December 4, 2020

Soilwork – A Whisp of the Atlantic (Nuclear Blast)

While Sweden has an incredibly active metal scene, Soilwork stands out (at least to me) because of their unique take on melody. They typically have just as much in common with American groove metal, like Pantera, as they do with Scandinavian death metal. 

Metalcore synth elements are more prevalent on this EP, as well as deep thought and reflective moments, brought out by piano interludes. There is even a trumpet solo at the 8 minute(ish) mark of the title track, as well as the outro starting at the 15 minute mark. 

Oh, right! I forgot to mention that the opening song and album namesake, “A Whisp of the Atlantic”, is a 16 minute opus that fully encapsulates what this band is capable of. Almost an homage to Dream Theater, it moves through a range of emotions and styles. It tells a story of ending the “lies of sanity” to “feel eternity’s breath” and leave the world behind. Soaring, operatic vocals punctuated with guttural growls dominate the track and usher in musical shifts from death metal to metalcore, but all with a progressive metal flare. 

The rest of the EP follows closely the example set at the start, but dotted with the elements that were used to seeing from Soilwork. “Feverish” in particular represents the best of what they offer here, packaged in a bite-sized 6 minutes and filled with blast beats, catchy chorus melodies, and progressive guitar work. “Desperado” is equally satisfying, and is the only track that doesn’t end with a pensive instrumental outro. The closing track, “Death Diviner”, has my favorite guitar riff on the release, repeated throughout its verses. 

I found this album to be their most impressive and listenable recording since Figure Number Five in 2002. 

FFO: Dream Theater, In Flames, Nevermore


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