Soilwork must be consistently one of the finest bands to come out of the melodic death scene, and this 2015 album saw them somehow managing to provide a worthy successor to 2013’s awesome double album release ‘The Living Infinite’. Considering both singer Björn “Speed” Strid and guitarist David Andersson also released an album as part of The Night Flight Orchestra in the same year, that is some achievement. As had been the case since 2004, the band were driven along from the back by Dirk Verbeuren, a drummer who always reminds me of Gene Hoglan in the way he shapes the sound in the way he approaches proceedings. If I were a bassist, I would be terrified of having to stay with him as Dirk shifts so many times in what he is doing. This was to be the last album with Dirk as he toured with Megadeth following this and ended up joining Mustaine and his merry crew as a permanent member, but he left behind him one of his finest performance’s in the Soilwork drumseat.
Strid is, well he’s Strid. He has a truly amazing voice and stage presence, and somehow, he manages to channel that aggression inside the studio as well as playing live – he must be bouncing off the walls when he records. He has really strong baritone and is much more than “just” a death-style singer and rarely gets very gruff and growly but prefers to sing with an edge with his voice although there are times when he lets his true power shine through. This use of light and shade, combined with music which does the same, which often includes catchy and memorable hooks without ever losing the over the top attack make Soilwork a very special band indeed. It is loud and heavy enough for the metalhead to lose every spot of dandruff and work themselves into a mosh pit stupor, yet there is also plenty for those who like to sit back and watch everyone else work themselves into fever pitch.
Soilwork have been one of my favourite bands in the genre for many years, and this album just re-emphasises the point. If you haven’t already come across this, and I am fully aware it has already been out for a number of years, then you owe it to your ears to do so.