Review: Lana Harris
Helsingborg? Where the Helsingborg is that? Turns out this Swedish town is the fertile ground where Soilwork first plied their craft. Soilwork (both the name and the band’s philosophy) represents commitment and determination. Building from the roots of things and seeing them through to fruition via a lot of hard work. More of a biologically based metaphor than the grave digging that initially came to mind when the name ‘Soilwork’ is heard in connection with the words ‘death metal’.
The Panic Broadcast represents Soilwork’s eighth album and is a lesson to others in how to keep the momentum up after several releases. The energy presented could have it confused with an early career offering but the song structure and quality belies the truth: this is a band with extensive
experience in song craft, especially from singer and founding member Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid.
With that kind of nickname to inspire you, it’s no wonder this is such a full on, energised release. Soilwork don’t ease into it: they’re more of have-you-up-against-the-wall before ‘hello’ can pass through your lips type of a band (or in this case, before they can say ‘Hej!’). This attitude is well demonstrated on opening track ‘Late for The Kill, Early for the Slaughter’ which blisters the ears right from the start. There are no real exceptions to the hard ride, although some songs take longer to detonate than others. For example, final track ‘Enter Dog or Pavlov’ opens with a demonstration of brooding melodics before kicking up into high gear.
The best part of the album is Dirk Verbeuren’s drumming. Ferocious and frenzied, it sets the relentless pace that is sustained throughout the whole album and is backed up by aggressive playing from the rest of the band. All this creates a phenomenal energy that is well harnessed by choruses which don’t explode in brutality but are crafted into something much more accessible (able to be sung along to). Good examples of the craft are displayed on ‘The Thrill’ and also on ‘Two Lives Worth of Reckoning’, although the latter’s catchy chorus is easily subject to mondegreen syndrome if the lyrics booklet isn’t handy (words for all tracks along with in-song soloing credits appear in the accompanying CD booklet).
Soilwork offer much more than judging them by their genre would imply. The melodic overtones, the tiny pieces of funk and rock are all artfully added into a solid base of pummelling drumming, strong guitar work and generally indecipherable lyrics that together give The Panic Broadcast a distinctive sound. This is an infectious album with both the layering of instruments and tightness of sound showing Soilwork’s efforts are living up to their industrious name.
Review: Lana Harris
LMM Interviews: Listen to our interview with Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid of SOILWORK…