Soilwork - Övergivenheten
Nuclear Blast
Melodic Death Metal
14 songs (1:05:12)
Release year: 2022
Soilwork, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

A short two years after the impressively unexpected Whisp of the Atlantic EP, sixteen-minute song and all, Soilwork are back with another longer-than-you'd-think-sensible release. It continues to mix up the band's now signature style of ear-friendly progressive groove and melodic death, if the latter is even still a factor in the Soilwork formula! The opening title track certainly sticks to said formula at its foundation at least, catchy and melodic with a driving riff and repeated chorus at the heart around which there's plenty of frills like piano and acoustic guitar to add to the prog vibes without really pushing the song structures out there. That comes just a track later, the near-seven-minute Nous Sommes La Guerre opening and ending with French female spoken word and being built around almost new-wave keyboard patterns and a technical and impressive drum performance from Bastien Thursgaard.

And as if to reassure the listener that this album isn't going to be all melodic prog frippery, the following Electric Again turns back to galloping melodeath at its start with a grandiose chorus about how hard it is to be like we were in the past, perhaps aimed at Chainheart Machine fans? Sure, it's still very melodic and tuneful with even some cello thrown in, but it's definite that Soilwork aren't quite ready to give up completely on their melodic capital-D-death metal past just yet. Which is a positive thing even if generally you're on board with Soilwork's recent, more prog-directed output; the band can be predictable in their writing, but they still manage to make for interesting, memorable songs regardless, such as the melodic atmospheric sheen to Is It in Your Darkness or the bouncy groove to Vultures, which feels modern without being simplistic.

Yet as ever, over an hour of this kind of thing is a lot and it still feels like Soilwork could use a seasoned editorial hand to turn their very good albums into great ones. It's rare to hear a song here and think that it should have been deleted in the studio, even with the presence of two brief and very forgettable interlude pieces, and the quality levels are high even if notably not as memorable overall as the songs on Verkligheten. The beginning of a new rut for the band? If you're particularly pessimistic, maybe, but Soilwork are still good enough at what they do to make this album a more than solid listen.

Sadly, we lost guitarist David Andersson less than a month after Övergivenheten's release (the band's official statement blamed alcohol and mental illness) which makes songs he wrote here such as Death I Hear You Calling hit much harder than expected. Lines about being attracted to the third rail are, to say the least, harrowing knowing what he must have been thinking while writing them, and give Soilwork's music a darker sheen than most will be used to experiencing. It makes it harder to critique music tinged with tragedy, of course - we're writers, not sociopaths! - and Andersson was definitely a talented musician to make this a real loss for the band and for us fans. Övergivenheten is by no means their best work but it's more than good enough to serve his memory well. RIP.

Killing Songs :
Nous Sommes La Guerre, Vultures, Death I Hear You Calling, On the Wings of a Goddess Through Flaming Sheets of Rain
Goat quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Soilwork that we have reviewed:
Soilwork - A Whisp of the Atlantic (EP) reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Soilwork - Verkligheten reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Soilwork - Death Resonance reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Soilwork - The Ride Majestic reviewed by Goat and quoted 74 / 100
Soilwork - The Living Infinite reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
To see all 15 reviews click here
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