Soilwork: The Ride Majestic

Soilwork have really come into their own, 2013’s The Living Infinite was incredible even with the challenge of being a double album, yet not a single track felt like the band was going through the motions.   Only two years later, and with some lineup changes, Soilwork are back with The Ride Majestic and the fact that it retains the same level of quality and even more focus than The Living Infinite is a testament to the groups capability as musicians. The opening title track quickly establishes that Soilwork is as epic, soaring and catchy as they have ever been, a trend that only continues across the entire album.

Soilwork are as established as bands get within the metal sphere, their first release was in 1998 and seventeen years later the band has released some of their best work.  The Ride Majestic contains all of the qualities that  show what has made Soilwork a staple in Melodeath, atypical riffs, furious drumming and incredible vocals from frontman Björn “Speed” Strid.  Something about Strid’s clean singing brings to mind cosmic storms and crashing waves, his voice is so powerful and heart-wrenching that it puts to shame many like minded singers.  His consistency and quality places him along with greats like Christian Älvestam, only surpassing them in relevancy.  Two decades later and songs like ‘Death In General’ and ‘Enemies In Fidelity’ put the band at the forefront of what Melodeath is capable of, heavy, screaming fast and filled with raw emotion.

Soilwork has always had incredible drumming, especially with the addition of Dirk Verbeuren on their much loved album Stabbing The Drama, with their newest members relatively, there has been a massive upswing in the quality of the guitar-work. The Panic Broadcast was the start of a trend and David Andersson allowed the band to take the idea a step further on The Living Infinite, with The Ride Majestic all but perfecting it.  The opening riffs on the title track, the solos and fretwork on ‘Petrichor By Sulfur’ and the tearing strumming on ‘The Phantom’ provide variety and true punch to a band that had previously lacked it in its earlier work.

The production is clean, highlighting Markus Wibom’s bass and the guitars sound crisp and punchy.  The drums can get lost in the mix which is unfortunate given their quality, but they are highlighted when it matters most.  The focus is on the group as a whole, where they excel, every member is as skilled as any with their instrument but Soilwork is greater than the sum of its parts.   The Ride Majestic is clean, fast and mountainous, representing the best the band is capable of.

The Ride Majestic is the perfect follow up to an album like The Living Infinite, it is succinct in comparison but stands as a massive slab of music in its own right.  The songs are diverse, more so than anything previously heard from the band and each member delivers their best performance’s yet.  Despite consistent lineup changes, the heart of the band, Strid has always been an anchor, keeping Soilwork relevant and recognizable twenty years after the fact. The Ride Majestic shows that the group is more than just relevant, they are essential.

4.5m

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