Soilwork - Sworn to a Great Divide (Nuclear Blast Records) - Back
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Soilwork, once an intense and fresh-sounding offspring of the Gothenburg scene, has become a cliché of themselves on their latest offering. They sound like they’re really struggling to be relevant here, after what I thought was a promising “return to form” record in 2005’s “Stabbing the Drama.” The vocals are tired, with nary a memorable trademark Soilwork harmony to be found (with the exception of the very Sevendust-ish track “Exile”). The riffs are fairly run-of-the-mill, the tempos are mostly of the mid-range variety, and there really aren’t any moments that “wow” me. I can only blame so much of this on the departure of Peter Wichers, but his absence is apparent in the writing. Sure, there are vestiges of past greatness, with some searing speed on “The Pittsburgh Syndrome” and a few emotionally charged stretches in the final two tracks, “Sick Heart River” and “20 More Miles”. But as a body of work, it’s really a yawn. The last album had real energy, focus, and integrity; for a short while I was once again excited about Soilwork’s future. Instead, they disappoint with an album that astonishingly dips below what I once thought was their worst work, “Figure Number Five”. In a scene as vast and diverse as metal’s, a name can only take you so far. Mediocrity threatens to cast this once exciting band into oblivion.

Rating:
65

Reviewed By: Bova