Soilwork - Sworn to a Great Divine

From their inception and the release of their debut album “Steelbath Suicide” in 1998 on small independent label Listenable Records, Soilwork have snowballed into a standout group of mammoth-like proportions capable of shifting a significant number of CDs and earning a spotlight position in a league where only names like In Flames and Dark Tranquillity stood out. With each consecutive release the Swedes matured and perfected their brand of melodic Death-Metal, proving they have a rare talent for crafting strong and memorable tunes and are simply incapable of making a bad record.
That brings us to “Sworn to a Great Divine”, the first album following the departure of founding member and main songwriter Peter Wichers, who left in order to pursue a career behind the mixing desk. Initial fears that such loss could spell disaster for the band have proven themselves to be unfounded as “Sworn to a Great Divine” pounds along in typical Soilwork style, switching between melody and full-out aggression with fierce and unwavering confidence.
Build on the “Stabbing the Drama” foundations, but with greater results on dynamics and arrangements, “Sworn to a Great Divine” immediately shows their creativity have neither stalled nor fled along with former guitarist. The title track is a fine example, a catchy-as-hell cut combining a heavy and ferocious riffage with a gigantic and melodic chorus. Guitarists Ola Frenning and new element Daniel Antonsson have excelled themselves, cranking out elaborated and monstrous riffs with a faultless precision at various time-changes that will surely entertain Guitar Magazine subscribers for countless hours.
Another standout feature of these songs is Bjorn "Speed" Strid vocals, drifting between feral growls and a deep clean singing with an amazing ease, Bjorn is like a more melodic Burton C. Bell on amphetamines.
Well, like it or not, Soilwork have long flown from nest and spread its wings to the world, but they still remain an inaccessible band for the casual listener, so all the jive thrown at the Swedes are plain nonsense. “Sworn to a Great Divine” is not a radio-friendly record and a tune like the single “Exile” will hardly be heard on commercial radio, but the converted ones will surely be swept off their feet by its addictive force. (7/10)

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