Album Review – Soilwork / Övergivenheten (2022)

Musically and lyrically evolved, Swedish Melodic Death Metal masters are back with a fantastic new opus dealing with darker thoughts that have shaped the band itself.

Musically and lyrically evolved, Swedish Melodic Death Metal masters Soilwork are back with their twelfth studio album, entitled Övergivenheten, the follow-up to the amazing Verkligheten and one of their most complex and elaborate albums to date, strengthening their legacy even more in the world of heavy music. Recorded and produced by Thomas “Plec” Johansson and Soilwork at Nordic Sound Lab, and mixed and mastered by the same Thomas “Plec” Johansson at The Panic Room (assisted by Simon Eliasson and Viktor Brunö), Övergivenheten, which means “abandonment” in Swedish, deals with darker thoughts that have shaped the band itself and affected the development process of the album. The personal struggles align with social difficulties outside of the band, all embraced by the first-class, sharp music beautifully crafted by frontman Björn “Speed” Strid, guitarists Sylvain Coudret and David Andersson, bassist Rasmus Ehrnborn, keyboardist Sven Karlsson, and drummer Bastian Thusgaard.

The acoustic guitars and banjo by guest Johan Randén kick off the multi-layered title-track Övergivenheten before Björn and his henchmen begin a fantastic sonic attack showcasing melodious riffs, rhythmic beats and endless adrenaline; followed by Nous Sommes La Guerre, or “we are the war” from French, where the ladies’ choir brings an extra kick to the music while Björn beautifully declaims the song’s lyrics (“I can feel the shadows enter, risin’ from the earth / Now that everyone is giving me the widest berth / I have nightly visits, sentient absence watchin’ me / Nurturin’ the itch where other worlds are scratchin’ me”). There’s no time to breathe as the band keeps slamming their instruments in Electric Again, with Sylvain and David doing an amazing job armed with their stringed axes; and in Valleys Of Gloam the skillful Bastian adds tons of groove to the overall result is a first-class Melodic Death Metal feast for the masses. Let’s then slam into the circle pit together with the Soilwork boys in the striking, high-octane Is It In Your Darkness, with Bastian hammering his drums mercilessly supported by the rumbling bass by Rasmus, whereas the band keeps invading our senses with their dense, groovy Melodic Death Metal in Vultures, where Rasmus is on fire with his metallic bass lines, being therefore perfect for headbanging like a true metalmaniac. After the short, atmospheric instrumental interlude Morgongåva / Stormfågel, or “morning gift / stormbird” from Swedish, it’s time for us all to bang our heads to Death, I Hear You Calling, a solid composition where Björn’s angry vocals match perfectly with the song’s lyrics, pace and heaviness, meaning it should work amazingly if played live.

The gentle keys by Sven are suddenly joined by a wall of sounds spearheaded by Bastian’s crushing beats in This Godless Universe, presenting elements form Death and even Black Metal which bring a touch of eccentricity to it. More modern than its predecessors, Dreams Of Nowhere offers another round of their caustic lyrics (“Bleeding through the blanching skin you’re / Offering the Gods your name / Bound to see the sunrise fading / The everlasting flame”), flowing into the whimsical interlude The Everlasting Flame, where Sven will captivate your senses once again before we’re treated to tons of progressiveness in the form of Golgata, with Sylvain and David extracting sheer electricity form their guitars, providing Björn with exactly what he needs to fire both his guttural roars and his classic clean vocals. Those Swedish metallers still have a lot of fuel to burn in the album, with Harvest Spine being the perfect depiction of how heavy and melodic they can sound at the same time and with Björn stealing the spotlight once again with his flammable vocals; and lastly we have On The Wings Of A Goddess Through Flaming Sheets Of Rain, a stunning name for an incendiary song that begins in a sinister manner before evolving into one last Melodic Death Metal attack by Soilwork, offering our avid ears piercing, strident riffs and solos, massive blast beats and stylish keys, putting an outstanding ending to Övergivenheten.

Needless to say, Soilwork did it again, kicking some serious ass with their undisputed Melodic Death Metal throughout the entire Övergivenheten while always loyal to their core essence (even when experimenting with new elements and sounds). Hence, don’t forget to check what the band is up to on Facebook and on Instagram, to subscribe to their official YouTube channel for their official videos, to stream more of their top-of-the-line creations on Spotify, and above all that, to grab your favorite version of Övergivenheten by clicking HERE or HERE. Övergivenheten is one of those albums that not only represents what Soilwork are all about, but it also emanates a sharp and strong energy that’s the result of all of the aforementioned personal struggles from the band members, proving once again heavy music is always the best remedy for any type of adverse situation.

Best moments of the album: Is It In Your Darkness, Death, I Hear You Calling, Harvest Spine and On The Wings Of A Goddess Through Flaming Sheets Of Rain.

Worst moments of the album: Dreams Of Nowhere.

Released in 2022 Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. Övergivenheten 5:45
2. Nous Sommes La Guerre 6:53
3. Electric Again 4:22
4. Valleys Of Gloam 4:11
5. Is It In Your Darkness 4:04
6. Vultures 5:47
7. Morgongåva / Stormfågel 1:33
8. Death, I Hear You Calling 4:41
9. This Godless Universe 4:41
10. Dreams Of Nowhere 4:29
11. The Everlasting Flame 1:06
12. Golgata 4:59
13. Harvest Spine 5:10
14. On The Wings Of A Goddess Through Flaming Sheets Of Rain 7:31

Band members
Björn “Speed” Strid – vocals
Sylvain Coudret – guitar
David Andersson – guitar
Rasmus Ehrnborn – bass
Sven Karlsson – keyboards
Bastian Thusgaard – drums

Guest musicians
Johan Randén – acoustic guitars and banjo on “Övergivenheten”
Laila Prigorowsky, Helene Alexandersson, Catrine Ellwen, Gonca Yazan, Jenny Ericsson & Cia von Heijne – ladies’ choir on “Nous Sommes La Guerre”

Album Review – Eleine / Dancing In Hell (2020)

The time has come for us all to dance in the fires of hell to the sound of the striking new opus by this unstoppable Swedish Symphonic Metal group.

