SOILWORK

Melodic Death Metal • Sweden
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Soilwork is a swedish melodic death metal band formed in late 1995, originally under the name Inferior Breed in Helsingborg, Sweden. In 1996, they changed their name to Soilwork to better fit their new sound. Their unique sound is a fusion of the classic gothenburg metal sound with power-groove riffs of late 1970s, early 1980s British, and European metal, but in their most recent albums they have also introduced elements from American alternative metal and adopted a more melodic attitude. Their most recent work has more singing and lighter melodies than their earlier work, as well as a more polished production that brings out the strength of the drums.

In 2005, the band began to gain minor commercial success in the United States. Stabbing the Drama reached #12 and #21 on the Billboard Heatseeker and Independent album charts, respectively. They played the 2005 Ozzfest alongside gothenburg melodic death metal band
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VerklighetenVerkligheten
Nuclear Blast 2019
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The Ride MajesticThe Ride Majestic
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Death ResonanceDeath Resonance
BACK ON BLACK 2019
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Stabbing The Drama (Ltd. Ed. Digi)Stabbing The Drama (Ltd. Ed. Digi)
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BACK ON BLACK 2019
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SOILWORK Discography

SOILWORK albums / top albums

SOILWORK Steelbath Suicide album cover 3.95 | 7 ratings
Steelbath Suicide
Melodic Death Metal 1998
SOILWORK The Chainheart Machine album cover 4.00 | 7 ratings
The Chainheart Machine
Melodic Death Metal 2000
SOILWORK A Predator's Portrait album cover 3.79 | 10 ratings
A Predator's Portrait
Melodic Death Metal 2001
SOILWORK Natural Born Chaos album cover 3.75 | 8 ratings
Natural Born Chaos
Melodic Death Metal 2002
SOILWORK Figure Number Five album cover 3.25 | 6 ratings
Figure Number Five
Melodic Death Metal 2003
SOILWORK Stabbing the Drama album cover 3.09 | 8 ratings
Stabbing the Drama
Melodic Death Metal 2005
SOILWORK Sworn to a Great Divide album cover 3.75 | 6 ratings
Sworn to a Great Divide
Melodic Death Metal 2007
SOILWORK The Panic Broadcast album cover 3.94 | 9 ratings
The Panic Broadcast
Melodic Death Metal 2010
SOILWORK The Living Infinite album cover 4.32 | 14 ratings
The Living Infinite
Melodic Death Metal 2013
SOILWORK The Ride Majestic album cover 4.32 | 9 ratings
The Ride Majestic
Melodic Death Metal 2015
SOILWORK Verkligheten album cover 4.28 | 8 ratings
Verkligheten
Melodic Death Metal 2019

SOILWORK EPs & splits

SOILWORK The Early Chapters album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Early Chapters
Melodic Death Metal 2003
SOILWORK Beyond the Infinite album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Beyond the Infinite
Melodic Death Metal 2014

SOILWORK live albums

SOILWORK demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

SOILWORK re-issues & compilations

SOILWORK The Sledgehammer Files album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Sledgehammer Files
Melodic Death Metal 2010
SOILWORK Death Resonance album cover 4.00 | 4 ratings
Death Resonance
Melodic Death Metal 2016

SOILWORK singles (4)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Rejection Role
Melodic Death Metal 2003
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Stabbing the Drama
Melodic Death Metal 2005
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Light the Torch
Melodic Death Metal 2006
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Exile
Melodic Death Metal 2007

SOILWORK movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

SOILWORK Reviews

SOILWORK Verkligheten

Album · 2019 · Melodic Death Metal
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Kev Rowland
Since the previous album, 2015’s ‘The Ride Majestic’, the band have not only released a collection of rarities in 2016’s ‘Death Resonance’ but have also managed to misplace their rhythm section. Given just how important that backbone has been to the band, and with drummer Dirk Verbeuren having been the incumbent for so many years, it was always going to be a hard job in finding the right replacements, but drummer Bastian Thusgaard and bassist Taylor Nordberg sound as if they are right at home. Part of the reason is that Soilwork are Soilwork, they don’t try to be anything different to what they have been for most of their twenty years, so it is a case of slotting in and finding ways to hone and polish that little bit more.

