Soilwork // The Panic Broadcast
Rating: 3.0/5.0 —Commercial as hell…
Label: Nuclear Blast (EU | US)
Website: soilwork.org | myspace.com/soilwork
Release Dates: EU: 02.07.2010 | US: 07.13.2010

Wow. So, it’s been like 10 years since I’ve listened to Soilwork and it turns out that they don’t sound at all even remotely the same. Sometimes a band falls off your radar and you don’t even think about them at all and honestly, Soilwork is one such band. Now, it’s probably not a surprise to anyone else but I was in utter shock when I turned on The Panic Broadcast to discover that the Gothenburg sound had totally been replaced by eurocore! See, now you’re laughing at my ignorance, but I’m a bit surprised. See, in Angry Metal World,  the last record that Soilwork released was actually The Chainheart Machine in 2000. And back then, these guys were playing a not-entirely-novel, but very, very good version of the Gothenburg sound. Turns out in the much lamer real world Soilwork has had a bunch of records and gotten a new vocal style, a new sound and hyper-produced.

So I guess the best thing I can say here is that these guys are very good at what they do. The Panic Broadcast is commercial metal of the most workmanlike efficient stripe. For 48 minutes, the listener is bombarded with corey style screams and overproduced clean vocals from ex-Darkane screamer-in-chief Bjorn Strid, thick groove-based riffing, replaced drums and Swedish mainstream melodic sensibility. What struck me, honestly, was that when I ripped Sonic Syndicate apart for how bad they suck, they were just copping Soilwork‘s sound. I mean, really just ripping it right off their CD. But like Sonic Syndicate or Scar Symmetry, Soilwork (from Sweden, incidentally, that’s some alliteration!) has really just given into this groove based riffing which gives way eventually to a ridiculously catchy chorus that seems to be the focus of all of the songwriting.

But like I said, they’re good at what they do. Unlike Sonic Syndicate they have songs that are worth listening to and while you can take the death metal out of the band (because this is  definitely not death metal), you can’t take the talent out of it. Soilwork was famous because of their amazing guitar solos and creative writing which shined on The Chainheart Machine and Steelbath Suicide, and that inventiveness hasn’t disappeared, especially since lead guitarist Peter Wichers is back in the fold. I would go so far as to say that the guitar solos on The Panic Broadcast probably are the high point for me, threading the needle between technical and melodic and producing some of the most memorable moments on the album.

But as a fan of death metal and old Soilwork I have a hell of a time accepting this for what it is. This is soullessly overproduced commercial metal of the most flagrant kind. While tracks like the ripping opener “Late for the Kill, Early for the Slaughter” and “King of the Threshold” harken back to the days when Soilwork were heavy with blasting and solid death metal riffs, I can’t get past the fact that all the songwriting seems to be a vehicle for a huge chorus that is designed to get stuck in your head for days (and really does get stuck in your head for days, fuckers). There doesn’t seem to be as much substance in the writing as there is a formula. Oh, also, I don’t actually like Bjorn Strid’s vocals. I didn’t like them in Darkane and I’m not a huge fan of them here, either, though the clean vocals do shine on songs like “Let This River Flow”, which stands out from the herd.

So it is with a bit of unease that I say: if you’re a fan of newer Soilwork and of this modern Swedish metal movement, you’re probably really going to like this. The band continues on with their core modern sound (which I listened to on YouTube to find out) while improving the guitar solos and writing, arguably, their best songs since the early 2000s. The songs are catchy, the riffs are pretty good and the production is just as sterile and overproduced as it can possibly be in the modern era.  That said, however, it doesn’t send me into a rage like Sonic Syndicate did, and there are even songs on here that I like despite my strong knee jerk reactions when I first got the CD. But if you’re an old fan excited by the fact that Wichers is back in the band, don’t hold your breath. This record has some stand out moments that will appeal to you a bit, but I guarantee you it’ll send you, disappointed, back to your CD shelf to pull out some of their early material.

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  • herp

    Overproduced? Really? I don’t care if you disliked it but c’mon don’t start lying. New Decrepit Birth is overproduced. This isn’t. Drums are one of the biggest indicators of overproduction and I dunno about you, but they sound a lot less artificial than the way you’re coming across.

