Soilwork
Overgivenheten


3.6
great

Review

by Robert Garland STAFF
August 22nd, 2022 | 211 replies


Release Date: 2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: No abandonment here.

Soilwork has been on an affable run since their 2013 effort, The Living Infinite, but long-time fans now have to acknowledge that the Soilwork that produced the likes of A Predator’s Portrait and Stabbing The Drama is somewhat detached from the modern day persona. It’s a thought that cuts both ways, especially given that some of the band’s more illustrious modern albums arguably stand well above the nostalgic memory banks of Soilwork’s once premiere back catalogue. While this Swedish metal powerhouse might be a few scant years away from three decades in the business, Övergivenheten has again shifted on Soilwork’s formula, creating an identifiable evolution in style when compared especially to the two records before it. The maturation of sound is to be expected, especially with the point at the top of this review. In short, Soilwork aren’t the same band that would churn out stylistic self plagiarism. No, Övergivenheten is the natural progression of a band well-versed in doing what they’ve done for twenty-six years.

With that in mind, Soilwork’s focus on melody isn’t a strange concept for die-hard fans, but here everything has been dialled up and inflected with clear folk leanings. Extra acoustic guitars and keyboards all flesh out the band’s more progressive arena rock tendencies and are not quite removed from the melodic death metal roots from which all Soilwork music stems. It’s where Övergivenheten’s strengths come into play. In focusing less on a contrasting dichotomy, balancing the heavier riff-laden sections and screams with bombastic, soaring chorus lines, Soilwork’s new music emotionally lifts above the din. Harmonies don’t just bulk out the record; they complete it. Never before has Soilwork sounded so focused on clear harmonies and clean vocal progressions.

Bjorn “Speed” Strid’s vocal range is on show from the introductory, titular title track. A war cry punches out of “Övergivenheten” in a way few modern day melodic death metal bands could emulate, while the main riff harmony screams head-banging enjoyment from the get-go. The track’s chorus responds to Bjorn’s massive cry, bringing the theme full circle before “Nous Sommes La Guerre” lightens the mood for a Stabbing The Drama inspired (and aptly named) “Electric Again”. On the other end of the scale, tracks like “Dreams Of Nowhere” which blast a combination of classic Soilwork aesthetic, endless melody and accessible sung chorus lines sneak into the psyche. These tracks might not be as memorable as The Ride Majestic’s title track or “Death In General” but in 2022 they’re just as musically powerful and prevalent in the band’s wider scope. “Golgata” is a mosh monster utilising thrash-y grooves against Bjorn’s now standard use of rough shouts and glossy cleans. Even the jarred riffs that counterweight the guitar solo seemingly blend from furious rompers into fluffy pillows to which notes can bounce off. “Golgata” eventually circles back to the furor and range, earmarking the eventual closing sections to come.

What holds Övergivenheten back, even if only marginally is the new album’s length. By easily surpassing the hour mark, Soilwork’s work ethic at times feels aimless in a sea of similarity. Not because Övergivenheten sounds too similar to the numerous Soilwork references that come before it, but because there’s simply too much here. I’d even argue that a couple tracks here would make a tidy EP. Because of that some cuts will resonate more loudly with the fans firmly entrenched in the band’s earlier works while others will appreciate the more melodic free flow sound aesthetics born post-Sworn To a Great Divide fifteen years ago. Most of this issue could be addressed simply by peeling away some of the belly fat. But from where? By themselves these tracks stand and deliver. “Vultures” rapid riff aesthetic swells into some gorgeous vocal melodies. “Death, I Hear You Calling” may have a slightly plodding introductory and verse section, but the track’s hook is quite possibly the year’s catchiest earworm—setting a hook, the line and sinker. Even the record’s deeper tracks all redeem individually. “Dreams Of Nowhere” soars more melodically than most of the songs before it and yet it’s somehow buried under the weight of the album’s overall run time. Perhaps if Övergivenheten had been split into two halves the fatigue factor would be nullified. Even an instrumental like “Morgongåva / Stormfågel” doesn’t allow the listener a moment to recollect, breathe in or out and its guitar melodies simply push through one ear and out the other. I digress, because there’s a lot going on here.

