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EP Review : SOILWORK: A WHISP OF THE ATLANTIC

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It was 1995 when a band from Helsingborg, Sweden, came to fruition called Inferior Breed, and the name would eventually be changed to Soilwork, meaning ‘working from the ground up’.

Soilwork, together for almost 26 years, has managed to create and build a musical catalog that other groups can only dream of doing: 15 works of art in total including 1 demo, ‘11 studio albums, and a multitude of various EP’s including their newest A Whisp Of The Atlantic that was released in mid-April 2020 by Nuclear Blast Records.

The band began working with NBR around 2000 after the release of the 2nd full-length album The Chainheart Machine, which garnered frenzied notoriety amongst the metal community and rave reviews.

The Nordic country of Sweden spits out some of the best metal artists and bands around. One theory is that since it is so cold, residents spend lots of time indoors.

And many turn to playing various instruments of choice. The government also subsidizes music schools and artists if they can prove that they are in a band, which explains the Swedish death metal explosion in the 90’s. Soilwork, although it has cornered its own specific sound, the band has been heavily influenced by another 87’ Swedish extreme metal band Meshuggah, who is also on Nuclear Blast Records.

The secret weapon of Soilwork: Bjorn Strid, a quadruple threat artist who is Soilwork’s lead vocalist and songwriter, and he is proficient on guitar and bass as well. He is also co-founder and the only original member and is identifiable for his fluctuating vocal range that oscillates back and forth between raspy snarls to non-distorted, clean vocals.

A Whisp Of The Atlantic is Soilwork’s newest EP consisting of 5 artistically well-written songs that take the listener on a musical roller coaster that consists of speedious guitar work, a slower tempo to break up the fast monotony, and then dips down, and back up, and then streamlines once again.

It has been said that most death metal is much heavier and focuses on brutality and complexity as opposed to atmosphere.

Soilwork manages to display all three of the above components and adds in sounds directly taken from the 80’s and 90’s as well as adding in a couple of other genres; such as classic rock and blues rock.

This album is a melting pot of various sounds. A few standout songs from this album are Feverish and Desperado. Feverish begins with the beautifully, light keyboards.

Enter the guitar and then the intense drum playing by Bastian Thusgaard. And then let the screaming begin. The totalitarian vocal range of Björn “Speed” Strid is intense. This piece exhibits a headbanging groove tempo along with a Queensryche-like vocal overlay.

Desperado, on the other hand, is fast with deeper growls. This song is a great contrast to its predecessor songs.

Once again, the drum is getting a workout on this tune, but the melodic vocal tones add dimension and show emotional brevity. Death Diviner opens with a 90’s heavy metal guitar.

This is a song with a consistent metal groove, repetitious guitar played chords and contains an actual ‘blues’ chord or two thrown in there. Although difficult to dance to metal, this is one song that someone can dance along with.

Most notable on this EP is the 16-minute A Whisp Of The Atlantic, in which the instrumentals simmer and smolder, but never hit a boiling point. The song is beautifully constructed and joins the ranks of Pink Floyd’s Shine on You Crazy Diamond (26 mins) and Rush’s 2112 (20 mins).

Masterpieces. This is arguably Soilwork’s most prestigious work to date, and yet, I’m already looking forward to hearing what they come up with next.

From the EP ‘A WHISP OF THE ATLANTIC’, out December 4th: http://nblast.de/Soilwork-WhispAtlantic. SUBSCRIBE to Soilwork: http://nblast.de/SubSoilworkYt / SUBSCRIBE to Nuclear Blast: http://nblast.de/NBytb ORDER NOW: http://nblast.de/Soilwork-WhispAtlantic LISTEN NOW: http://nblast.de/SoilworkWhispPreSave

Review by Jordonna Lobese for MPM

Photo: ilona Gerasymova Music Photography

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