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Soilwork - "Sworn to a Great Divide " (CD)

Soilwork - "Sworn to a Great Divide " CD cover image

"Sworn to a Great Divide " track listing:

1. Sworn To A Great Divide
2. Exile
3. Breeding Thorns
4. Your Beloved Scapegoat
5. The Pittsburgh Syndrome
6. I, Vermin
7. Light Discovering Darkness
8. As The Sleeper Awakes
9. Silent Bullet
10. Sick Heart River
11. 20 More Miles
12. Martyr (bonus)

Reviewed by on October 21, 2007

"The seventh album will definitely have its conflicts, especially to faithful fans who question their new melodic sound"

The release of Soilwork’s seventh studio album, "Sworn to a Great Divide," marks another groundbreaking step for the band. If you took a look back, say ahh, 1995 perhaps, and saw a typical Swedish death-metal band by the name of Inferior Breed, many could not see that twelve years later, they would be one of the biggest metal bands ever to invade the US. Kudos!

The seventh album will definitely have its conflicts, especially to faithful fans who question their new melodic sound since 2002’s "Natural Born Chaos." To those of you still alive and breathing, I will just say this: It is an evolution for the new age. This is an evolution that many bands have taken (and will be taking) in order to keep young and middle-aged heavy metal freaks like you and me interested. Soilwork is a masterful living form, taking modern metal to the next level and thus generating a whole new genre of metal music. Now onto the album...

If you were like me and wanted to see how Soilwork would sound if Speed’s vocals were turned down a bit from screeching to more of a melodic tune, you’re in for a treat. The new sound of Soilwork is finally here. After a few albums of experimentation with melodic sound, they have put in healthy, plentiful bunches in every track, like good ol’ cornflakes. The album opener, "Sworn To A Great Divide," punches you in the face, and while you’re down on the ground, makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. But wait a minute, do I smell a mainstream single? "Exile," track no. 2, leaves a solid mark of distinction and marks a definitive, powerful single that holds a powerful album together. So don’t be afraid to sing along! Damn it, Sing! The rest of the tracks, leading to the very last, hold in sync this “new sound” that Soilwork has created. The last track, "20 More Miles," leaves you with a catchy riff-laying, vocal-fronted track that will leave you wanting another 40. Many choruses, such as in this track, are extremely catchy. Just warning you.

The production is crisp and clear, and the vocals are blended in nicely with keyboards and great dual-lead guitar (my favorite type), with Daniel Antonsson and Ola Frenning fingering the metal that is speed and thrash inspired. Each song is a delight, not holding back or going back, but diving into an evolution. The solos are immense! Of course, you get the fade-in’s and other creative vocal tricks I’m sure Devin Townsend had inspired. It is, without a doubt, a fan-favorite from the Swedish metal gods. Not quite a masterpiece, but a fresh new start--one that will be a keeper for the years to come.

Highs: Fresh new melodic sound, production, songwriting; every track is a hit

Lows: Old-school fans may question the new vocal direction

Bottom line: If you've been with them since 2000, don't stop now, the ride's only getting better!

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)