Review SOILWORK ‘Övergivenheten’

Melodic death metal from Sweden’s west coast is not just music from Gothenburg. A few hours driving south of Gothenburg is Helsingborg, the home of Soilwork. It all started in 1996 and since then the sextet with frontman Björn Strid has become one of the most established acts of this genre. The debut album ‘Steelbath Suicide’ was followed by ten more releases and a new effort from the Swedes has made its way to the record stores.

Three years after ‘Verkligheten’ follows ‘Övergivenheten’, the twelfth studio album and it seems that the band has taken a liking for Swedish album titles. In contrast to previous albums, the band could go to work without time pressure this time, possibly a factor why the record has with 65 minutes playing time also turned out relatively long.

Musically, Soilwork remain true to their roots without standing still. The six Swedes have never followed the typical principles of melodic death metal. The love for good melodies and also catchy hooks was always strong and became an essential part of the typical Soilwork sound. This gave and gives the band a musical diversity, which is reflected on the new album in its entirety. On the one hand there is the very catchy ‘Nous Sommes La Guerre’. Strid’s clean vocals make the song sound like a heavier The Night Flight Orchestra anthem while the typical blast beats are used in the following ‘Electric Again’.

Nevertheless, the latter song never gets out of hand and never turns into a rough speed rush. The chorus provides a skillfully used counterpart with its melody; a combination which Soilwork perfectly put into scene.

Also worth listening to is the rather moderate tempo ‘Vultures’ while ‘Death, I Hear You Calling’ comes along with a powerful rhythm and some rough edges.

With ‘Morgongåva /Stormfågel’ and ‘The Everlasting Flame’ the Swedes have included two interludes, which are characterized by a nicely singing guitar. More rough it gets with ‘Golgata’ before we slowly approach the end of the record. The grand climax of the record is ‘On the Wings of a Goddess / Through Flaming Sheets of Rain’. With seven minutes, the song has turned out relatively long, but has enough twists and turns to keep up a moment of suspense from beginning to finish. The elemental power of the earlier Soilwork blends with the penchant for good melodic arcs in this epic, ensuring that the song is more than just a successful conclusion to a very entertaining record. In a way, the song also reflects everything Soilwork stands for musically these days.

‘Övergivenheten’ has become an excellent record and substantiates Soilwork’s position in melodic (death) metal. Strid and the band once again manage the balancing act between fast-paced heaviness and good melodies without losing themselves in the process. This album is fun and will block the turntable for a while.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. Övergivenheten
  2. Nous Somme La Guerre
  3. Electric Again
  4. Valleys of Gloam
  5. Is It In Your Darkness
  6. Vultures
  7. Morgongåva/Stormfågel
  8. Death, I Hear You Calling
  9. This Godless Universe
  10. Dreams of Nowhere
  11. The Everlasting Flame
  12. Golgata
  13. Harvest Spine
  14. On The Wings of A Goddess / Through Flaming Sheets Of Rain

Label: August 19th, 2022

Genre: Melodic Death Metal

Release Date EU: August 19th, 2022

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