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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Soilwork - The Panic Broadcast

Melodic Metal's Favorite Underdogs.

Soilwork is a melodic metal band from Sweden. Soilwork began in the mid-90s as an industrial tinged death metal band and growing into a band that is one of the most respected in the melo-death genre. This new album marks the return of former guitarist Peter Wichers who left after their 2005 album, "Stabbing The Drama."
This album is really what many would describe as a mix of the newer, "Stabbing The Drama"-era Soilwork, with earlier, "A Predator's Portrait"-era, styles. This album contains the very melodic choruses and structures, but also a lot more aggressive and technical riffs and drumming than on newer releases. The mix of the two is really one of the few times a band has actually managed to do successfully, mixing their older work with their newer.
Guitarists Peter Wichers and Sylvain Coudret (Scarve) bring together more technical and more progressive influences to make this one of Soilwork's most diverse albums. From the aggressive melodic death tracks, Late For The Kill, Early For The Slaughter and Deliverance Is Mine, to straight melodic metal songs, Two Lives Worth of Reckoning and Let This River Flow, they manage to pull off both flawlessly. Those progressive moments really shine through on tracks like Epitome or Enter Dog of Pavlov the most, with slower riffs and more variation in the songs being much more apparent.
A lot of people have expressed concerns for the growing use of more modern alt. metal and metalcore influences into the band's sound in recent years, this album won't change their mind about the influence, but will turn their heads none the less. The band themselves mentioned that they were aware of the demand for more aggressive songs that had more in common with their older material, and this album partly delivers on that. Older fans of the band will certainly be likely to listen to this album more than the last couple.
Vocalist Bjorn "Speed" Strid never fails on his part, remaining one of the best vocalists out there right now. Tracks like Night Comes Clean and The Akuma Afterglow really makes use of his diversity, but that is really just one out of many that does. His cleans are very versatile while his growls and screams seem to have become a bit more aggressive than on the last few records. Bjorn seems to be one of the few vocalists whose range seems to improve with each release.
This album could really be divided into two sections, both containing 5 tracks. The first half of the album is going to please the band's older fan base much more, early tracks on the album are melodic, but are also the most aggressive on the album. The second half of the album is much more experimental for the band, using more tempo variation and a lot more clean vocals; while this half might not appease the fans of the first half, these songs are probably some of the most catchy the band have ever written.
Overall, this is a great album with a lot of variety in it. This is definitely Soilwork's best release since their 2002 breakthrough album, "Natural Born Chaos." People that like soaring hooks, catchy guitar riffs, and variation with songs, this is one to check out.
Overall Score: 8.5
Highlights: Two Lives Worth of Reckoning, Let This River Flow, Enter Dog of Pavolv

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