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Album Review: Soilwork - Verkligheten

10 January 2019 | 3:35 pm | Brendan Crabb

"The dozen tracks fuse and balance the strongest facets of recent outings, distilling them into what may be Soilwork's most diverse record in several attempts."

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The first major metal release of 2019 is the ever-reliable Soilwork. Eleven albums in, Verkligheten (“reality”) showcases the Swedish veterans' ongoing knack for crafting brutal, yet infectious gems.

Even with new drummer Bastian Thusgaard - who bruisingly makes his presence known on opening track proper Arrival - on deck, they're a well-honed unit. The guitarists possess more chemistry than a periodic table, and swathes of keyboards add texture. Meanwhile, Bjorn "Speed" Strid's impenetrable vocal cords ensure he remains one of the premier exponents of the bilateral style; a barrel-chested roar expertly contrasted by that smooth, distinctive croon.

The results hit the bullet points fans will demand, without merely recycling past glories. Instead, the dozen tracks fuse and balance the strongest facets of recent outings, distilling them into what may be Soilwork's most diverse record in several attempts. There are melancholic melodies and proggy overtones alongside furious, thrashed-up tempos, blasting beats and stomping grooves, while darker elements mesh with uplifting moments. Nods to straight-up hard-rock and classic metal are evident on Witan and The Nurturing Glance. Elsewhere, Needles & Kin's melodic death-metal attack is boosted by the presence of Tomi Joutsen from Amorphis. Naturally, as is their stock-in-trade, Bleeder Despoiler, The Ageless Whisper and Stalfagel boast hooks the size of Virat Kohli's ego.

Overall, Verkligheten is executed with characteristic self-assurance and songwriting nous.