    • http://www.angrymetalguy.com Angry Metal Guy

      Haha, “don’t start lying”? Yes, this is overproduced. And the drums are better than some things, but they’re still replaced. The whole thing still has a mechanical feel to it, it’s ridiculously compressed and super loud. Sure, compared to other modern overproduced record it’s not the worst thing ever, but honestly, it’s overproduced.

      “Don’t start lying.” Seriously, dude.

    • http://www.angrymetalguy.com Angry Metal Guy

      Oh yeah, and the vocals are ridiculously layered and suuuuuper, suuuuuper compressed and smoothed in order to get them like that. Probably tuned as well, though it’s not super obvious.

  • steel druhm

    Lying? That’s messed up. There is no lying in Angry Metal Land!

  • SunEboy

    New vocalist? huh… Bjorn has been with the band since it’s inception. Bands, artists, and anybody involved in the creative process of their medium(s) are always evolving over time. Even the most staunch and stubborn artists waiver from the center-line in minute ways, usually only perceivable by esoteric groups (e.g. fellow musicians of a technical background). Further more, these guys were placed in the “death metal” category, but they have never claimed to be a pure representation of said genre. Interestingly enough, the new guitar solos that caught your attention and rip your face off are written by Sylvain Coudret. Christian Wichers? Did you mean Peter Wichers? He too is one of the original architects who joined with speed in creating this unique and mentally demanding music.

    • http://www.angrymetalguy.com Angry Metal Guy

      Thanks for the corrections. Though, honestly, it doesn’t really change the substance of the review any. Björn has changed his vocal style dramatically since the early records.

      Second, I never claimed that they had claimed anything. I said that I liked their older style better than their newer style because I think the new style is overproduced and formulaic. And Peter Wichers left the band and came back.

      And unique? Not in 2010. And mentally demanding? Not so much.

  • LiamENGL

    Soilwork is getting on now man, Peter wrote steelbath when he was 19 years old.

    He won’t stay an angsty teenager forever, he’s definitely matured as a songwriter, and his riffs/licks are bluesy and groovy and certainly not to be placed in any kindof common genre. But yeah, it’s all opinion I know, Soilwork will still do so well from this album, and they have alot of integrity as musicians.

    • http://www.angrymetalguy.com Angry Metal Guy

      Yeah, it’s not like I’m saying this album is bad. I’m saying that it’s not death metal and that it’s commercial as hell. There are some songs on here that get stuck in my head, but there’s also a ton of stuff that I think is mediocre, or lacking or whatever.

      I get that no band can ever stay the same forever and some bands (see: Katatonia, for example) have definitely changed for the better (well, their change hasn’t been bad). Soilwork, on the other hand, has changed a lot, but it’s most just towards being more packaged and professional. That’s great for them, great for their label, great for their pocketbooks, bad for the music that they make.

      Finally, just because I ripped on it some doesn’t mean I don’t think this is a “good” record. I gave it a 3/5. That’s “Good.” That’s not mediocre, or bad, or disappointing, or shit. It’s good. I don’t think the record is stellar: ’cause it’s not. But it’s good. I love certain parts. Just not all of them.

      • The Madman

        “That’s great for them, great for their label, great for their pocketbooks, bad for the music that they make.”

        I wouldn’t say that maturing and becoming less of a musical spastic is bad for a band’s (especially Soilwork’s) music. Well, maybe it is if you look at it from the perspective of someone who strictly adheres to the whole metal “subculture” bullshit.

        Despite what you may believe, the vast majority of the world would rather have melodic and pleasing music rather than any form of music that makes the outcasts feel “special.” And despite what you might think of these people (as “mindless,” or “simple”), they are much more self-aware and fulfilled then even you think yourself to be.

        Now, although I appreciate your right to have an opinion, you must admit that the “DIY or DIE” punk attitude really does lose its luster after high school ends (or after college if you mistakenly declared yourself as a “Liberal Arts” major… or never if you had the misfortune to be born in Canada or the Pacific Northwest).

        • http://www.angrymetalguy.com Angry Metal Guy

          First, I’m not actually sure how this became personal for you. Second, contrary to what you may believe what you like is not necessarily what everyone likes. Third, this is a review site: chalk full of opinions. Yup, that’s right, opinions.