It’s a shame that Övergivenheten is a little over-cooked and over ambitious, because there’s quite a lot to take away from a veteran metal band mellowing gracefully into what’s probably the later stages of their career. Sure, we’ve established that Soilwork aren’t the same band churning out thrashing melodic death metal bangers in the early 2000s, nor are they producing the same type of metal that signalled their rise to fame later that same decade. Övergivenheten is just another shift in the timeline for a band not willing to submit to autopilot without divorcing their melodic death metal roots.



Recent reviews by this author
Cognizance PhantazeinSarmat Determined To Strike
Thy Catafalque AlföldEsoctrilihum Astraal Constellations of the Majickal Zodiac
Blindfolded and Led to the Woods Rejecting ObliterationImpetuous Ritual Iniquitous Barbarik Synthesis
user ratings (171)
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
TerraIncognita (3.5)
Soilwork's most ambitious, melodic, and diverse album since The Living Infinite....



Comments:Add a Comment 
Pikazilla
August 22nd 2022


29796 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Death I Hear You Calling, Is It In Your Darkness, and This Godless Universe are among the worst songs this band has ever written



Title track on this is just a poor man's TRM t/t with dialled-down dynamics



Basically, get the last three tracks and ignore the rest, yeah

ConfusedCat
August 22nd 2022


2 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I mean it's a good album, as expected given their track record. But still doesn't reach "The Living Infinite" 's heights for me.

Pikazilla
August 22nd 2022


29796 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Nothing does, it's their best album

StormChaser
August 22nd 2022


2122 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

here comes Pika with the worst takes again



nice review

Muzz79
August 22nd 2022


3069 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Opener and last 3 yep

EvoHavok
August 22nd 2022


8082 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The reception to the album is somewhat more divisive that I anticipated, but I'm loving it.

Sweet write-up, too.

StormChaser
August 22nd 2022


2122 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah ridiculous to hate that song

Flugmorph
August 22nd 2022


34299 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

fantastic review. think you captured their drive for constant evolution pretty perfectly here. thanks for the meal!

Pikazilla
August 22nd 2022


29796 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Yeah aside from Bjorn, they are essentially a different band now

Toondude10
August 22nd 2022


15186 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I like Death, I Hear You Calling honestly, not the best song sure but it's catchy as fuck

Flugmorph
August 22nd 2022


34299 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I like Death, I Hear You Calling honestly, not the best song sure but it's catchy as fuck [2]

Flugmorph
August 22nd 2022


34299 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

nah those are better

Toondude10
August 22nd 2022


15186 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

easily the best MDM album this year

Flugmorph
August 22nd 2022


34299 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

yeah, arch enemy and the halo effect have also dropped great records but i can't see myself returning to those records as often as this one

Toondude10
August 22nd 2022


15186 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

didn't like Halo Effect that much lmao



idk maybe I should give that record another chance but I don't have any desire to return to it

Flugmorph
August 22nd 2022


34299 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

yeah i also found it bland on first listen but strangely completely changed my opinion on it after a few more spins, its really solid oldschool gothenburg goodness.

Project
August 22nd 2022


5832 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I agree that there's more variety than past Soilwork but none of the variety is done in a particularly interesting way IMO



I do agree the length really, really hurts this

Itwasthatwas
August 22nd 2022


3177 Comments


TLI and TRM really had a perfect blend of their old school metal sensibilities and the modern focus on more uplifting major and modal melodies and the gradual movement away from percussive palm muted riffs into more mobile and dexterous guitar lines. On the last one they kind of ramped up this 80s arena rock type of influence, which was ok but not my thing.

Here the heavier metal elements almost feel like anachronisms that they feel they have to incorporate. I’d almost rather they totally drop the vestigial elements and embrace a totally new vision, the way it is I feel like it comes across as a bit of a lazy mix of the types of stuff these guys like to jam stitched together.

The other thing here, and it might be a weird comparison, is that Bjorn is suffering from Michael Romeo syndrome. Romeo would play the most boring riff 8 million times to satisfy some idea of song structure and then unleash some of the craziest lead parts when it was time to shine. Bjorn has that feeling of kind of going through the motions in some of the verses. Also a sense you get with a lot of older rock and metal singers where they’re trying to sing a more technically sound to preserve their voice but lose some of the emotion.

Good but not enough to come back to often I think

Project
August 22nd 2022


5832 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

"I’d almost rather they totally drop the vestigial elements and embrace a totally new vision"



that band exists and it's the Night Flight Orchestra

heck
August 22nd 2022


7102 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

although the lines are starting to blur at this point.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2023 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy