Released: 2015, Nuclear Blast Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Sweden's SOILWORK have released their latest album (their tenth, actually) through Nuclear Blast Records in the form of The Ride Majestic . With the addition of new bass player Markus Wibom, the album sees the band continuing with their Modern Metal explorations. Clean vocals are mixed along with semi-growled Death Metal-meets-Hardcore vocals while guitar riffs go across the board switching from Black Metal melodies to Death Metal stylings, being backed by very technical drumming. Goth Rock-style keyboard sections are used to enhance choruses or punctuate clean vocal parts. While the album does have its (very few) good moments, it takes only a few songs to notice that these tend to sound very similar to one another. The formula that SOILWORK follows not only causes trouble in distinguishing one song from the next, but it also makes the band sound like many other groups out there doing the same thing. That formula consists of angry sections leading to catchy melodic choruses method used currently by hundreds of bands as their means of composing music. Notice I use the broad terms "angry sections" and such, because these bands use anything from New Wave to Power Metal to Pop in order to try and be distinctive; what happens is that often the band just force these elements into the music, resulting in albums that sound disjointed, and that is the case with SOILWORK's latest.
Some of the better moments in SOILWORK's The Ride Majestic ironically take place in the two songs that share the album's title. The introduction to opening track "The Ride Majestic" reminds me of some of IRON MAIDEN's latest work and is actually very good, as it builds up nicely up until the band comes in. However, by the middle of the song, a sense of the band lacking a clear direction becomes evident. "The Ride Majestic (Aspire Angelic)" is a reprise of the opening track, with a variation on the guitar riffs that also sounds pretty cool, and is my preferred song out of the two. As for the rest of the album, there are good ideas in songs here and there, but nothing that amounts to much. "Alright in the Aftermath", despite some of the sugary melodic vocals in certain sections, manages to be a cool track for a few seconds thanks to its Thrash-meets-Black Metal arrangement and nice Power Metal vocals. "Shining Lights" starts off weakly with a riff that seems borrowed from some Melodic Punk band, but then includes a nice riff within the verses; it all falls to pieces as the radio friendly choruses kick in, though. By the time album closer "Father And Son Watching The World Go Down" began, I felt like I already had too much of the same thing.
The few moments SOILWORK manages to create ambience or atmosphere in Ride The Majestic, they disrupt it by shifting to some other unrelated part in an effort to force catchy, radio-friendly sections composed of patterns that sound too much alike. It's easy to mistake one song for another because of this, and that's a problem. While the musicians involved are obviously talented, the arrangements on this album sound more like a pastiche of popular techniques thrown together without even checking to see if anything fits together.