          Actually, as I get older I find myself being more and more drawn to that DIY sound because it doesn’t reek of overproduction and commercialization. Sure, it probably goes too far with all the lo-fi elitist types, but I’d rather listen to that then to the stale, lifeless, and frankly, fake production on many major label metal records that are released today (including this one).

          I am not a “metal purist”. I like what I like unabashedly—from power metal to classical to underground black and death metal. Which brings me back to point a: you might not agree with this review, but you can’t actually “disprove” anything I’ve written unless it’s a factual error. Yay subjectivity!

          • The Madman

            I’m not entirely sure what you got out of my post, but you missed the point.

            This is not personal, I was not trying to disprove anything, and -yes- the vast majority of the world does like poppy music (sure there may be a few thousand people who are “tr00,” but there are billions of people out there who will not listen to anything that isn’t “approved for public consumption”). I seem to have hit a nerve, but I did not hit it hard enough for you to have actually read my post.

          • The Madman

            I don’t actually think there was anything open to reply there. I was simply just saying that: in the world of well-adjusted people (the real world, not in the magical world of metalheads), sounding more poppy is a very good thing. It does not mean it is an actual good thing or bad thing, but the perception is that it is a good change.

            Also, if you can possibly understand it, Soilwork is still too heavy for many people. No matter how poppy they get, they are still too loud to be *actually* mainstream (ie. Mainstream to the average person, not mainsteam to your friends who never bathe or shave).

          • http://www.angrymetalguy.com Angry Metal Guy

            But I don’t review for most people, I review for metalheads. Many metalheads will think that Soilwork is too poppy.

            Also, I’m fluent in English. I don’t think that understanding was ever an issue here—it was disagreeing.

            Also, you come off as ridiculously arrogant when you imply that because someone doesn’t agree wtih you they must not understand you.

          • The Madman

            Oh, I just read that you are from Sweden, no wonder you didn’t understand my post… it is bizarro world over there.

            Sorry.

  • Fatt E

    Dead on review. Thanks.

  • gitbox

    Decent review, pretty interesting reading a review from someone who has missed out on such a massive key evolutionary period of the band.
    Not that I think you were expecting Soilwork to be the same as ten years ago, but ofcourse they aren’t going to be.
    I like the review but regardless of if you’re fond of their modern sound you should definately check out ‘A Predators Portrait’ and ‘Natural Born Chaos’ which are both equally important stepping stones for the band in terms of transitioning from their early sound to the modern sound, the former album will probably be more up your alley as it does have a heavy dose of the ‘Chainheart’ sound with hints at the modern sound, the former being their benchmark for their modern sound where everything just clicked and regardless of whether you favour the new or old it’s one hell of an album.

    Very good review, but i will definately look for one that can explain how the sound on this album has changed/grown from their more recent works.

    • gitbox

      *ahem* ^ Natural Bon Chaos being the LATTER and the benchmark for their modern sound. My bad.

    • http://www.angrymetalguy.com Angry Metal Guy

      Yeah, tough isn’t it? You want to review stuff, but at the same time you don’t know every band as well as one maybe should. That’s how it goes. That said, I think having a review like this against one that’s written by a superfan is that this one gives a bit better.. breadth? If someone is on the fence about the about the band, they probably find a review like this to be more helpful than another kind. Or at least, that’s what I like to tell myself.

      In the end reviews are opinions. Straight up. And my opinion is definitely not in line with everyone’s.

      Thanks for reading and the props, and you come back through sometime!

  • snorlax

    good honest review. could have benefited from being familiar with the past four or so albums, but you didn’t try to hide the fact. the drumming is a highlight for me on this one. it’s fucking stellar

    • http://www.angrymetalguy.com Angry Metal Guy

      Good drummer. I can’t get across how talented I think the band is. But being a talented band doesn’t mean they’re going to make music I like.

  • Lourenço

    Yeah, liked your review and LOVED the album. Agree with the production at high levels, but desagree with the “Commercial” thing. You don’t have this at the popular radio stations played 30 times a day. It’s the sound they like, the songs are “true”, you can fell it.

