ALBUM REVIEW: Soilwork – Övergivenheten


 

Whilst being long-term veterans and a pinnacle force of Swedish melodic death metal, recent years have shown to be quite a turning point for Soilwork. 2019’s Verkligheten was arguably both the band’s strongest album for some time and their most well-received.

Following this, 2020’s Whisp Of The Atlantic, whilst an EP release, showcased a greater ambition in their songwriting than before, being both exploratory and as hook-laden as has come to be expected. Whilst perhaps unfair to call this period a resurgence for the band, however, it is an exciting one that sees the new album Övergivenheten (Nuclear Blast) giving the most confident and bold sounding version of Soilwork to date.

The title track opens, commencing with a gradual build before the band hit the ground running with sudden, instant pace alongside Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid’s erupting, bellowing vocals. At the chorus, the song hits typical stride; instantaneous and towering.

As the album progresses, the band manages to showcase their various elements throughout so strongly and fluidly with one another. Following the opening track, ‘Nous Sommes La Guerre’ feels particularly reminiscent of The Night Flight Orchestra (of which Soilwork shares several band members and would be remiss to acknowledge in this album’s influence) with a Scorpions like opening riff, along with the accompanying woman’s spoken word passage in its introduction and its prominent synths throughout. In contrast, ‘Is It In Your Darkness’ firmly showcases their melodic death metal roots, replete with sheer pace, particularly in the drums alongside guitar lines that range from thrashy and melodic.

On initial plays it’s at this mid-point of ‘Vultures’ where, whilst being far from a bad song, doesn’t quite seem to have the steam the first half had at this point. This feeling quickly subsides with the brace of the foot-tapping ‘Death, I Hear You Calling’, the surprisingly visceral ‘This Godless Universe’ and recent single ‘Dreams Of Nowhere’, which might well just be the most infectious and euphoric song of their career so far.

The increased ambition of in depth song writing that was showcases on Whisp Of The Atlantic comes forth on album closer ‘In The Wings Of A Goddess / Through Flaming Sheets of Rain’ which adds a few shifts throughout its seven-plus minute duration, from hypnotic passages to several changes of pace and dynamics within.

Over their storied career, Soilwork have had some high peaks in quality and have otherwise been, at the very least, a very dependable act which have in recent years seen a boost in attention in popularity. Even with this in mind, the sheer quality and anthemic immediacy of this album shows and, thus the elation it creates is beyond expectation.

Övergivenheten is the sound of a band with a seemingly renewed conviction which, in a kind world, should elevate them even further and to greater status than before.

Buy the album here: https://bfan.link/SoilworkAlbum.yde

 

9 / 10

CHRIS TIPPELL