Written by Alex Stojanovic
Full Moon Shoals
The Nurturing Glance
When The Universe Spoke
The Wolves Are Back In Town
The Ageless Whisper
Needles & Kin
Release Date: January 11, 2019
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Bjorn Strid - Vocals / Sven Karlsson - Keyboards / Sylvain Coudret - Rhythm guitars / David Andersson - Lead guitars
Bastian Thusgaard - Drums / Taylor Nordberg - Bass
If you were a little skeptical about the album because Dirk Verbeuren is no longer on drums, no need to let your skepticism grow because newcomer Bastian Thusgaard still delivers blistering performances, and knows exactly the parts that the heavy songs and the melodic songs need to make each of them stand out. The formula of screaming verses and melodic choruses can run its course after a while, but Soilwork were wise about mixing it up with some songs including almost all screams, some with mostly cleans and a handful of screams, and vice versa on both fronts.
The one thing about the album that may turn off some old-schoolers is the fact that there's more than a few moments where the band heads into more traditional metal territory with straightforward riffs, but the songs don't lose their intensity because the double-bass and the screams are still there giving the songs the punch that will keep the listener enticed. If you already heard the singles "Full Moon Shoals" and "Stalfagel", you'll get a few more tracks in that vein. Examples would be "The Ageless Whisper" and "The Nurturing Glance", while "Stalfagel" is the most melodic track on the album. At the same time, fear not because the heavier tracks are still here like "Arrival" and "Needles & Kin".
The closer "You Aquiver" might divide the camps a bit because it has potential to receive some radio play and appeal to the casual radio-rock listener who enjoys some metal as well, but don't let that deceive you, because the screams are still present. The only flaw to be found on the entire album is the instrumental opening title track. To me, it just kind of feels out of place, and it doesn't manage to give off the vibe of anticipation like a short instrumental opening track should. If that track was left off the album, and it just started off with "Arrival", I would've been cool with that.
Verkligheten continues to move Soilwork's sound forward all while tipping their hats off to the past. Some of the die-hard fans who prefer the old albums more might not embrace it fully, but if you're one who enjoyed the albums since Sword To A Great Divide, or all of the band's albums, Verkligheten is another album in the Soilwork discography that's as sharp as a knife with fantastic production, memorable melodies, huge riffs and hooks, and amazing songs overall.
Highs: "Arrival", "Full Moon Shoals", "Stalfagel", "The Ageless Whisper", "Needles & Kin".
Lows: The instrumental opening title track could've been left off.
Final Rating: 9/10
| || |