    This year is going great, Nevermore’s Obsidian Conspiracy was AWESOME, and I’m waiting now for Iron Mainden’s Final Frontier…

    Cheers, see ya!

    • http://www.angrymetalguy.com Angry Metal Guy

      Yeah, you know, I think that commercial in the underground is different than being played on pop radio. This record is going to appeal more people with passing interest in metal and certain tracks could easily be played on certain rock radio stations in the states for sure. Not to mention that it’s just going to appeal to a larger audience. When In Flames changed their sound in order to stay relevant (rerouting to remain.. get it?) they did so to appeal to a larger audience and I believe that Soilwork did the same thing. Granted, Soilwork’s new material is miles ahead of In Flames’, but it’s a reality of the modern industry.

  • edgeofsanity

    “The Panic Broadcast” is the best Soilwork album, since “Natural Born Chaos” by FAR! One of my favorite bands back in the day, but I turned my back on them after “Figure Number Five” Of course I listened to “Stabbing” and “Sworn”, but damn, were they ever AWFUL! Anyhow, with that being said, Strids clean vocals never disappoint me! Next to Alvestam, Strid is a beast in his arrangements. Though his clean vox keeps getting better, his growls(screams) keep getting worse each album!!! WTF is with the “core” vox! I almost thought the whole album would suck after “Late for the Kill”. Thankfully he ALMOST returned to “deathish” vox. Anyhow why mention Strid as an ex Darkane member? He only did the demos, not really worth mentioning him singing for them since barely anyone has the demos. No need to be an “elitist. lol

  • Opus

    Some people seem confused as to what they want, on one hand they expect a sound that is current/unique yet they also want it to remain familiar and unchanged. It’s not possible.

    • http://www.angrymetalguy.com Angry Metal Guy

      Yes and no. Sans the core vocals and some of the overproduction I think I would have really liked this record a lot better. But I found aspects of it to be too much to bear.

  • Ciaran

    Composers throughout history have always used the latest tools and technology to compose music wether the public agreed or not. Once upon a time this monk had the bright idea to write down the Gregorian Chants and everybody flipped. “THATS NOT MUSIC! You can just hand out the parts every week and it will sound the same!”

    Then, once upon a time Keyboards were tuned to different intervals than today, meaning a keyboard in C could play in C and Am amazingly, G and Em pretty good, and F and Dm alright. Everything else was a cacauphonus mess. So they had this bright idea “HEY! Lets just make all the octaves in tune and leave everything else out. Sure it will sound weird, but then we can play equally badly in all keys on the same instrument!”

    And the public flipped out. “How can you listen to that!!!??? Its out of tune!!!!” Then J.S. Bach wrote The Well-Tempered Clavalier and changed the course of music forever. Imagine that, hey? The most beautiful Steinway you’ve ever heard 300 years ago was an out of tune piece of shit!

    Then with recording it became a sin to use a 24-track tape machine because “You can go back and fix mistakes,” or “create un-natural sounds” which now sounds rediculous. Then with computers everyone flipped out because “they sound like crap” and “you don’t even need skill anymore.” Blah blah blah blah blah….

    So I really don’t understand the reviewers beef with Soilwork choosing these or those studio techniques. In 2010 with gear the way it is we have removed all the excuses as far as technical limitations go with regard to the manifestation of ones creative vision. Thus, it has become about the music again, and ONLY the music. Not how big something sounds, how comrpessed it is, whatever the fuck. That doesn’t mean shit anymore when you can choose to make your music sound exactly how you want it to.

    I for one, welcome this new Soilwork album with open arms, as I have all of them (well, not so much Stabbing The Drama, thats like the retarded little brother you cant help but love no matter how many times he picks his own shit up out of the toilette and smears it on the wall).

    • http://www.angrymetalguy.com Angry Metal Guy

      I think to actually compare Soilwork to movements forward in musical history is kind of a major exaggeration.

      And the issue with the production techniques is that I don’t like how they sound. And a review is an opinion. And my opinion is that overproduced poppy music that is not actually very aggressive in spite of it being death metal because it’s oh-so-smooth isn’t as good as other kinds of music. However, I still did give this record a 3/5 which is a “good record.”