My dear metalheads, if you haven’t taken a listen yet at any of the songs from Dancing In Hell, the brand new opus by Landskrona, Sweden-based Symphonic Metal unity Eleine, I highly recommend you do so as soon as possible and get ready to be absolutely stunned by frontwoman Madeleine “Eleine” Liljestam, guitarist Rikard Ekberg, bassist Anton Helgesson and Jesper Sunnhagen throughout the 50 minutes of first-class, undisputed music found in what’s most probably the best Symphonic Metal album of 2020. With Dancing In Hell, the follow-up to their awesome 2019 EP All Shall Burn,  Eleine sound even more powerful, beautiful and unique than in their previous releases, taking a natural step into darker and heavier sounds and setting a new standard within the symphonic genre with hard-hitting, melodic and seductive metal hymns. Written and produced by Rikard and Madeleine, mixed, mastered and co-recorded by Thomas “Plec” Johansson at The Panic Room, and featuring another incendiary and sexy artwork by Néstor Ávalos, the album brings forward stories of inner demons, strength and loss, all embraced by majestic passages, heavy-as-hell riffs and the always sharp and hypnotizing voice of the one and only Madeleine.

Eleine kick off their amazing album with Enemies, originally released in their incendiary 2019 EP, and I won’t repeat myself and say how awesome this tune is. Simply enjoy all of its power and epicness, which is also the case in the title-track Dancing in Hell, one of the band’s heaviest compositions since their inception, offering our ears a massive wall of sounds boosted by symphonic elements with Jesper being unstoppable on drums, while Eleine embellishes the airwaves with her piercing vocals as usual. Then in Ava of Death we’re treated to in-your-face words beautifully declaimed by Eleine (“We will not forgive / Nor will we forget / The willful deceit that spread / Your future is dark / Soon filled with regret”) while Rikard and Anton slash their stringed weapons in a true headbanging mode, whereas it’s time to go full symphonic and epic in Crawl from the Ashes, with Jesper dictating the song’s imposing rhythm while Rikard continues to add the word “metal” to the overall musicality. And Eleine kidnaps our senses once again in As I Breathe, giving life to the song’s dark lyrics (“Have you no eyes at all / You’re standing against your own kind / Sickness from mind and heart / Eating flesh of those who risk it all / We’ll rise / You’ll fall / We run / You crawl”) while her bandmates fire a crisp fusion of Symphonic, Melodic and Groove Metal.

Anton takes the lead with his rumbling, metallic bass jabs in Memoriam, a mid-tempo symphonic tune tailored for admirers of the music by bands like Epica and Nightwish where all background elements only make the song even more thrilling and vibrant, followed by Where Your Rotting Corpse Lie (W.Y.R.C.L.), almost six minutes of grandiose metal music for our total delight where Rikard is not only bestial with his flammable riffs but also with his sick, deep guttural, while Jesper keeps the atmosphere heavy and dense with his unstoppable drums. All Shall Burn is the second song from their 2019 EP, and once again there’s nothing else to say about such amazing and imposing tune, whereas Die from Within is a lot more melodic than its predecessors, with Rikard sounding astounding on the guitar while Eleine brings her touch of finesse and passion to this metallic Opera-inspired tune, showcasing a beautiful paradox between her angelical voice and Rikard’s harsh roars. Lastly, after the serene and melancholic piano interlude The World We Knew, the band offers us all a cinematic and symphonic version for Die from Within, even more enfolding than the original one, with Eleine displaying all her vocal potency, therefore having an absolutely passionate performance supported by all the song’s booming orchestrations.

As already mentioned in the beginning of this review, Eleine are absolutely majestic throughout the entire Dancing In Hell, not only perfectly representing all the magic, epicness and feeling of classic Symphonic Metal in each of the album’s 11 tracks, but also sounding fresh and distinguished in a genre that’s considered already saturated by many critics and fans from all over the world. If you don’t believe me, you’ll have to wait a few more days to be undoubtedly surprised by Madeleine, Rikard & Co. when Dancing In Hell is officially released, but until then you can obviously take a look at what the band’s up to on Facebook and on Instagram, watch all of their astonishing official videos (including all the singles already released from their new album) on YouTube, stream more of their music on Spotify and, above all, purchase a copy or select your favorite streaming version of the album by clicking HERE or HERE, as well as buy a great selection of music, tees, prints and accessories from their own webstore. The time has come for us all to dance in the scorching fires of hell, and there’s nothing better than Eleine’s striking new album to serve as our devilish soundtrack to that.

Best moments of the album: Enemies, Dancing in Hell, As I Breathe and Where Your Rotting Corpse Lie (W.Y.R.C.L.).

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Black Lodge Records

Track listing
1. Enemies 5:22
2. Dancing in Hell 5:06
3. Ava of Death 4:06
4. Crawl from the Ashes 4:02
5. As I Breathe 3:56
6. Memoriam 6:15
7. Where Your Rotting Corpse Lie (W.Y.R.C.L.) 5:55
8. All Shall Burn 4:21
9. Die from Within 4:38
10. The World We Knew 1:35
11. Die from Within (Symphonic Version) 4:34

Band members
Madeleine “Eleine” Liljestam – vocals
Rikard Ekberg – guitar, growls, vocals
Anton Helgesson – bass
Jesper Sunnhagen – drums