Soilwork - The Panic Broadcast
Nuclear Blast
Melodic Death/Thrash Metal
10 songs (47:46)
Release year: 2010
Soilwork, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

A good indication of any random Metalhead’s maturity level is how they react when you tell them that you like Soilwork – the recent stuff. It may be passé in underground circles to appreciate songwriting and catchiness in Metal over adherence to outdated formulas, yet there was something very immediate and enjoyable about even Stabbing The Drama, I found, that made for a listen a damn sight more fun than your average po-faced burst of *yawn* that modern faceless Melodic Death clones churn out with no style or grace. Metalheads do tend to pigeonhole bands, putting Dark Tranquillity and At The Gates together and condemning Soilwork to reside in the same Americanised hellhole as the generally (*deep breath*) inferior In Flames, when really in my view there are miles of difference between each band’s sounds.

Not least of these is the fact that, as a previous reviewer stated, Soilwork succeeded in the modernisation and Americanisation of their sound much, much better than In Flames’ rather clunky attempts – whatever you say about Soilwork, they haven’t produced any horrific Kornifications a la Soundtrack To Your Escape. Yes, it may seem like a cheap shot to use that as a reference point when discussing this, Soilwork’s eighth full-length (hey, anything to avoid having to remark on the shitty artwork!) but you have to admit, Melodeath has got a lot better since then, and Metalheads are intelligent enough to know it. For example, Scar Symmetry is generally hailed as a great band, and Sonic Syndicate are recognised as the shit they are. Life is good. Things are as they should be. And so after this preamble, you’re probably expecting me to say that The Panic Broadcast is a nice surprise, a step forwards from the good yet not that good Sworn To A Great Divide, and that whilst fans of the band’s early Gothenburg material will remain disappointed, if you enjoy everything after Natural Born Chaos you’ll love this.

And, holy shit, that’s all true but it’s still a pleasant surprise just how enjoyable The Panic Broadcast is. It’s easily their best album since Figure Number Five if not Natural Born Chaos itself, Peter Wichers returning on guitar (and production duties) and forming a partnership with new member Sylvain Coudret (Scarve) that’s notably more melodic than before, a greater reliance on technicality and solos making for a pretty damn near flawless sound that takes the work of the past and builds upon it rather than repeating it. Late For The Kill, Early For The Slaughter may have a daft name, but it rockets into a speedy intensity the band have been lacking for a while, The Haunted-esque violence meeting a typically Soilworking killer chorus with some lovely extended soloing straight out of the Scar Symmetry playbook. A more typical Soilworker anthem, Two Lives Worth Of Reckoning follows, even better with a touch of Meshuggah-esque groove and an even better chorus, Björn "Speed" Strid’s vocals excellent and fitting in well with the melodic guitars.

The band’s songwriting is so refined that the album flows as a whole perfectly, groove following groove, all the cogs in place. Don’t, however, expect a simplistic album, as the variety is notable – hell, even the drums sound terrific, getting away from their rubbery past and allowing Dirk Verbeuren to show off a little. Yeah, kickass drumming on a Soilwork album, who’d have seen that coming? The Thrill has multiple little fills and changes behind the guitars and vocals, Epitome takes the technical Meshuggah-vibe to new heights, and Night Comes Clean is verging on proggy; a couple of exceptions aside, the album is very Thrashy and, well, Metal. One of those exceptions is Let This River Flow, which has an acoustic opening is almost Power Metal with uplifting vocals and melodic riffing making it close to a ballad whilst avoiding the pitfalls. Another is The Akuma Afterglow (I have no idea), an almost unbearably poppy chorus making it more likely to appear on the next Twilight film than anything else – fortunately, the following Enter Dog Of Pavlov is a great piece with near-Devin Townsend-esque atmospheric sensibilities for the first, instrumental two minutes. Whoever you are and whatever reasons you’re listening for, it’s hard to resist the catchy likes of Deliverance Is Mine or King Of The Threshold, memorable, rambunctious anthems with bite and steel. No doubt the haters will continue to hate, but The Panic Broadcast proves beyond all doubt that Soilwork have plenty to offer the Metal world, and this deserves to be heard by many who rejected the band’s last couple of albums.

MySpace
Killing Songs :
Two Lives Worth Of Reckoning, The Thrill, Deliverance Is Mine, King Of The Threshold, Let This River Flow, Epitome
Goat quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Soilwork that we have reviewed:
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
Soilwork - Sworn To A Great Divide reviewed by Crims and quoted 72 / 100
Soilwork - Stabbing The Drama reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 79 / 100
To see all 12 reviews click here
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