After really enjoying 2019’s Verkligheten, it’s a pleasure to hear some new Soilwork material. Övergivenheten continues with the ever-satisfying Soilwork sound, yet evolves it at the same time. Rich melodies, soaring choruses, and strong songwriting lurk around every corner, as they always do, but on this occasion the focus is slightly different.
This is a lengthy album at 65 minutes, but the band make the most of the time by diversifying their delivery, with the individual songs focusing more on one aspect of their style or another. This is the most expansive Soilwork have sounded, and Övergivenheten has a greater breadth than I was expecting, (while never losing the core of the Soilwork sound).
The album’s darker themes don’t always necessarily translate to darker music. Many of the melodies deployed on Övergivenheten are bright and uplifting, with some being quite jaunty and folky, (in fact, folk influences rear their head a few times across the album, in a few different ways and instruments).
There’s a progressive feel to parts of the music; aspects of classic 70s progressive rock can be felt haunting these new tunes, consumed by the Soilwork machine. This feeling is not restricted to just the keyboards as it is in some bands, but is present at the heart of the songwriting. Not just progressive rock but hard rock too; The Night Flight Orchestra‘s influence is clear on almost every part of this album’s sound.
The band’s atmospheric side has also been given the freedom to roam widely, and much of the material focuses on atmosphere and mood over direct-impact metallic riffing, for example. Added to this are acoustic elements, which add extra texture to the album.
That’s not to say that Soilwork have jettisoned the metal, of course; we still get moments of heaviness and aggression, but these are used more sparingly. There are still blast beats on Övergivenheten, and the music isn’t completely devoid of melodic death metal by any means.
Övergivenheten is Soilwork’s most layered and intricate album. It’s great to hear the band ply their trade once more, yet do so in a much developed way.
Very highly recommended.