Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Soilwork: The Panic Broadcast (2010) Review

I've already mentioned how much I was looking forward to Soilwork's latest, The Panic Broadcast. It came out yesterday in the US after being out since the 2nd in Europe.

This is still the Soilwork we've had for about the last decade: a mix of Swedish melodic death metal and alternative metal, with some catchy choruses done in Björn Strid's unmistakable voice. They've still got great riffs, and they've incorporated a moderate amount of metalcore into their sound without letting it get too out of hand.

What makes Soilwork stand out so well is, of course, the amazing vocal talent of Strid. He has a great growl and powerful clean vocals. Tracks like opener "Late for the Kill, Early for the Slaughter" and "King of the Threshold" do away with the clean vocals for a bit more of an old-school Soilwork sound. On this album, the clean vocals seem to be more of a stumbling block than an advantage. Tracks like "The Thrill", "The Akuma Afterglow", and "Enter Dog of Pavlov" have some very wimpy clean vocals, and others have a mix of the wimpy and energetic modes. The problem is perhaps never more frustrating than it is on "Epitome"; it could have been the band's greatest track ever, but the chorus drags it down.

There are a couple vocal highlights, though. "Two Lives Worth of Reckoning" is the only cut with Strid's trademark style unsullied by weaker moments. "Let This River Flow" shows a different, morose side to his voice without coming off as underpowered or lazy.

Instrumentally, the album is excellent, the only major misstep being a boring riff in "Night Comes Clean" during some of the harsh vocals. That whole track ends up coming off as a mess as a result.

The Verdict: Soilwork join Nevermore as being a band who made a good album in 2010, but far less than what I expected of them--brought down by lazy performances from some of the greatest vocalists in metal. The Panic Broadcast has a lot of great moments, but a lot of the clean vocals are dull. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.


  1. I haven't liked Soilwork for quite awhile. Seeing as how this is not really a glowing review, I will probably pass on this one. Thanks, you saved me $15.00.

  2. I really don't get it. At first I thought maybe I was being too harsh, but then I listened to their last album, and it just blew this away.

  3. Also, I have no clue what the guys at Decibel are thinking. They loved both this album (8) and The Obsidian Conspiracy (9)--yes, good albums, but not even close to the bands' normal output. It's like they're afraid to criticize such big names, for fear of less cooperation from the label or something.

  4. I've been trying to figure that out as well. I'm guessing it has to do with advertising dollars. They don't want to slag the big bands because their labels pay a lot for ads.