Although it might start out pretty heavy on “Arrival” it’s safe to say that Verkligheten is Soilwork’s lightest album yet. That being said, I’m not at all disappointed. Let’s not forget Bjorn Strid’s stardom with The Night Flight Orchestra, easily one of my favorite bands of all time. Considering his work there, it makes perfect sense that he’d be apt to use more clean vocal sections here and they’ve more than paid off for him. Melodic death metal purists might not like this change into less abrasive territory, but at least it comes with a level of taste and character that we’d expect from a band who has only made a scant amount of missteps and never truly released a bad album, all things considered. “Full Moon Shoals” takes a definite break from the assault, but only for a while as it soon rolls up it’s slave to offer up yet another pummeling. The drums are mightily pungent here and the guitars are simply raw and furious, soloing with the kind of frenzy that comes from a band that was rip roaring ready to get out there and record a new one. This isn’t the sound of a band phoning it in or selling out, it’s the sound of an extremely experienced metal act that still manages to prove it’s worth long after setting the mold that countless acts follow today. Then you’ve got that old school approach with “The Nurturing Glance.” Female backing harmonies arrive with “Stålfågel” as “The Wolves Are Back In Town” continues to meld the two worlds of Soilwork and The Night Flight Orchestra together. I hummed the hell out of this one, personally. I have a scant feeling that you’ll do the same. Though despite the amount of vocal harmonies utilized in this album, I am sure that you’ll find it potent enough to still consider death metal in some mindset and ultimately a wild ride between accessibility and abrasiveness. Verklighten is heavy enough to get your head banging, but it’s melodic enough to have you humming to yourself long after the album has ended. It’s also proof positive that Soilwork aren’t going anywhere and these guys still have a lot to offer, even after twenty years in the game. Very few bands can say the same. Of course, The Grim Tower highly recommends Soilwork’s Verkligheten. Why would you think otherwise? I know good music when I hear it and this performance is a prime example of that.
(12 Tracks, 50:00)