SOILWORK — The Ride Majestic (review)

SOILWORK — The Ride Majestic album cover Album · 2015 · Melodic Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
"The Ride Majestic" is the 10th full-length studio album by Swedish metal act Soilwork. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in August 2015. It´s the successor to the double album "The Living Infinite" from 2013, although the "Beyond the Infinite (2014)" EP does bridge the gap between the two album releases. The lineup from the last album is intact.

Following up the hugely successful "The Living Infinite (2013)", must have been a daunting task, but with Soilwork you just know that they are up for the job. And "The Ride Majestic" doesn´t disappoint if you enjoyed "The Living Infinite (2013)", as it more or less continues down the same melodic extreme metal path as the predecessor did. Energetic and powerful rhythms, heavy and faster paced guitar riffs, melodic guitar solos and lead themes, atmosphere enhancing keyboards (nice production detail letting the listener hear what the keyboards contribute with in the closing minute of "Enemies In Fidelity"), and Björn "Speed" Strid´s shouting/screaming- and clean vocals in front. Soilwork writes incredibly melodic and hook laden material, that sometimes borders pop accessibility (just take a listen to tracks like "Death In General" or "Enemies In Fidelity" for proof of that), but they balance the sweetness with some relatively hard edged riffs, fast and powerful drumming (even occasional blast beats), and Strid´s harsh vocals. An example of the more hard edged material that is also found on the album is the dark and fast paced "The Phantom", which to my ears is one of the highlights of the album.

The musicianship is on a high level on all posts, and you are not in doubt that these six guys are seasoned musicians. Strid is always worth a mention for his strong voice and passionate delivery, but the whole band are tight playing and performs with conviction and great skill. "The Ride Majestic" is well produced too and features a powerful and clear sounding production, which brings out the best in the music.

Featuring 11 tracks and a full playing time of 49:50 minutes, "The Ride Majestic" is overall a more easily accessible album than "The Living Infinite (2013)". While it´s not my personal opinion, I know some listeners found the double album format a little overlong, and for those listeners "The Ride Majestic" is probably more to their tastes. I can´t say I think there´s been much development in sound since the predecessor, but there are still some of Strid´s clean vocal melodies which catch me a bit off guard, and that slight "surprise" element is still enough to set this album apart from it´s predecessors and to prevent the band´s core style from growing stale. A 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is deserved.
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