      And by the way, when a recording sounds like this it actually removes from how a record “should really sound” because it removes from the authenticity of the performances.

      • Ciaran

        I wasn’t comparing them (soilwork and music history, they’re just a metal band!). I was using the evolution of music to illustrate the point that despite what the public thinks and especially wether they agree or not musicians will always use the latest tools and technology to manifest their creative visions. This directly touches on the concept of ‘authenticity’ and what it means. Human beings still had to put these performances into the recording medium. Its not like they sat there writing code to have a computer perform the music! And it doesn’t really matter if they used a computer to clean up a couple of things here and there. Why should they compromise their musical vision in the slightest when they don’t have to?

        Have you ever seen them live? I have many times and I can say without a shadow of a doubt there is nothing on this album that they cannot perform live. Sure its going to ‘sound’ different, like its going to ‘sound different’ from venue to venue.

        Seperate the musical production which is the album from the musical performance live and there is no issue of ‘authenticity’.

        Its 2010, get with the times man!

        • http://www.angrymetalguy.com Angry Metal Guy

          If being excited about heavily replaced drums, highly compressed and tuned vocals and songs built around choruses is the times I need to get with, then I’m happy being stuck in the past.

          I do not doubt that Soilwork is a faboo bunch of musicians: it’s obvious that they are. I am not a huge fan of the production style. I’m not sure how this is so controversial.

          • Ciaran

            The replaced drums were still played by a human being. Authenticity comes from a human performance and not a recording medium. If I have the choice between spending $1500/day to get the sound, or replacing the drum hits with samples already recorded in a pristine environment with gear much superior to mine what do you think I am going to choose? I didn’t click the drum tracks in with a mouse.

            Highly compressed and tuned vocals is what they chose because its the way they wanted it to sound. Its a choice.

            Songs built around choruses is a compositional argument that is subjective and you are entirely entitled to like it or not. Thats fine.

            What bothers me is you somehow have composing and engineering mashed together in your head when they are in fact entirely seperate concepts. Composing is subjective, meaning there are no lesser or greater opinions. Engineering/production on the other hand is not.

            And is there any way to stop the columns from compressing to the right with every reply? Everything is getting way over compressed. ;)

          • http://www.angrymetalguy.com Angry Metal Guy

            No, replaced drums are often also quantized drums. In essence, you might as well have clicked it in with a mouse. Though the drums on this record are not my big complaint.

            Whether or not the band wants this to sound this way is not actually relevant to whether or not i like it a lot. And in the end, while I complain about the production, I still think that the composition is ultimately what makes this record *not as good* as other records that I’ve heard. The style is not that exciting to me and with the exception of a few pieces here and there, I am generally less enthused about this album. It feels forced and clichéd at times and while there are some good things on here, they tend to *not* be the big choruses but the guitar solos and cool riffs.

            I disagree that engineering and production are not subjective. Your tastes are totally subjective. Whether or not, for example, overly compressed vocals sound better than more expressive and dynamic vocals is taste. If, for example, the guitar tone on a Mnemic or Fear Factory record is “incredible”, but I think that it’s too mechanical then that is also taste. It doesn’t matter that they’ve used 3 $5000 amps and 9 pedals to get that sound, because despite it being really expensive I don’t like it. Not only that, but composition and presentation are incredibly intertwined. One could easily make the argument that a Darkthrone or a Burzum record would lose its feel if the production were pristine. Production is just as much an instrument of expression as composition is and I think the best musicians know that and have their records produced (or self-produce their records) accordingly.

            There are endless arguments going on about whether or not new music is too compressed, whether or not we should give more space and less loudness, etc. Guitar tones and trends change, vocal tones and trends change and most records that get overproduced in any period is going to sound hideous in 5 or 10 years. I think it’s a bad call for a band, but again, that’s my opinion. In this era where you could go in and get a perfect tone in a studio, why would you go in and suck the life out of your record by taking the dynamics out of it and making you sound like a group of machines and not musicians?

            No, if we continue to reply to each other this is what will happen. And as you can see, compression really makes things hard to deal with. :P

  • Ciaran

    Your right! Less compression is better; I CAN READ AGAIN WITHOUT GETTING A HEADACHE! ;)

    If you had written your review more like that last reply I think it would have been a stronger article. But then we wouldn’t of had this very cool conversation. Well done.

