Considering this process, adjoined by their prior release, Soilwork’s recent album comprises quite a small surprise. As could be easily prophesied according to the obvious evolvement in the Swedish Metal scene, this band, which based their career on fulfilling the potential bound within a flourishing trend by producing, when established, a high-quality product of the already famed and followed Guthenborg-oriented Metal, has made this time a giant step, not to say dive, towards the populistic pseudo-Metal musical terittories.
The change in Soilwork’s approach is undoubted and nearly total. They don’t totter on the edge here (perhaps this stage could be traced on their previous release); they unregretably plunge into the depths of the horrifying Pop-Metal limbo. Most of the songs on the album feature an absolute MTV- adjusted Pop/Rock structure, while the Death Metal elements, in the shape of some vocal shoutings and growls, as well as Deathy musical phrases, are only imbeded within the overall mainstream construction, which lacks any of the true dunamics, turbulence, and constructural tension characterizing truely essential Death Metal. Soilwork have completely strayed of the Underground path, lamely trying to maintain the disintegrating memory of it in the shape of allegedly violent outbursts.
Furthermore, another defect is yet to be mentioned. The band doesn’t only incorporate an increasing dosage of commerciality in their music: they also don’t do it very well. Like some Progressive Rock bands trying to play Pop (Best example that comes to mind is latter era of Gentle Giant), it seems they hadn’t yet mastered their new earthly ocuppation. Most of the clean vocal parts present boring, stalled, unnecessary worn melodical ideas in a mediocre way. The degredation doesn’t only appear in the conceptual level, but also in the implementing one.
Still, Soilwork must be praised for the actuall quality of their still-existing Metal presentation: I believe that the band’s playing is their stronger and tighter to date. The separate aggressive musical segments are very well done: some of the twin guitar work and rhythmical ideas reach brilliancy t times, and the guitar solos are creative, interesting and furiously technical. Nevertheless, I don’t find these positive features compensating for the overall approach taken on the album.
Also, yet another certain kind comfort might still be made available for Soilwork fans: the band had never deserved to be taken ver much seriously, hadn’t it? It did supply us with numerous pieces of binding, enjoyable melodic aggression. Still, I believe that their work had always been inclined to be a source entertaiment and fun, more than thorough, meaningful art. Therefore, there isn’t too much to grieve when the band issues a definitely commercial, entertainment-oriented effort. One can say they have just gone a bit further this time.
Ovreall, If you aren’t too bothered by the populistic ideas and failing performance of some of them, this might be a nice invigorating feature for long drowsy car rides. Not much more than that.
- Follow The Hollow
- As We Speak
- The Flameout
- Natural Born Chaos
- The Bringer
- Black Star Deceiver
- Mercury Shadow
- No More Angels
- Soilworker’s Song Of The Damned