stage in two weeks! The eleventh studio album by Soilwork is a statement that proves you can evolve, keep your characteristic style, survive hardships and amaze your fans with new music just as much as you could with albums that are deemd classics meanwhile.
Now if you excuse me. I'll have to deal with my neighbours. "What? Sorry, I can't hear you complaining. Soilwork are too loud for me to hear you."
"Verkligheten" by Soilwork was released on Friday, January 11th via Nuclear Blast. Here you can see the video for "Stålfågel".