REVIEW: "Verkligheten" By SOILWORK (Melodeath)
Melodic Death Metal/Nuclear Blast Records/Released Jan 11, 2019
Coming off the longest break between albums, Soilwork has returned with an absolute banger of a record. Verkligheten covers a lot of sonic ground from the band’s trademark melodeath, to black metal, to classic heavy metal, to hints of symphonic metal. Lead single “Stalfagel”, which singer Bjorn Strid described as an “extreme metal “Turbo Lover” , exemplifies this experimentation with it being a fully melodic track. Straightforward and relatively simple in composition with a soaring chorus that harks back to the days of arena filling 80’s metal.
Early track “Arrival” holds driving melodeath verses that seamlessly lead into a melodic pre-chorus. All before a chorus with black metal tremolo picking and blast beats with the twist of melodic vocals on top. “Bleeder Despoiler” is one of the heavier, darker tracks that leans more towards groove rather than complex instrumentation. With plenty of fun headbanging riffs throughout. “Witan” ventures into gothic metal territory with a hauntingly melodic main riff that anchors the track. And provides another unique vibe on an already diverse album in its latter half.
This diversity of material is held together by quality songwriting where there’s always something new and interesting to come on the next track. Yet never feels jarring or out of place. The arrangements are deceptively simple and thanks to Bjorn “Speed” Strid’s skill of both melodic and aggressive vocals, the tracks are easy to get into but remain entertaining on repeat listens. Skillful enough for the underground die hards. But accessible enough for extreme metal newcomers. With little in the way of weakness, Verkligheten is easily 2019’s first contender for album of the year.