    • http://www.angrymetalguy.com Angry Metal Guy

      It was indeed part of my devious plan.

      Thanks though. I think the production arguments are fascinating ones, because I tend towards liking “well-produced”, polished records (think Blackwater Park, for example) and I find a lot of the lo-fi dudes to be pretentious beyond forgiveness. But apparently there is a line for me, and a lot of these major label records cross that line.

      • Ciaran

        So what do you think of Devin Townsend (Band)/Strapping Young Lad as far as production goes?

        • http://www.angrymetalguy.com Angry Metal Guy

          Overdone, IMO. He’s a great producer, but especially SYL had that same kind of Meshuggah, Fear Factory, Mnemic production that I’m not a huge fan of.

          Townsend is a fucking amazing producer. He gets great sounds for the stuff he does, but I’m not a huge fan of his more “soulless” production.

  • Liana

    I read this reveiw before picking up the CD and I wished i would have listened. I’ve been a Soilwork fan since they relased their first CD. I was soo pissed off and dissapointed after listening to the shit they just realesed

  • Ciaran

    ^ You feel it’s soul-less? Maybe the SYL stuff I can see where you’re coming from, but if you listen to Terria, and especially ‘Synchestra’ I must argue the opposite. Synchestra is one amazing freaking album that unlike the SYL stuff is not overblown. Actually, it breathes a lot more than a lot of his stuff. I consider the first three tracks (about 24 mins before the Baby Song hits, the first actual silence between tracks) the best progressive rock/metal I have ever heard. Steve Vai even contributes a solo!

    Terria is freaking huge, but also the program material is not thrash or death metal. Its an ‘earthbound symphony’ if you will which is not as directly led by the Gtrs as one might expect, and it is thick with strings, pads, fx, etc etc etc.

    Anyway, I hope you have a chance to hear these two and then get back to me. Its obvious we have very disparate tastes in production asthetics, but I find this conversation very intriguing and I hope to continue.

    Also, please listen to ‘Natural Born Chaos’. It was also produced by Devin.

  • http://n/a m

    I think angryguy stating “many metalheads will state that Soilwork is too poppy” is a huge opinion he has. Aside from his opinion on what productions he likes..and what underground metalheads will prolly think….IMO, its just a good sounding production with talented musicians and songwriters. Sounds good to me. The songs he admitted staying in his head for days=good sign. Missed out on natural born chaos and other albums=not a good sign. As always though, argument will come when opinions form on music. He said its good…but its not great. Thats cool.

  • Cageman

    Good review, I agree with you at the point of the outstanding guitar solos; they really have a specific characteristic sound (unlike in many other bands). I dont know much about when an album is very commercial or overproduced, but I find this album very enjoyable to listen to and it has many original licks and ideas. Beside that, when a band becomes more “mainstream or commercial”, then this is (in my opinion) a reaction to growing popularity. A phenomenom that (automatically) happens with many music (and other things). Then my last point: compared to the previous 2/3 albums, this seems a good step back to the quality of nbc and predators portrait. I enjoy listening the latest Soilwork music again :D

  • serpentsun

    A bit late, but just gonna throw my 2 cents in. Honestly, compared to Sworn, this album is a huge step up, definitely reminiscent of older albums. Yes, there are a few moments when I know I’m listening to crud, but it makes the parts of the album that shine, shine that much more. I seriously can’t say “Hey, absolutely EVERYTHING on this album is incredible” but I can’t say that about any album…ever…there’s always a “but” or a few.

    On top of everything, I’ve listened to Soilwork, Opeth, In Flames and Arch Enemy since day 1. EVERY band has evolved, and I can honestly consider myself a huge fan of all these great acts nearly 20 years later. But because I like the new Soilwork or In Flames doesn’t mean I can’t still love the old stuff. When I first heard Panic Broadcast, I realized that my expectations were much lower than the actual quality of this album, and that really makes this album awesome for me, gave me fuzzies in my tummy.

