WORDS: Eddie Sims
When a band release a 10th album it clearly means something is going well. When talking about SOILWORK then it’s important to remember that throughout their extensive and impressive career, they haven’t released a truly bad record. Sure, with their previous nine outings there have been some better than others, but none that can be considered as bad. It is because of this rather splendid track record that SOILWORK have been able to craft and chisel themselves a perfect blueprint for a sound that has influenced so many acts since its inception, and with a maturity and technical ability that many strive and fail to achieve. With their 10th and most recent offering The Ride Majestic, the Swedes simply continue to prove that they deserve to be at the very top of the melo-death pecking order.
The soft, warm intro of album opener and title track The Ride Majestic is deceptive. Don’t think that this album is here to caress you and take you to a calm and relaxing plain; it does not pull its punches at all. The relentless and powerful drum track keeps the raging, breakneck pace rock steady throughout the whole album, with blastbeats coming thick and fast, giving little respite for the 11 songs on offer. Lead single for the album Enemies in Fidelity perfectly encapsulates the album and its mastery of the melodic sounds fused and intertwined with standard death metal fodder. The ending blastbeat gently fades into silence accompanied by gentle twin guitar leads, that also by and large, are massive highlights of the album. The huge black metal influence on The Phantom makes for an interesting and surprisingly well done listen as the tremolo picked guitars simply rip your ears apart, but it’s the guitar hook on The Ride Majestic (Aspire Angelic) that takes the limelight as its soaring duel harmonies and massive riffs simply carry the song along effortlessly.
It really says something when a vocalist as good as Bjorn Strid, giving it full welly on every track isn’t even the highlight on the album. The vocal performance is excellent for the majority of the album, with only a few questionable vocal hooks being featured. The waning sounds on the break of Petrichor By Sulphur is a little too poppy and certainly detracts from the album as a whole. For the most part however, Bjorn delivers a stellar performance.
Ultimately, The Ride Majestic does nothing if not solidify SOILWORK as one of, if not the, premier act in the melodic death metal scene. Whilst fellows comrades IN FLAMES and AT THE GATES try to keep up with the times with faltering success, Soilwork seem to effortlessly keep on top of the continuously changing trends with such ease its almost laughable. At album number 10 they have nothing left to prove and yet they still continue to push the envelope by making their sound tighter and more impressive than before. The double edged sword of remaining true to their roots and not really progressing does still stand but its blown out the water by the sheer technical brilliance that The Ride Majestic offers. If you’re yet to get behind them then look no further for an excellent introduction into one of metals most trustworthy acts.
The Ride Majestic is set for release on August 28th via Nuclear Blast Records.