Record Reviews

Album review: Soilwork “Verkligheten”

Soilwork’s sound keeps evolving while still being built around a combination of melodic rock and rather brutal metal. The new album “Verkligheten” is another masterpiece.

Since the last album, 2015’s terrific “The Ride Majestic”, Soilwork has lost drummer Dirk Verbeuren to Megadeth. But Dirk left Soilwork a departing gift by recommending the young drummer Bastian Thusgaard as his replacement. It sounds like that was a perfect replacement for the seemingly irreplaceable Dirk. Originally a Swedish band, Soilwork is now more of a European band consisting of Björn “Speed” Strid (vocals), Sven Karlsson (keyboards), Sylvain Coudret (guitar) and David Andersson (guitar and bass), in addition to drummer Thusgaard. “Verkligheten” is the band’s eleventh full-length studio album since being founded in 1995. 

Soilwork remains a tasty combination of great melodies and brutality. But the sound keeps evolving with new twists and turns. On tracks such as “Full Moon Shoals”, “Stålfågel” and “The Nurturing Glance”, some of the vibes of The Night Flight Orchestra (the classic rock band which includes some of Soilwork’s members as well as Sharlee D’Angelo from Arch Enemy) are shining through. This is more brutal, but the beautiful melodies are present in both bands. Essentially Soilwork has a classic rock foundation and then there is an overlay of brutality added to the mix on most songs. One of my favourite tracks on the album is “The Wolves Are Back in Town”, which sounds as if it comes straight from “The Ride Majestic” sessions. Glorious! On “Needles and Kin”, Amorphis’ powerful vocalist Tomi Joutsen provides splendid guest vocals. In addition to the album’s twelve tracks, there is a bonus EP called “Underworld” featuring the songs “Summerburned and Winterblown”, “In This Master’s Tale”, “The Undying Eye” and the original version of “Needles and Kin”. I dig it. This is good stuff. Modern, relevant metal where brutality does not mean you have to get rid of beautiful melodies and where it’s OK to use plenty of keyboards.

Soilwork’s new album “Verkligheten” is out today via Nuclear Blast internationally and via Ward Records in Japan.