Sweden’s Soilwork are a band that have been around since 1995 and in that time they have released eight albums in the melodic death metal genre. They’ve become stalwarts of the genre, extremely well known and accessible to a wide range of people through their roots being firmly planted in the Gothenburg scene. While being one of the frontrunners of that particular sound; along with In Flames over time they have faced difficulties in continuously creating compelling music. Soilwork are a band who epitomize the phrase “hit and miss”. When they hit, they hit hard, but unfortunately as they’ve gotten older they’ve been know to miss more often than not.
Considering this, I was originally pretty surprised and apprehensive when Soilwork announced that their next album (their ninth) will in fact be a double release. I imagine that announcement was enough to raise a few eyebrows. While it’s rare that an entire Soilwork album is worthy of consumption, often a few songs stand out, so it could be argued that the band are hedging their bets. More songs equals a higher chance of some of them being good.
To compare, their last album The Panic Broadcast (released in June 2010), was seen as a real return to form for the band, who had been languishing since their guitarist Peter Wichers left the band in 2005. The Panic Broadcast saw his return, and with it seemingly came a huge breath of fresh air and a swift kick to a band who were previously struggling under their own weight. However, earlier this year Peter Wichers has left the band again, citing creative differences as the reason behind the split. While that is an incredibly vague term and can be in reference to a variety of different things, from the outside it didn’t necessarily bode well for a band that were seemingly revived by his presence.
In essence, Soilwork have a lot to prove with this release, and so far they’ve done a damn fine job of allaying my fears by releasing a new track called “The Spectrum Of Eternity“. Check it out below:
The track starts with, what can best be described as a “fake out” – the short mellow keyboard section at the start of the song serves to lull the listener into a false sense of security and familiarity, before suddenly kicking into a blistering assault. We’re greeted with aggressive (but somewhat thin) guitar lines, a devastating pig squeal/screech from vocalist Bjorn “Speed” Strid and blasting by drummer superstar Dirk Verbueren. The song contains some of the performance work I’ve heard from all members of the band in recent memory and is incredibly promising. While it will be interesting to see if the band can maintain this level of intensity over something as long and ambitious as a double album; after hearing this song I’m certainly more optimistic towards it. It’s customary for bands to talk up a new record with all kinds of marketing double speak, but from this track it really does seem like their ninth album, The Living Infinite could well be The Panic Broadcast on steroids.
I recently had the incredible honour of attending Barge To Hell as a member of the press and was able to actually watch Soilwork live twice; once, from the hot tub on the pool deck! While it’s a pretty surreal experience to circular headbang in a hot tub to classic Soilwork songs I can whole heartedly recommend it. I can imagine this song absolutely killing it in a live setting!
On the cruise I briefly bumped into Soilwork’s very own drumming legend Dirk Verbeuren (Scarve, Devin Townsend Project) and started talking about his side grindcore project, with legendary vocalist Sven Du Caluwe (Aborted), Bent Sea. Bent Sea released an EP last year featuring Devin Townsend on bass. On the cruise however Verbeuren was working hard in his room laying down tracks for new Bent Sea material with the bass god that is Shane Embury of Napalm Death and FetoRecords fame. Embury’s bass work is EVIL, and far more synonymous with grind so I cannot wait to hear that material come to light. While no further information has been released, the group have made it clear that they plan to release two albums worth of material in the near future.
The Living Infinite will be available on February 27 in Asia (via license to Marquee Records), in Europe on March 1, and in North America on March 5 through Nuclear Blast Records.
You can pick up Bent Sea’s first EP, Nostalgia, from their website. No release date information is available for their follow up(s).
What do you guys think of the new Soilwork song? Does it give you faith in the upcoming double album? Are you excited by new Bent Sea material? Sound off in the comments!