    Ultimately, the best review is the one I come up with when I listen to the music…ALWAYS. There’s no way that I wouldn’t have bought this album in particular, but if it were some other band I’d never heard of, and I had read this review, I probably wouldn’t have given the music a chance, which would be a shame.
    Albeit your review is very well written, and I enjoy reading your opinions on a regular basis, I got this feeling that you wouldn’t consider me a metalhead because I love this album…it just came off that way to me. I’m off to listen to some Bloodbath now…I promise.

    • http://www.angrymetalguy.com Angry Metal Guy

      Well, I gotta say that when it comes to a band like, say, In Flames, I just haven’t gone with the band down that road. The same is true of Soilwork. They’re just not a band that I’ve followed down that road.

      Obviously I don’t judge people who listen to this stuff. I mean, if someone says to me “I LOVE SOILWORK” my response would be “Huh! Great for you.” I try to take a live and let live approach.

      This record is still rated as a “good record”. And I encouraged people who like their style to check it out. I think it’s overly commercial, but it doesn’t mean that I think that it’s outright *bad*, I just would change some things about it.

  • Less angry metal guy

    I think the problem is that metal fans fear catchiness. Once you mature to the point that it’s ‘ok’ to listen to music that non-metal fans would like you realise that this really is a good record. I used to listen cephallic carnage et al because I could be safe in the knowledge that it wasn’t ‘mainstream.’ There is a risk with this album that it is, but I don’t see a problem with that anymore.

    I hear your point on the production, but if bands still weren’t producing their albums in even 20 years time you’d say they had to get with the times. They really can’t win. In many ways an album as well produced as this is an accomplishment, not a failing.

  • informal metal fan

    So I recently became quite a fan of Soilwork, found this cd and really liked it. Got some of there older stuff and found that really good too even though obviously the sound is very different. Think the review is spot on! I can understand why many metal heads will find this album too poppy or over produced but in the big scheme of things it might be a good thing for metal as it will draw more people to the genre and encourage them to explore death metal further since Soilwork was originally death metal. By the way this site and its readers are awesome. Intellectually discussing music and not falling into pointless flame wars is great. A welcome change to most review sites.

    • http://www.angrymetalguy.com Angry Metal Guy

      There’s some flaming that goes on here, but I try to hold it to a minimum. I also tend to just not publish assholes’ posts. It helps keep it down. I know, censorship. But seriously, I’m Angry Fucking Metal Guy, I can do that. ;)

      Anyway, yeah dude, I get where you’re coming from. I mean, like I said, there was some pretty good stuff on there, but overall? Yeah, I won’t come back to it anymore.

  • HeartoftheMachine

    Ok, this is definatly their best album in their “new” style. But I really hate it when people say the production quality sucks. It is the best they ever had. I mean like, listening to Sworn to a Great Divide on a high volume, with bad headphones, will just kill your ears. Listening to The Panic Broadcast on a bad headphone, doesn’t really matter. Also, with all these layers, and good recording, everyone in the band feels like they are a part of the songs. Everything ANYONE does on the songs, will be heared. I really like their old stuff, but I also like me some new Soilwork now and then, and ESPECIALLY The Panic Broadcast.

    But about the mix on Sworn to a Great Divide and stuff… they have made it such a low quality mix on purpose! What’s the point of making your mix sound like you’ve recorded everything in a small room, with all the instruments there and record it all at once with just 1 microphone?

    • Neltah

      I agree. And I think that the angry metal guy that reviewed this is actually an angry metal kid.

  • Neltah

    You “reviewers” at angry metal guy give the most biased album reviews i’ve ever read. You only give good reviews to bands that you worship. You state that you had no idea that their style changed so much and it seems like that put you off from the very beginning. YOU shouldn’t have been the one to review this album. You let your personal feelings about music and the way it should be produced get in the way of giving a real review. That’s too bad. “I guarantee you it’ll send you, disappointed, back to your CD shelf to pull out some of their early material.” That’s what you wrote at the end of your “review” Read the above comments and you’ll see that’s not the case at all. Seriously….Angry Metal Guy, Fire this idiot before he gives you all a bad name in the metal community. And maybe his replacement should be older than 14.

