SOILWORK — A Whisp of the Atlantic (review)

SOILWORK — A Whisp of the Atlantic album cover EP · 2020 · Melodic Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
UMUR
"A Whisp Of The Atlantic" is an EP release by Swedish metal act Soilwork. The EP was released through Nuclear Blast in December 2020. It´s the follow-up release to the band´s 11th full-length studio album "Verkligheten" from January 2019, although the "Underworld" EP from June 2019 bridges the gap between the two releases. There has been one lineup change since the release of "Verkligheten (2019)" as bassist Taylor Nordberg has left. He has not been replaced here and the bass parts are therefore recorded by guitarist David Andersson. "A Whisp Of The Atlantic" features 5 tracks and total playing time of 36:52 minutes, which makes it longer than some album releases although it´s labelled an EP, so there is a lot of quantity for the money (I´ll get to the quality a little later).

Stylistically Soilwork play a melodic death metal/heavy metal style, featuring intricate melodic lead- and harmony guitar lines, an energetic and powerful playing rhythm section, atmosphere enchancing keyboards, and Björn "Speed" Strid´s raw snarling vocals and clean vocals complimenting each other. What sets the EP apart from other Soilwork releases is predominantly the song length and progressive structure of the 16:31 minutes long title track. This is something completely new in the world of Soilwork, which is a band where most tracks feature a rather formulaic vers/chorus structure and it´s definitely a breath of fresh air to hear them try something new. They´ve dipped their toes in progressive territories a few times before in the past, but never to this extent and definitely not with a long track like "A Whisp Of The Atlantic".

This could easily have been a forced attempt at creating a long progressive track, but fortunately Soilwork have managed to write a greatly intriguing composition, with many different sections, atmospheres, tempo changes, and even excursions into completely different musical territories like the semi-jazzy part on the track and the use of instruments like cello and flugelhorn. The remaining four tracks on the EP are also very well written compositions. "The Nothingness and the Devil" features an infectious melodic heavy metal riff and memorable vocal melodies and "Feverish" is also quite the brilliant track. I like the way they play blastbeats while Strid sings a melodic clean vocal line. The contrast of fast-paced brutality and melodic sweetness works perfectly. To my ears "Desperado" and "Death Diviner" are less interesting tracks. They are still high quality compositions, but they don´t stand out as much, and when you know what Soilwork can produce when they set their mind to it, I´m afraid those two tracks come off a little more standard in quality. Standard quality in the world of Soilwork is still way above what most other artists are able to produce on their best days mind you...so this is ultimately a minor critique.

"A Whisp Of The Atlantic" features a clear, powerful, and detailed sound production, which does exactly what the best sound productions are meant to do...enchance the listening experience and make the material shine. So upon conclusion "A Whisp Of The Atlantic" is yet another high quality release by Soilwork and the band successfully manage to further develop on their signature sound here, which is a great sign for an experienced act like Soilwork. No stagnation in sight here. It actually feels like something new is about to happen. A shift of gears or musical approach maybe. I´m excited, and I hope Soilwork don´t blow this chance to broaden their musical horizon and experiment with their sound on the next releases. Because what they have done here is certainly promising. A 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is deserved.
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Nightfly wrote:
15 days ago
Need to give this a proper listen. Had a quick skim through it and intital impressions were good. Usually enjoy most of their stuff.
UMUR wrote:
17 days ago
Yeah it´s definitely as if a change is about to happen.
Tupan wrote:
17 days ago
This albums is amazing, not only the main track but all the others too. I think you're right, they are flirting with prog sounds lately, who knows what gonna happen next?

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