August 19, 2016 Soilwork – Death Resonance (Album Review)
Since 1997 the Melodic Death band known as Soilwork has provided the most distinction to the Swedish Death Metal scene alongside country-mates such as In Flames, At the Gates, and Dark Tranquility. Nevertheless, the band has created their own special sound with the highest operational standard of melodies in the matter of Björn “Speed” Stride’s unrivaled vocal performance matched with dual guitar work and keyboards which silhouetted Soilwork against many other genre combatants. That being said, standout albums such as 2000’s The Chainheart Machine, 2002’s Natural Born Chaos, and 2005’s Stabbing The Drama are prime examples of Soilwork always remaining true to their own style. While other colleagues have navigated to more mainstream orientated waters, Soilwork’s latest album, 2015’s The Ride Majestic, continues to keep the band on the same road of following their own vision.
Now, just over a year later, the Swedish gang offer up a Best-Of compilation which includes tracks between the Stabbing The Drama era through today. A welcomed offering to fans always eager for new material, the compilation, entitled Death Resonance, hits the public as of August 19th via Nuclear Blast Records, and to say it as just an uncharitable Best-Of collection is far wrong. Beside the two brand new tracks “Helsinki” and the title-track “Death Resonance,” Soilwork offer a lot to their fans here, including tracks which were never released outside Asia, including the whole Asian-only 2014 EP Beyond The Infinite. Is that enough to strike a Soilwork fan’s interest? Absolutely!
Aware of how fickle some fans may be, Soilwork waste no time to getting down to the nitty gritty and offer both the aforementioned new tracks right at the start of the record. Including all Soilwork trademarks, the songs ranges between Progressive blast beat verses, the interplay between growling, shouting and melodic vocals, as well as lunatic guitar-duels of the current axemen – duo Sylvain Coudret and David Andersson. On top of everything, the tracks are refined by familiar ear-catching choruses, ones which will stick in listeners’ heads hours after the first run.
Now having their audience’s complete attention, they dig into the treasure chest with “The End Begins Below The Surface;“ a Japanese bonus track from The Ride Majestic. Served in the contrary pure Death Metal roots in a gloomy atmosphere, it comes before “My Nerves, Your Everyday Tool” from the aforesaid EP, Beyond The Infinite; a cut that acts as a perfect melodic Soilwork offering. Also, “Forever Lost In Vain” and “Sweet Demise,” from the same release, score with similar song-structures and a well-balanced mix between aggression and melodies. Then, with a re-mixed version of 2007’s Sworn To A Great Divide track “Martyr,” it provides the compilation one of the best and most ear-catching songs in Soilwork’s legislating. Finally, with “Wherever Thorns May Grow” and “Killed By Ignition,” both in a shiny new 2016 version, the album closes the journey back to the Stabbing The Drama era in an accustomed Soilwork manner.
All in all, Death Resonance is not a simple Best-Of compilation for fans with all its withheld tracks, it should feel like a new album for most listeners outside the Asia region. With additional liner notes of the band as well as unreleased promotional and live pictures, Death Resonance is worthwhile for old and new fans to temper the pins and needles until the next Soilwork album. CrypticRock gives this piece of Soilwork gold 4.5 out of 5 stars.