It was back in 2015 when I checked out a band that I’ve heard of before but never got the chance to really hear. It was just the right time when SOILWORK’S Live In the Heart of Helsinki found me and introduced me to one of the most dynamic bands I’ve ever heard. This time, I had the pleasure to hear this incredible band’s new album Verkligheten (out now, Nuclear Blast Records) and live those musical and emotional changes that very few bands like SOILWORK can create.
Verkligheten is a record that has lots of musical variation in it. Some of them might be experimental and some of them just represent what SOILWORK is all about. The only consistent factor of this new album is the unpredictability, which leads to a hyper level of excitement or an increased level of attention to the work of all the band members. Moving forward with the tracks, my first impression in general was that Verkligheten is good material to listen to in any circumstance. “Verkligheten” has a sound very similar to a Western movie introduction, which leads just fine to “Arrival”, a song that runs engines at capacity and makes it slightly turn away from their melodic essence as a band.
“Bleeder Despoiler” transforms the built energy into headbanging material with relaxing extended notes in the background, almost like an eastern melodic piece, but with some SOILWORK secret special sauce in it. “Full Moon Shoals” is a track that somewhat surprisingly has an acoustic start that slowly transitions into a rock song with some really heavy drums. It’s surprisingly enjoyable song for the pace it holds. “The Nurturing Glance” continues the calmliness that the previous song also established until the heavier guitar takes over to create another short moment of a consistent metal song, which doesn’t necessarily breaks paradigms, but maintains the frame of the album.
“When The Universe Spoke” is a destroyer, introduced by a relaxing melodic piece of art. The alternating sounds between clear and angry vocals as it progresses make this track one of the most dynamic. Next, I absolutely loved the intro of “Stålfågel”; it reminds me of some of the fighting movies from the 1980’s. The chorus is clear and amazing, with a guest collaboration of ARCH ENEMY’s Alissa White-Gluz. “The Wolves Are Back In Town” definitely holds a menacing title. The music is great and the transition between the verses and the chorus is solid. Even though it’s a shorter song compared to the rest, it’s one that I had go back and listen to many times for enjoyment.
“Witan” has a bit of electronic elements, but it doesn’t leave behind the heavy beats that most of us love. It has a great chorus as well, just like many others from the band. “The Ageless Whisper” has an amazing guitar work and it also breaks things up with the first drum blast. “Needles And Kin” definitely shreds. The nasty guitar at the early seconds of the song definitely took me by surprise and changed my facial expression instantly. This song also has a guest in AMORPHIS’ Tomi Joutsen. Finally, “You Aquiver” is a nice finishing for this amazing album. The song contains a fair number of clean vocals without putting their metal essence to the side.
SOILWORK’s Verkligheten is definitely a great album that has lots of different elements in it. It’s another nice job put out by all the band members. Even though this release is the first one put out by the band in quite a while, I can firmly say that the wait was worth it, and now we all have a very nice album to go to whenever we need. I really think this Swedish band deserves more exposure than they get, but I’m glad they’re still out there writing music for them and for us to enjoy. Now, did anybody mention a SOILWORK tour in the United States soon? I think most of us are expecting that too.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Arrival”, “Full Moon Shoals”, “Stålfågel”, “The Wolves Are Back In Town”, “Needles And Kin”