Soilwork has been around for a long time. I had not realized how long until I received their latest album, Death Resonance, for review. Formed in late 1995 by Björn “Speed” Strid and Peter Wichers, Soilwork has always been one of the definitive melodic death metal bands. With ten studio albums released since 2000, there were bound to be a few bonus tracks here and there. Death Resonance is just that. This special collection of rarities spans bonus tracks from the Stabbing the Drama album and forward, plus two new songs. Death Resonance was released on August 19, 2016 via Nuclear Blast Records.
The album opens with the two new tracks, “Helsinki” and the title track. These two songs, that could also be considered bonus tracks for The Ride Majestic, blast out of the speakers. Now former drummer, Dirk Verbeuren, sets the pace for the record with heavy blast beats and some nifty cymbal work. The title track is one of many what I like to call “crossover tracks” for Soilwork. This song feels like it could be easily reworked into a Night Flight Orchestra song. Because, as ferocious as it is, it still adds an organ in the background along with clean vocals and riffs. After this, we get into the rarities and bonus tracks. These are all Japanese bonus tracks dating back to Stabbing the Drama. Some highlights of these are “The End Begins below the Surface” from The Ride Majestic. It is surprising that this song did not make it on the album, as the lyric “There is nowhere left to ride, nothing left to destroy” totally fits. Then there is the five songs from Beyond the Infinite, a Japan-only EP. Out of the 27 songs (!) written, these are the ones that did not make it on the double album. There are a couple of great crossover tracks here. “Resisting the Current” and “When Sound Collides” both have main riff that sound like ones that have already been on one of the NFO albums. “Forever Lost in Vain” even has what sounds like a Tool riff in the bridge. Soilwork included the re-recorded version of “Sadistic Lullaby” from The Panic Broadcast. It is much faster than the original, and more closely represents how they play the song live. The last five tracks were remixed for this release. We get to hear more of Speed’s great vocal work he recorded with Devin Townsend on “Martyr.” I think that was a turning point in his approach, and he has definitely been a better singer since. “Wherever Thorns May Grow” is an interesting contrast to the rest of its original album, 2005’s Stabbing the Drama. With its Queens of the Stone Age vibe during the bridge to the chorus, it is no wonder it did not fit.
One thing I always look for in a good album is flow. The songs have to have a good rhythmic flow from one track to the next or it does not have that album feel for me. This the reason all the songs on Death Resonance did not make it onto their respective albums. Ironically, the back beat is fairly consistent throughout the 15 tracks, so they have a pretty good flow when packaged together now. Maybe this was the fate these tracks meant to have. Either way, Death Resonance is a great way to listen through some of Soilwork’s history, and possible future.
- Helsinki (new song)
- Death Resonance (new song)
- The End Begins Below The Surface (The Ride Majestic Japan bonus track)
- My Nerves, Your Everyday Tool (Beyond The Infinite Japan-only EP)
- These Absent Eyes (Beyond The Infinite Japan-only EP)
- Resisting The Current (Beyond The Infinite Japan-only EP)
- When Sound Collides (Beyond The Infinite Japan-only EP)
- Forever Lost In Vain (Beyond The Infinite Japan-only EP)
- Sweet Demise (The Panic Broadcast Japan bonus track)
- Sadistic Lullaby (re-recorded, The Panic Broadcast Japan bonus track)
- Overclocked (2016 mix, Sworn A Great Divide Japan bonus track)
- Martyr (2016 mix, Sworn A Great Divide Japan bonus track)
- Sovereign (2016 mix, Sworn A Great Divide Japan bonus track)
- Wherever Thorns May Grow (2016 mix, Stabbing The Drama Japan bonus track)
- Killed By Ignition (2016 mix, Stabbing The Drama Japan bonus track)
Playing time: 1:00:42
Release date: August 19, 2016
Label: Nuclear Blast Records