That polish really comes through on tracks like “Full Moon Shoals” which is a great example of the whole album as there are times when it is complex and incredibly heavy, times when it is rough, and then there are almost poptastic vocals over the top with harmonies which never sound as if they are coming from a band who are happiest in front of a stack of Marshalls prowling the stage. Is that “Ooohs” I hear Strid crooning? Surely not. There are some introductions which make one think that possibly they have morphed into symphonic hard rock, especially with the piano playing such a key part, right up to the point when someone flicks a switch and all hell breaks loose. This band have long since stopped trying to please critics and instead are consistently providing the gigs. “The Nurturing Glance” is an absolute show stopper, and when Thusgaard gets the double bass drums pedals going and locks in with Nordberg while Sylvain Coudret and David Andersson blasting it out, there is a very small gap for keyboard player Sven Karlsson to make his presence felt and it is left for Björn "Speed" Strid to rise above it all. The combination of musicality, metal, hooks and stunning vocals are what make Soilwork what they are, one of the very finest bands to ever come out of Sweden.

“Verkligheten” is the Swedish word for reality, and the band state this album is their attempt to try and go somewhere else, to express all those things that are born in between hypnagogic states and frenzies of hyperrealism. I’m not too sure of the last bit, but I do know that the guys are back with a bang and another amazing album.

SOILWORK Death Resonance

Boxset / Compilation · 2016 · Melodic Death Metal
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Kev Rowland
This 2016 album is a compilation of material stretching back as 2005, so in many ways is a bookend for drummer Dirk Verbeuren as he joined just prior to the beginning of this material and left afterwards as this is the last Soilwork to feature him. This isn’t a straightforward compilation featuring a ”best of”, but instead contains two new songs plus thirteen remastered versions of some which may not be easily obtainable to the fan. This includes the whole of the 2014 ‘Beyond The Infinite’ EP (which rather interestingly is here in exactly the same order as the original release, tracks 4-8), plus others which were released as bonus tracks (often in Japan) from the albums ‘Stabbing the Drama’ (2005), ‘Sworn to a Great Divide’ (2007), ‘The Panic Broadcast’ (2010) and ‘The Ride Majestic’ (2015). Something which is also interesting is that the compilation works in chronological order, so the new tracks are at the beginning, and then it works back in time, so it ends with the oldest. I’ve not seen a compilation put together like this, and it is really refreshing and normally everything is jumbled up, so the listener gets different styles, recording levels and quality all over the place – but here one is taken on a journey back into Soilwork’s past.

The sound is great throughout, and one can understand the desire to release this compilation as it is an incredibly solid album in its own right. It is also interesting to hear how in some ways the band has changed its approach since the early days, yet in others their musical path was already set by the time this collection starts (‘Stabbing The Drama’ was their sixth album after all) and they have continued down the same furrow ever since. Unlike some bands who have moved out of the melodic death genre into something quite unmentionable, and there are a few, Soilwork have doubled down and know what they are going to achieve under that name. If they want to do something different then they form a project instead of changing what this band is about, and the result is a consistency which many others would love to be able to achieve. In many ways this collection is for those who already have the other albums, but unlike many rarities compilations is also worth getting in its own right and fans will do far more than just play this once and put it back on the shelf. Given these were bonus cuts for the most part, so didn’t make it to the original album, that is some achievement.

SOILWORK The Ride Majestic

Album · 2015 · Melodic Death Metal
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Kev Rowland
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 ties 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 put 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.

SOILWORK Verkligheten

Album · 2019 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"Verkligheten" (which is the Swedish word for "Reality") is the 11th full-length studio album by Swedish metal act Soilwork. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in January 2019. It´s the successor to "The Ride Majestic" from 2015, although the 2016 compilation album "Death Resonance" bridges the gap between the two album releases. There have been two lineup changes since "The Ride Majestic (2015)" as drummer Dirk Verbeuren has left to join Megadeth and has been replaced by Bastian Thusgaard and bassist Markus Wibom has been replaced by Taylor Nordberg.

