SOILWORK mine classic metal for the im­pos­si­bleto-pro­nounce Verk­ligheten.

Verk­ligheten NU­CLEAR BLAST Melodeath vet­er­ans draw in­spi­ra­tion from rock’s glory days

Metal Hammer (UK) - - Contents -

EvEr sincE thEir 1998 de­but, Soilwork have grad­u­ally been build­ing up their sta­tus as melodic death metal’s old re­li­able. In the 21 years be­tween Steel­bath Sui­cide and Verk­ligheten, Swe­den’s hyper-har­monic he­roes have un­leashed a reg­u­lar caval­cade of al­bums, with each land­ing some­where on the spec­trum be­tween ‘good’ and ‘great’. Sub­tly, new hooks like met­al­core-in­spired vo­cals and ham­mer­ing grooves have be­come more and more prom­i­nent, just enough to make each new re­lease feel fa­mil­iar, but still exciting.

Verk­ligheten con­tin­ues this pro­gres­sion. How­ever, in­stead of tak­ing the usual one step for­ward, it feels like the quin­tet have long-jumped 15 feet. While other melodeath al­bums cap­ture the sound of an ex­treme band at­tempt­ing to ap­pro­pri­ate cer­tain NWOBHM hall­marks, Verk­ligheten is what would hap­pen if Van Halen made death metal. A plethora of mo­ments are 100% classic rock, like the AC/DC swag­ger of Bleeder De­spoiler, the bluesy grit of Age­less Whis­per’s open­ing and the not-so-sub­tle Thin Lizzy love let­ter, The Wolves Are Back In Town. Stålfågel is the mid­way apoth­e­o­sis of Verk­ligheten’s old-school ten­den­cies, dom­i­nated by synths and near-uni­ver­sally clean singing be­fore con­clud­ing on a Rob Hal­ford-es­que wail.

De­spite these ad­ven­tures into far more vin­tage ter­ri­tory, diehard Soilwork loy­al­ists shouldn’t be ap­pre­hen­sive. The en­er­getic power and catch­i­ness that many fans have fallen for re­main and are, if any­thing, am­pli­fied by a new­found em­pha­sis on op­er­atic cleans, stomp­ing drums and vir­tu­oso gui­tars. By shift­ing tone while still main­tain­ing their mu­sic’s same in­trin­sic plea­sures, Soilwork have made a mas­ter­class in how a metal band should adapt their sound. Yes, Verk­ligheten is rather dif­fer­ent to any of their al­bums be­fore it, but it’s far from a be­trayal of their roots. If any­thing, it’s the dawn of a promis­ing new chap­ter.

FOR FANS OF: Dark Tran­quil­lity, Triv­ium, Saxon

ADAM REES

Guys, you’re creep­ing out the ticket in­spec­tor

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