Review Summary: If you go into this album, not expecting it to be a sequel to any of their previous releases, you will be thoroughly impressed. It includes the chaos that has always been there, and it has new elements that do nothing but improve their sound.
After listening to Soilwork's first album, it's hard to believe that they've evolved so much over the years. Their first two albums Steelbath Suicide
and The Chainheart Machine
were fairly heavily influenced by other Swedish death metal acts. The following release saw the inclusion of clean vocals, changing their sound into a somewhat more melodeath sound (or god forbid, metalcore. The 4th release sounded almost industrial, the inclusion of Devin Townsend's vocals in some songs further increased the noticeable influence from the genre. The following albums kept the influences they had Natural Born Chaos, but started to become more melodic. Their newest album Sworn to a Great Divide
seems to follow this trend only somewhat. The 2007 release from Soilwork has kept the melody and upped the intensity to a point that is near their first 2 releases.
Sworn to a Great Divide
may not be a great album, but it has something for everyone. The first track of the album starts off with some heavily distorted guitar work by Daniel Antonsson(who replaced founding member Peter Wichers after he left in late 2005) and Sylvain Coudret, while Ola Flink(bass), Dirk Verbeuren(drums), and Sven Karlsson(keyboards) slowly add themselves in, adding to the intensity of the increasing buildup, until finally we're greeted with the familiar vocal stylings of Björn "Speed" Strid. The remainder of the song is an in-your-face combination of Speed's great vocal range and the chaotic, yet melodic mix of every instrument. The following track, Exile
starts off similarly to the first, albeit it's much more melodic. Speed sings for the majority of this song, breaking into screams only to build up intensity moments before the chorus. The album seems to follow this pattern for 2 more tracks until you are hit in the balls by The Pittsburgh Syndrome
. This song is a nearly 3 minute long blast-from-the-past. There is no singing(however, there is either layered, or gang vocals during the chorus, I couldn't really tell which one it actually was) there is nearly no melody, and there is tons of fun for all of you nostalgiafags who miss what they were like in their earlier days.
Now skipping ahead a few songs to the 7th track, Light Discovering Darkness
, we are greeted with another nearly entirely melodic song that even has some post-metal influences, proving that Soilwork is not afraid to continue experimenting with their sound and pushing the limits of every album in their past. While Sworn to a Great Divide
may not break any new ground, it does manage to make more use of elements that have continuously been underutilized in previous releases and is definitely worth checking out.