SOILWORK — Övergivenheten (review)

SOILWORK — Övergivenheten album cover Album · 2022 · Melodic Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
UMUR
"Övergivenheten" is the twelfth full-length studio album by Swedish melodic death metal act Soilwork. The album was released through Nuclear Blast in August 2022. It´s the successor to "Verkligheten" from 2019 although the two full-length studio albums are bridged by the 2020 "A Whisp of the Atlantic" EP. There´s been one lineup change since "Verkligheten" (2019) as bassist Taylor Nordberg has been replaced by Rasmus Ehrnborn (guitarist David Andersson recorded the bass on "A Whisp of the Atlantic" (2020).

If anyone had hopes that the progressive songwriting of "A Whisp of the Atlantic" (2020) would be continued on "Övergivenheten", they will be left disappointed (although closing track "On the Wings of a Goddess Through Flaming Sheets of Rain" does feature a slightly more adventurous songwriting approach than the remaining tracks on the album). Instead Soilwork have opted for the most melodic, accessible, and at times even mainstream oritented songwriting of their career. Of course there are still elements of death metal here and there, and lead vocalist Björn "Speed" Strid can still scream out his lungs and occassionally deliver a death metal growl, but he sings a lot of clean vocals here, and arguably a few more than usual. It´s not so much the vocal part of the music which has changed though, but more the overall songwriting approach. Sometimes to a point where it sounds like Soilwork are in the process of preparing to enter the Eurovision contest. That´s how catchy, melodic, and polished some of these tracks are. It´s sometimes to a point where it´s sounds like it´s leftover material written for Strid and Andersson´s AOR rock band The Night Flight Orchestra, put through the melodic death metal grinder.

Any Soilwork album deserves to be listened to and only judged after several listens, because they are usually deceivingly accessible and polished, but underneath that polish there are layers of sophisticated harmonies, melodies, choir arrangements, and just a generally high level songwriting approach. "Övergivenheten" is no different from it´s direct predecessors in that respect. Soilwork have maybe gone a little too much overboard with the glitter and polish on this one, considering that two of them already have The Night Flight Orchestra to explore more accessible and melodic musical territories, and I do miss a little more raw power and aggression, but on the other hand it´s impossible not to be floored by how catchy these songs are.

"Övergivenheten" features a well sounding production job, although my ears don´t always agree with the drum production. It´s a purely subjective observation though, and nothing which affects my rating too much. The musicianship is on a high level on all posts and if you think you can enjoy and album´s worth of the most accessible and mainstream oriented version of Soilwork, "Övergivenheten" will give you just that in a high quality fashion. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.
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Tupan wrote:
2 months ago
Yes, I was expecting some full prog assault too, but to be honest... This album is amazing the way it is!

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