A Whisp Of The Atlantic


If you don't know who SOILWORK is by now then you probably got lost on […]
December 22, 2020
Soilwork - A Whisp Of The Atlantic album cover

If you don't know who SOILWORK is by now then you probably got lost on the internet and found your way to this review accidently.  They are one of the biggest, and hardest working, bands in the world of metal.  But on the off chance you just woke up from a coma, here is a little back story.  The Swedish  band formed in 1995 as INFERIOR BREED but changed their name to SOILWORK the following year.  In their earlier days, they more often than not mixed thrash with melodic death metal.  However, over the years, the band has been adding more and more progressive elements to their music. Most importantly, they have been in the game for a long time and they always release interesting music.

Last year they released their well received 11th full length album "Verkligheten" but they aren't ready to rest yet.  "A Whisp Of The Atlantic" is their latest release just a year later.  It is being marketed as an EP but it really isn't.  While it does have just five songs, the band is giving us almost forty minutes of music.  That is longer than a lot of full lengths, right?  The bulk of the album is represented by the opening title track, "A Whisp Of The Atlantic."  This is a rather progressive leaning song and also the bands longest at almost seventeen minutes in length! Needless to say, this song has a lot going on it so lets dive into this EP review.

The song begins with clean keys and, appropriately enough, the sounds of water.  As the waters recede, the clean tones grow more complex with layers falling upon the other notes in gentle waves.  Around the minute and half mark, Speed's vocals present themselves—his vocals only improve with age and I'm not sure if I ever heard them sound this good. The rest of the band joins in shortly, bring some steady metal guitars, drums, and a rougher vocal.  His higher pitched cleans that end in a scream help the song pick up steam for a steady mid paced metal opera that grows in complexity as it goes.

Wonderfully melodic riffs break up the stanzas and it all fits in together in a melodic death groove that effectively combines Soilwork's modern sound with heavier aspects of their past, such as the sudden bursts of speed or kick ass guitar solo around the four and a half minute mark. The guitar riffs get better and better as they back up Speed's unbreakable voice and the impeccable rhythmic foundation that is Bastian's drumming.  Another solo, this one a bit more deadly, breaks out around the five and a half minute mark and just shreds the song apart.

The music gets more atmospheric afterwards and the drums grow more chaotic—this mixture works well and gives Speed openings to bring his heavier vocals out more.  Seriously, the whole band plays their hearts out on this song but Speed has really outdone himself here. The eight minute mark of the song is cold yet pretty melodies that take the song in a completely different direction that trails off into epic clean keys.  Then the song absolutely explodes and re configures itself into a heavy metal tour de force.  Heavy riffs, dueling melodies, soaring solos...jesus, this song has it all in just this one part!  The ten minute mark shows just how well Speed's voice works with both light and heavy music—and it also shows how adapt the band is at doing just the same, switching on a moment's notice.

Speed has this crazy death metal falsetto voice he breaks out—just pure insane.  I love how the guitars suddenly increase their intensity after he pulls it off.  The keys are very well done here, used perfectly to enhance everything but never takes anything away.  The following guitar solo is blazing and the drums will rip your head off.  And guess what?  Still five minutes left in the song! Bastian and Speed pick up their aggression as the guitars become more urgent in between more melodic passages.  The thirteen and half mark is FURY incarnate for a brief moment that leads the song to cleaner pastures but not less effective. What. A. Song.

Fortunately, Soilwork didn't blow their load on the opening track and the remaining four songs keep the momentum going.  "Feverish" is laden with 80's style riffs and keys in the beginning for steamrolling drumming crushes everything.  Speed has always been at his best when he earns his nickname with a non stop vocal barrage and this is the song where he dives in full...wait for it...speed ahead. The song's tempo is upbeat and a little bouncy, especially with how well the guitars and vocals work together to achieve the desired outcome.  The chorus brings out a little melody from all the players but the song is one of the more intense ones they have done in some time.

"Desperado," reminds me a little more of "Figure Number Five" and "Stabbing The Drama" era but it fits in with the rest of the album.  This song is also fast paced but is anchored down by a catchy chorus.  The keyboards are the standout on this song, adding in their own style while complimenting all the other elements. "Death Diviner," is centered around Speed's groove oriented vocal style, which the guitars play off of for another piece of the groove machine.  This particularly song is more straight forward but the chorus is one of the most catchy they have ever created and the melodic part in the later half builds up nicely to a guitar solo that brings the song back to full circle.  This one demands the mashing up the repeat button.

The final track, "The Nothingness and the Devil," is an urgent track with a huge sound.  The opening moments hurtle forward like it is the last song the band will ever play but the chorus is more methodical with thick riffs behind it.   The halfway point is straight up heavy fucking metal and the ending is a melodic outro of sorts that just can't be missed.  Incredible song as well. This far into their career and SOILWORK pulls out an incredible surprise for their fans.  Even in a discography as deep as theirs, "A Whisp Of The Atlantic," is one of the best albums SOILWORK has ever done.

9 / 10

Almost Perfect








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"A Whisp Of The Atlantic" Track-listing:

1. A Whisp Of the Atlantic
2. The Nothingness And The Devil
3. Feverish
4. Desperado
5. Death Diviner

Soilwork Lineup:

Bjorn "Speed" Strid - Vocals
Sven Karlsson - Keyboards
Sylvain Courdret - Guitars
David Andersson - Guitars, Bass
Bastian Thusgaard - Drums, Percussion

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