Musical history might suggest that the wisdom behind Soilwork's decision to record a double album comprising 20 new songs is, at best, highly questionable. But far from biting off more than they can chew, the Swedes have somehow risen to their own mighty challenge and produced a consistent, cohesive and remarkably dynamic banquet of blistering modern metal that amounts to a wholesale broadening and sharpening of their sound.
Thanks to the fact that nearly every song boasts one giant and infectious melodic hook, this flies by in what seems like a fraction of its 90-minute duration. It’s a masterclass in economical composition and playing to strengths.
On first listen it is the explosive grandeur of Spectrum Of Eternity, the obscenely catchy Tongue and the labyrinthine brutality of Long Live The Misanthrope that stand out as highlights, but persistence will lead to many other golden moments, ranging from the widescreen pomp of The Windswept Mercy and the eerie, prog-tinged Antidotes In Passing to the breakneck melo-death firestorm of Leech. Meanwhile, Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid confirms throughout that he is one of the finest vocalists in metal today.