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 ·
Kev Rowland
There is no doubt that Björn "Speed" Strid and his band of merry men have changed direction since they first started, yet that has never been enough for Strid who has also launched The Night Flight Orchestra, as well as being involved in other projects. It has got to the point that I am not always sure what to expect from Soilwork, but whatever that was, it wasn’t this. The reason for that comment is that here we find Soilwork pushing themselves way into prog metal on the title cut of this EP. The five songs include one which is just under four minutes in length, three which are more than five, and then the opening title cut which is over 16!

There is no doubt that this is the highlight of the set, with keyboard player Sven Karlsson being able to have a much larger impact on proceedings, with some lovely rippling piano as well as the over-the-top synth lines he is more well known for, while the rest of the guys take the opportunity to really rip when the time is right. They have yet to bring in a bassist, so David Andersson is again doubling up on bass and guitar, and there is a passage where he takes a bass lead and is joined by a flugelhorn which is an absolute delight. But, when it is time for him and Sylvain Coudret to get down and nasty they hit the riffs with aplomb. It would also be wrong not to make a mention of drummer Bastian Thusgaard who has been challenged to provide the support for multiple sections in a song which keeps morphing and changing throughout. Then at the front we have Björn, who spends most of his time in this song singing melodically, but also throwing in the growls we know so well, and even the odd scream. The result is something which is an absolute highlight of their lengthy career to date. They have never been afraid of changing their musical approach and challenging their audience, but to jump so overtly into prog takes a certain mindset as one can almost guarantee that many progheads will not welcome this intrusion onto their turf.

The rest of the songs do seem somewhat less after the opener, as although they are solid Soilwork numbers they just do not stand up to the sheer breadth and depth of the opener, and consequently the EP feels somewhat lopsided. “Feverish” is the highlight, with great singing from Strid, superb drums, and a consolidated concentrated approach. The question now is whether or not this EP is a stepping sound to a new Soilwork, or just an experiment, and they will revert to the tried and tested. I only hope they decided that ‘A Whisp of the Atlantic” is the right way to move forward. Only time will tell.
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Tupan wrote:
38 days ago
I am hoping they make a full prog melodeath album next time!

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