Soilwork – Övergivenheten

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Soilwork - Övergivenheten
Soilwork – Övergivenheten

Reviewed: October 2022
Released: 2022, Nuclear Blast
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Simon Wiedemann

Soilwork are a melodic death metal band from Sweden who formed in 1995 under the name of ‘Inferior Breed’. It wasn’t until 1996 the act changed their name to what you know now. In their earliest days they were influenced by acts such as Pantera, Meshuggah, and Carcass. However, with the new name, they started to create music that was more melodic. The band ultimately signed to Listenable Records after meeting Arch Enemy’s Michael Amott in a fluke encounter and giving him their demo album. It wasn’t until 2001 the group would sign to Nuclear Blast, the label they are still on now. They released their twelfth album ‘Overgivenheten’ on 19th August, 2022.

So, Soilwork! What’s it like? It starts with title track ‘Övergivenheten’ which is Swedish for ‘Over given he ten’. With such a random title, you may expect the song to be all over the place but not true. Only joking I have no idea what it means. Now for the serious reviewing: I hate to say this, but many of the vocal melodies throughout the LP are rather so-so. The best ones in my opinion are in tracks such as ‘Nous Sommes La Guerre’ that have a somewhat dreamy catchiness to them. Fittingly, ‘Dreams Of Nowhere’ is pretty dreamy, too. They may be metal songs, but that doesn’t stop them from having qualities about them that can put hardcore people to sleep where they will then live out exciting new worlds. Possibly when flying!

‘Electric Again’ starts off with a furious tempo before calming down. Songs usually build up excitement by speeding up not the other way round, right? Well these guys build interest by becoming more melodic over time. It’s as if they know the shouted speedy parts aren’t as good as the ‘nicer’ parts. So write that way more often! No only joking, I guess the angrier parts compliment the others nicely. Not brilliantly, but nice enough. The further death metal blast beats in the track do work very well when combined with a less aggressive singing style. It’s like combining contrasting ice cream with hot chocolate. Yes, a musical dessert! You get plenty of desserts in other tracks so to speak, but the idea does get a little bit old, maybe. So are the musical treats bad for you? Rather than giving you diabetes, maybe they could give you a poor taste in music? 

I’m just saying, usually musicians are taught to be tasteful, not repetitive and noisy. Even in death metal it’s generally agreed the guitars shouldn’t have too much bass, for example. Yep, even extreme metal needs taste! I forget the point I was trying to make. Oh yes, you don’t NEED constant blast beats and such. Track ‘Morgongava/Stormfagel’ has piano and lead guitars that are surprisingly tasteful and bluesy (especially when compared to the album’s shred solos), but it ends in one and a half minutes! It should have been at least double that length. Similarly, ‘This Godless Universe’ starts off with some more sweet pianos, but they are gone in just HALF a minute and are replaced by even more blast beats. Luckily you get some violins with the drums as otherwise it could be perceived as not symphonic metal, but a musical mishap. The rest of the song is perfectly reasonable, but far from great. The sweet pianos are back in ‘The Everlasting Flame’ and ironically they are gone again in a little over a minute! One word: Development. 

In conclusion, I’m not sure if the album had to last one hour and five minutes. There is little variety in it and when you do get true variety it’s over pretty quickly. Fittingly, everything you get is listenable but nothing much more than that. Well it would be fitting if they stayed with their old label anyway. However, you get some cool blistering shred solos and occasional catchy songwriting, too. ‘Death I Hear You Calling’ whilst relatively straightforward has a very singable vocal melody in the chorus, if the riffs are a little forgettable and the relentlessly staccato bass gets a little annoying. On the whole, the album is fairly average and because of that, it’s not particularly recommended. But it’s not bad.


1. Övergivenheten
2. Nous sommes la guerre (We Are the War)
3. Electric Again
4. Valleys of Gloam
5. Is It in Your Darkness
6. Vultures
7. Morgongåva / Stormfågel (Morning Gift/Stormbird, instrumental)
8. Death, I Hear You Calling
9. This Godless Universe
10. Dreams of Nowhere
11. The Everlasting Flame (instrumental)
12. Golgata
13. Harvest Spine
14. On the Wings of a Goddess Through Flaming Sheets of Rain

Band line-up:
Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid – vocals
Sylvain Coudret – guitars
David Andersson – keyboards
Bastian Thusgaard – drums
Rasmus Ehrnborn – bass