Soilwork
Verkligheten


4.0
excellent

Review

by Chamberbelain CONTRIBUTOR (213 Reviews)
January 11th, 2019 | 347 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: 20 years into their career and Soilwork still manage to excel.

You’re either someone who believes Soilwork have always been consistent and haven't truly released a poor album or you’re someone who can’t quite pinpoint in their career when they started exceeding expectations. Arguably, their ‘return to form’ traces back to 2013 when the band daringly decided to release “The Living Infinite”. Amongst founding guitarist Peter Wichers’ many indecisive returns and departures, there was a feeling that Soilwork was merely repeating themselves with each subsequent album prior to “The Living Infinite”. It was an album that challenged the band to challenge themselves. A double album, recorded after the departure of Wichers, at a time when everyone thought they were merely a nostalgia act; all the odds were against them. Revealed as a resounding success, it proved that Soilwork still had more than enough ideas and drive to seem as not only still relevant, but also still be the band that their loyal fanbase will always cherish; something that its successor, “The Ride Majestic”, verified even further.

“Verkligheten”, Swedish for ‘reality’, now faces the unfortunate task of continuing the band’s current upward trajectory. Luckily, the leap that the Swede’s make is even larger than any they have made previously between albums. What distinguishes this vast progression is the small intricacies that subtly decorate their otherwise stereotypical sound. For, at face value, “Verkligheten” appears as nothing more than another great Soilwork album and a logical successor to “The Ride Majestic”. Songs such as “The Nurturing Glance” and “Witan” exhibit the typical mellifluous guitars and lofty vocals Soilwork’s audience has come to expect, however, the songs now have this tangible retro attitude gravitating around them. Once you notice this vintage façade, they crop up everywhere throughout the album. Stabbing NWOBHM guitars in “Full Moon Shoals”, swaggering rhythms in “Bleeder Despoiler” and the not so secretive homage to Thin Lizzy, titled: “The Wolves are Back in Town”. These are traditional Soilwork songs but have been influenced by the classic era of rock and roll where songs simply revolved around playing great riffs and anthemic vocals, much to their benefit.

Structurally, every song on the band’s 11th album is akin to one another as they each feature lively grooves, soaring choruses and a short melodious interlude before exploding with renewed power. Lyrically, there are nods towards the current state of the world and a longing for freedom from an otherwise bleak and formulaic reality that unless focused on particularly, will pass by unnoticed except during Bjorn “Speed” Strid’s climactic choruses. Nevertheless, this petty nit-picking is redundant when the songs themselves are so irresistibly catchy. Both aforementioned attributes apply to tracks such as “When the Universe Spoke” and “You Aquiver” but, honestly, no one is going to be marking down the former when they’re air-guitaring and air-drumming (at the same time if such a thing is possible) and everyone is too busy singing along to the chorus of the latter to moan about its simplistic structure. If the songs weren’t so good, then maybe these things would matter. Thankfully, any aspect of this album that might be considered negative is simply a triviality.

Regardless of diving headfirst into these retro territories, Soilwork has effectively progressed their sound rather than abandoning it by magnifying their newfound focus on operatic cleans, dazzling guitar hooks and frantic drumming. Overall, “Verkligheten” is a wonderful way to start the new year and oversees the band unlocking a sense of potential that has been waiting patiently to be exploited for just shy of the past 10 years. That potential has enabled them to reinstate themselves as a fantastic melodic death metal band that shows no signs of tiring 20 years into their career, and it’s not often that a band this far into their career is capable of returning to their former glory. Looking right at you, In Flames.



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user ratings (251)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Scheumke
January 11th 2019


947 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review mate! So far it feels like they've made one on par with The Ride Majestic in quality. I don't think they've topped the Living Infinite, but that one had the spectacular 'wow they DO still have it' effect.

Digging: Heilung - Futha

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
January 11th 2019


16286 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice to see you back with a bang Chamb, great review.



I moderately liked this on first listen, Nurturing Glance and Stålfågel are my favorite for now but I could see this being a grower.

Digging: Paranoid Void - Literary Math

Chamberbelain
Contributing Reviewer
January 11th 2019


141 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers dude. Spent a long time making drafts for some albums I might have missed last year for #200 but I couldn't make a full review out of them. Anyway, yeah this is awesome.

Atari
Staff Reviewer
January 11th 2019


24689 Comments


I can get down with this artwork

Digging: Telethon - Hard Pop

AgentDeathbat
January 11th 2019


9980 Comments


Definitely not The Living Infinite but a solid ass release nonetheless.

Scheumke
January 11th 2019


947 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Doubting between 4.0 and 4.5. Putting it at 4.5 right now because this album flows very nicely and doesn't have a single filler song on it (maybe Bleeder Despoiler but that's song nr 2 so it's hard to classify that as filler). Excellent start of 2019!

Firedust
January 11th 2019


1176 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Solid album. Not their best, but still very good.



Also lol @ people saying STD is one of the best Soilwork albums. Get your fucking hearing checked.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 11th 2019


9629 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Lol’ing at that In Flames shot.



Great review Chambers, I feel like I can settle on a four four this but I’m not quite getting the same pull I had from The Ride Majestic.

Toondude10
January 11th 2019


13896 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Loved this album. Not as good as their last two but still awesome.



Also:



"It was an album that challenged the band to challenge themselves."



redundant sentence here

ExhaleTheLight
January 11th 2019


1035 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Is it me or do When the Universe Spoke and Needles and Kim have the exact same chorus ?

JS19
January 11th 2019


7224 Comments


Is this band still cheesy af

Digging: Dinosaur Pile-Up - Celebrity Mansions

McTime50
January 11th 2019


867 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Never listened to melo death before but this s l a p s

Digging: Prince Daddy and The Hyena - Cosmic Thrill Seekers

McTime50
January 11th 2019


867 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

a friend just told me this reminds him of dragon force lol

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
January 11th 2019


16286 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheesier than ever.

McTime50
January 11th 2019


867 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheese is good sometimes.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
January 11th 2019


16286 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I 5'd the last Ghost.

Scheumke
January 11th 2019


947 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Define cheese, 'cus I've never seen Soilwork as a particularly cheesy band.

frozencarl
January 11th 2019


711 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

melodeath is cheesy to people that dont listen to melodeath

Digging: Eternal Autumn - The Werewolf Diaries

DungeonBoy
January 11th 2019


6209 Comments


"Define cheese, 'cus I've never seen Soilwork as a particularly cheesy band."

all I gotta say to that is, "Tick-tock, time to die"..

Digging: Andavald - Undir Skyggarhaldi

ProjectFreak
January 11th 2019


3755 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Never listened to melo death before but this s l a p s"



get yourself to their last two albums, The Ride Majestic and The Living Infinite, you're going to have a great time



great review Chamb, I hope this lives up to the hype. I don't listen to a ton of melodeath but I love the last two Soilwork albums quite a bit



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