Stylistically "Verkligheten" is the sound of Soilwork through and through. Melodic death metal in the most accessible and polished end of the scale. Labelling the music death metal is sometimes actually a bit misleading, although there definitely are some pretty hard edged and even semi-brutal moments on the album (but they are few and far between). Other parts are so catchy and accessible though that we are closer to pop/rock melodic territory than we are to metal and there are also several of the riffs and rhythms on the album which are hard rock and heavy metal influenced rather than death and thrash metal oriented. Soilwork are however incredibly skilled composers who are able to combine all the sounds and influences into a sound that is unmistakably their own.

If you´re familiar with any of the predecing releases (maybe except for the first two which are harder edged), it´ll take you two seconds after lead vocalist Björn "Speed" Strid sings his first words, to identify that it is Soilwork you are listening to. While remaining relatively consistent Soilwork have still managed to develop and refine their sound over the years and continue to do so on "Verkligheten".

There are several standout tracks on the album and only a couple of quality "fillers". Highlights to my ears are tracks like the powerful "Arrival", "Bleeder Despoiler" (the start/stop riffs throughout the song are really great), and the ultra melodic "Full Moon Shoals" (where Strid reaches a new level of melodic excellence), but "Stålfågel" (which features some very well delivered clean female vocals by Alissa White-Gluz from Arch Enemy), the hard edged "The Wolves Are Back in Town", and the closing "You Aquiver" are also tracks which stand out.

"Verkligheten" also features a top notch sound production, and upon conclusion it´s yet another high quality release by Soilwork. It´s quite frankly amazing they are able to continue releasing albums of this quality and what is even more amazing is that they are still capable of challenging themselves as songwriters while still maintaining a signature sound this far into their career. Soilwork are one of those artists where lineup changes haven´t always been a bad thing, as the lineup changes have often meant that the band have been able to take their music in different directions (in small steps). Always under the musical guidance of Strid though which has ensured continuety. A 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is deserved.

SOILWORK A Predator's Portrait

Album · 2001 · Melodic Death Metal
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UMUR
"A Predator´s Portrait" is the 3rd full-length studio album by Swedish melodic death metal act Soilwork. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in February 2001. It´s the successor to "The Chainheart Machine" from 2000 and features the exact same lineup who recorded the predecessor.

The material on "A Predator´s Portrait" are melodic and pretty polished melodic death metal with thrashy riffing. The polished sound is very much due to the omnipresent keyboards, which add a lot of depth and atmosphere to the sound but also take away a little of the savage power of the first two albums. Every possible space in the music is filled with background keyboards and the music is often not given much time to breathe (which is up to the ears that hear if that is a good or a bad feature). So the listener is treated to a wall of sound type of soundscape. The guitars play some relatively fast melodic thrashy riffing and even enters neo-classical territory at times. There are some pretty impressive sections here and there if you take a close listen. Lead vocalist Björn Strid handles both aggressive high pitched snarling vocals and clean vocals too. Strid is a skilled singer and his clean vocal delivery adds lots of melodic memorability to the tracks. "A Predator´s Portrait" is the first Soilwork album where he combine his raw vocals with singing clean vocals (having exclusively performed raw vocals on the first two albums), and although he would develop his clean vocal style on subsequent releases, his performance here is of high quality too.

Highligts to my ears are "Like the Average Stalker", "Neurotica Rampage", "Grand Failure Anthem", and the title track (the rerecording of "Shadowchild" from the Japanese/reissue version of "The Chainheart Machine (2000)" is also worth a mention), but all tracks are almost on an equally high quality level. Some tracks are a bit too formulaic and predictable and a bit more rawness and less polish could also have elevated the album to a higher level, but all in all "A Preditor´s Portrait" is a quality product. The sound production is professional and the performances are high class all around, so upon conclusion "A Predator´s Portrait" is another high quality release by Soilwork and because of the inclusion of clean vocals an important step in the development of the band´s sound. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

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