Soilwork - The Ride Majestic | Released via Nuclear Blast records - AVAILABLE NOW
From the label that brought Cradle Of Filth's most recent studio album “Hammer of The Witches” comes yet another must-have metal album of 2015. “The Ride Majestic” hit stores and online platforms on Friday 28th August, marking the tenth studio release from a band whose non-stop career spans the length of no less than two decades. Yes readers, Sweden's metal moguls Soilwork return with a highly polished and undeniably infectious release. For those who are looking for a quick-fix answer to the question of whether or not you should buy this album; grab your fucking coat...you've only gone and pulled one of the best-looking albums of 2015 so far!
From the rousing and powerful opening to the broad and epic finale, “The Ride Majestic” presents a riotous, dramatic journey that's rife with kinetic energy and memorable moments. Tracks like “The Phantom” and “Father And Son Watching The World Go Down” serve to hammer down and highlight pretty much every high-scoring point that demonstrates exactly why the experience of a 20-year career will absolutely tower above the efforts of younger, less experienced bands.
In my first review for Soundclash, I spoke of how the increasing demand of easy-access download platforms seems only to serve as a bottleneck for young bands to fall into, forcing them to churn out quick “collections” of just-about-good-enough songs to keep up with constantly rising demand, rather than taking the time to create a larger, more involved experience that will stand the test of time and ultimately hit with harder impact.
Thankfully this just isn't the case with the latest offering from Soilwork, and with a constantly shifting style of songwriting that's filled with unexpected twists and turns, what we're presented with in “The Eide Majestic” is exactly that - a truly engaging experience that feels every bit as good as title might suggest, and even more so. Indeed, the band's tenth studio album is brimming with so much vicious and untamed character and evolution, it's incredibly hard to find any reason why you wouldn't want to pick up this release, especially when there's just so much musical content crammed into the album's 50-odd minutes of playtime.
The constant fluctuation of emotive inspiration and melodic expression paves the way for some truly tumultuous and engaging music. The uplifting and light melodic passages of tracks like “Alight In The Aftermath” can suddenly dive into deeply thick and discordant chord progressions, before soaring back into the sky for some truly epic, cleanly-sung sections from lead vocalist Bjorn Strid. Crafting a healthy mix of both coarsely growled vocals and some gorgeous cleanly sung vocal passages (complete with harmonies), Strid's performance throughout “The Ride Majestic” is phenomenal and will surely leave your testicles (or respective “chesticles”) positively tingling with excitement.
It's safe to say that this album will undoubtedly have you coming back for more than a handful of play-throughs as time goes by, and in truth there are so many “highlight reel” moments spread across the album that it would be pretty hard to list them all. Beset with furiously aggravated chord progressions and thick, satisfyingly arcing melodic movement, fans of Soilwork are brought into the welcoming arms of a tantalising platter filled with truly impressive and captivating music that will no doubt please seasoned veterans of their music while managing to coax the interest of a broader spectrum of fans as well.
As a slightly humorous side-note, props go to the band for managing to sneak in the slightly more commercial sounds of “Death In General”, which strikes me as a little reminiscent of the sort of track that would appear in the opening credits of a James Bond movie. Seriously, all that's needed is to drag an X Factor hopeful out of Simon Cowell's ass to sing the lyrics and they'd be onto a winner...sort of. I'm not entirely sure snagging a washed-up X-Factor personality to croon out a watered-down version your song could be considered a “winner”.
Alas, I digress. I seriously can't get enough of Soilwork's latest release, and it's a shining example for me of how an album should sound. You'll have to forgive me, I know I might sound a little like an overexcited fanboy, but the truth of the matter is that I'm not - as some might think - Soilwork's Number One fan...
No, that title that actually goes to a basement-dwelling 50-year-old named Chuck, who hammers out 18 hours of World of Warcraft a day before gazing lovingly at his elven avatar while hammering out...something else. All to the soothing mixtape of 90's pop-punk, naughties nu-metal and everything in-between, with extra added Rush.
I'm not sure where I was going with that.
I've come across Soilwork's music plenty of times in the past and it's impressed me pretty at pretty much every turn, but I'm not raving about “The Ride Majestic” because of who's released it, but rather what it is at it's core; a fucking good album. Everything about “The Ride Majestic” oozes a higher level of professionalism, compositional awareness and general musicianship that can only come from a lengthy stay in the music industry. It's for that reason that I can pretty much guarantee; once you've picked this one up, you'll be hard-pressed to put it down again.
Review by: Luke Milne