  • Neltah

    Wow…you even got the facts about the vocalist wrong!! What the hell??? How do you still have a job????????? Wait, it’s now 2011, so you probably don’t since you obviously don’t do any kind of research on the bands you write about. And that should be grounds for termination. How is anyone going to take your reviews seriously when you make it clear that you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. Damn….Angry Metal Guy just lost a fan. I can no longer hold any merit to what you guys are stating as facts. Damn……..

    • http://www.angrymetalguy.com Angry Metal Guy

      You realize that I gave this a 3.0/5.0 which is a “good” review, right? Also: my “biased” reviews are just as “biased” as anybody else’s “biased” reviews: read this and then respond if you want to.

      Also, I gave Falconer a 5/5 for their last record and I don’t like any of that band’s previous material. I also gave Blind Guardian, a band that I love, a 2.5/5.0. Actually, I could listen off dozens of records from “bands that [I] worship” that I have panned.

      I guess you just have trouble with people who don’t agree with you.

      • Neltah

        Actually I have trouble with people that review albums and don’t have their facts straight.

    • Steel Druhm

      Neltah,

      As one of the reviewers here, I think your post is the most biased post I ever read. You should immediately lose your job as hysterical fanboy blog poster.

      • Neltah

        If standing up for a band and album that I enjoy after reading a ridiculously inaccurate review makes me a hysterical fanboy then so be it.

      • Neltah

        How would you feel if you read a review of an album you love and it was filled with holes and inaccuracies. Wouldn’t you want to defend it? And lose my job as a hysterical fanboy blogger?? So i’m not allowed to state my opinion about your reviews without being called names?? You should change your name to asshole metal guy.

  • Steel Druhm

    Defending an album is great but when you do it in such a hysterical and nonsensical way, throwing out unfounded opinions as fact (ex. we only give good reviews to favorite bands), and being insulting, guess who is acting like the asshole?

    • Neltah

      alright, alright. To be honest I’ve enjoyed your blog for quite some time and most likely will in the future. And I admit to going a little over the top on this one. I have a lot of passion for the music and bands that I listen to and get pissed when it seems like music critics are just attacking them for reasons that I just don’t get. Bands Evolve over time and that’s what I feel Soilwork has done. Evolved. A lot of my favorite bands sound completely different now than they did 10 years ago. (Amorphis, Katatonia, In Flames, Enslaved, Pain Of Salvation etc;) To name a few. And they get so much crap for changing and it annoys me that people don’t seem to understand that these musicians aren’t kids anymore and neither are a lot of their fans. I was only 20 years old when Soilworks album Steel bath Suicide came out and would hate their new stuff then but bands change and so do their fans. I just don’t think an album review should focus on how much a band has changed their style in the course of 10 years. And that’s all I was originally getting at in my first reply. But I know I can get carried away sometimes….Anyways……To each his own.

      • Steel Druhm

        Its cool man. I think we are all passionate about the music and while opinions may differ on a band or album, the passion is what’s important.

  • wheim

    Wow, so you missed not one, not two, not three, not four, but FIVE of their albums, and now you are suprised they changed! really? 

    • http://www.angrymetalguy.com Angry Metal Guy

      Well, changed and changed, right? It’s one thing to say that the band has changed – it’s another thing for a band to have undergone such a drastic change from quality Gothenburg death to Eurocore.

  • Ermdog

    Album reviews should be outlawed. There are people who like certain types of genres and just can’t deal with a certain sound if it’s not something they like. It’s all personal preference anyway and their opinion is only of their own tastes. Soilwork is hands down my favorite band. I loved Chainheart and Steelbath, but everything from A Predators Portrait and on is a masterpiece in my opinion. Again, it’s my opinion and it’s what I dig in music. I can sit here and bash Death Metal or Black Metal and tell you how much I hate it, but it doesn’t mean it sucks…I just don’t like it. i just find it funny when people get bent out of shape for not liking their music, and how their music is so good and proceed to bash everyone who disagrees. In a perfect world no one would bash each others music, and everyone would merely state it isn’t their cup of tea instead of saying how god awful it is.

    • http://www.angrymetalguy.com Angry Metal Guy

      I did give this thing a 3/5. Also, I criticize music reviewing as an endeavor every chance I get.

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