Soilwork return with their 11th studio album, the band’s first in more than three years. Verkligheten is the first to feature Bastian Thusgaard on drums, who replaced Dirk Verbeuren in 2016 after moving to a Megadeth shaped pasture. Since forming in 1995, Soilwork have not had an easy ride but they have continued to deliver and evolve, although it has been stated that
“We are not young anymore, and our reality these days is the hellhounds on our tails, the ghosts in our subconscious and the coldness of existence that starts eating at your soul the very day that you leave the womb. We can no longer escape the fact that we’re vulnerable to the shortcomings of life itself.”
Unlike previous releases, Verkligheten is the first titled in Swedish and translates as the word for reality, ‘the entity that we’re all trying to escape from. Verkligheten is our attempt to try and go somewhere else, to express all those things that are born in between hypnagogic states and frenzies of hyperrealism.’
Björn ‘Speed’ Strid (founding member- vocals) and David Andersson (from 2012, lead guitar) wrote the album tracks for Verkligheten Probably because they felt the pressure of Verkligheten, aching to burst from their tortured insides.
Effectively this album envelops escapism as Soilwork evolve from melodic death metal into a more radio-friendly version but without losing their core sound.
Verkligheten opens this release and it’s a haunting, melodic atmospheric acoustic number before we are hit with the bombastic Arrival. This was the first single released from Verkligheten and is fairly fast paced melodic anthem certain to rouse even the most docile of crowds. The guitarwork is sublime in this powerful track. Bleeder Despoiler slows the pace slightly into a groove that you cannot help banging your head to. The percussion is outstanding, those were mammoth shoes Bastian Thusgaard was expected to fill and his precision and style works very well indeed. The second single Full Moon Shoals is up next and it’s a glorious beast. Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid’s vocals are at their cleanest here and while it may be slightly reminiscent of his other offerings in The Night Flight Orchestra, we are certainly not in AOR territory.
The Nurturing Glance is equally anthemic, it’s an incredibly catchy earworm and the delivery is superb. When The Universe Spoke is a heavier affair complete with growls and screams. Stålfågel (Steel bird in Swedish) has a similar groove and feel as the opening riff of The Thrill. It’s powerful with an incredibly catchy chorus, which is just as well as the track is quite heavy on the chorus. It differs slightly from the previously released version and features Alissa White-Gluz of Arch Enemy.
The Wolves Are Back In Town is a melodic and heavy romp while Witan pares back the sound for a sparse melancholic feel before an explosive bridge and chorus pushes all of the buttons taking the track into ferocious overdrive. The Ageless Whisper has a truly epic feel, not just from the length of the track and it’s a masterclass in contemporary metal. Needles And Kin featuring Tomi Joutsen from label mates and soon to be tour buddies Amorphis is a savage assault and the percussion is relentless. Punishing. Brutal. Brilliant.
You Aquiver closes the album on an energetic and upbeat high. Cheaper than a holiday, this was a delightful escape with Soilwork.
The limited first edition of the CD version of the album will feature different special artwork (see above) with a lavish foil print and will include 4 more tracks. The first edition digipack, as well as the vinyl versions, will also contain the exclusive ‘Underworld’ EP, containing 4 more songs (see tracklist below).
- Bleeder Despoiler
- Full Moon Shoals
- The Nurturing Glance
- When The Universe Spoke
- The Wolves Are Back In Town
- The Ageless Whisper
- Needles And Kin (feat. Tomi Joutsen)
- You Aquiver
Underworld Bonus EP
- Summerburned And Winterblown
- In This Master’s Tale
- The Undying Eye
- Needles And Kin (original version)
Coinciding with the release of Verkligheten, the band will embark on an extensive European co-headlining tour with label mates Amorphis (whose singer, Tomi Joutsen, is also featured as a guest on the song Needles And Kin).
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