Soilwork is back with their eighth studio album, ‘The Panic Broadcast’. I’ve been listening to Soilwork since ‘Natural Born Chaos’ and have always enjoyed their albums, even though the past few have been a bit lackluster. So, when a new album was announced, it wasn’t even a question as to whether or not I was going to pick it up, it was just a plain fact. So, after two and a half years since their last album, ‘Sworn To A Great Divide’, how is Soilwork holding up? Check afterwards for my official review.
‘The Panic Broadcast’ starts out with ‘Late For The Kill, Early For The Slaughter’, and oh, what a way to start out the album. The first thing I noticed was how tight, focused and polished the mixing and production was. Then I remembered that Andy Sneap (Nevermore, Opeth, Killswitch Engage, Testament) was in charge of mixing and everything made sense. This track is fast, brutal and full of the melody that one expects from a Soilwork song. It also showcases that Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid is still one of the finest vocalists in metal. I haven’t heard such brilliant usage of vocal harmonies in a while. The chorus is nothing short of fist-pumping and chant worthy. This song sets one hell of a tone for the rest of the album. The best thing though? The album delivers.
The production and mixing of ‘The Panic Broadcast’ is nearly impeccable. Andy Sneap’s mixing abilities are outstanding and are easily shown here. Each instrument is crisp, aggressive, present and can be focused on if needed. I could go into details, but there is really no need. I honestly had trouble finding anything in the production and mixing that stood out or was absent. I will say this, though; there is layer after layer of instrumentation and harmonization. You will need several listens to fully appreciate everything that is going with this album.
The album is full of insanely catchy songs pumped full of aggressive riffs, blistering solos and high energy throughout. Many of the melodies are hauntingly beautiful and will make you replay it a few times before you can FINALLY move on to the next track. My only complaint with this album is that it’s only 10 tracks long. Couldn’t they have given me some more? Yes I’m selfish, I admit it.
‘The Panic Broadcast’ hit me like a ton of bricks and didn’t stop until the end of the CD. I cannot recommend this album enough. If you need something driving, melodic and powerful, look no further. You may just have found your Album of the Year.
5 out of 5