"The Living Infinite". While it did not make it into my top 20 of that year, it was still a strong effort from the band that led me to believe that they would regain some momentum after several mediocre albums. And it seems like they have utilized that new found flame well and kept it going with this, the band's 10th studio album "The Ride Majestic", a album that spins further with the ideas and influences that "The Living Infinite" had.
I definitely applaud Soilwork for continuing on the same track since I really enjoyed their last album, but I am afraid that the more I listen to "The Ride Majestic", the more it feels like a album filled with ideas that did not make it into "The Living Infinite". Not that the music in here is THAT much worse than what it was in the predecessor, but it still feels a little pale when you compare them together.
No matter what, there is still some good music to be found here, and the guys them self does a splendid job in performing it. I have always loved Björn "Speed" Strid's vocals, both harsh and clean, because he has a really broad range that gives the band some extra dimensions (just listen to "Petrichor By Sulphur" and you will hear what he is capable of). And while the rest of the band does not have as much originality as their singer, they still do their job really well, executing some great melodies and nice riff work.
I do miss the really high tops in this album, songs like "Parasite Blues", "Spectrum of Eternity" and "Rise Above The Sentiment" that gives an album a great edge to it. But at the same time, it is fairly nice that "The Ride Majestic" has a smooth, even line up of good, effective songs that binds well together. There are still some stand outs though, like the soft and catchy "Death In General", and both of the title tracks (Yes, there are two of them, "The Ride Majestic" and "The Ride Majestic (Aspire Angelic)". I would have liked a really heavy tune into this mix as well, but I guess I have to settle with "All Along Echoing Paths" who compromises with a soothing chorus and "Shining Lights" that has small new wave thrash influences in it, sort of like Trivium.
With a more even performance and a continuation on a interesting take of their sound, Soilwork has really nailed it with "The Ride Majestic". I still think "The Living Infinite" is slightly better mostly thanks to its high top, but this album is still a nice melodic death metal album that should make the fans smile, but will probably not generate a greater number of them. Soilwork seems really confident in themselves and their newly found direction, and they should be, because it is a sound that fits them well. Hopefully they do not get all too comfortable, they need some risk taking so they can keep their momentum up, and the ratings as well.
Songs worthy of recognition: Death In General, The Ride Majestic, Petrichor By Sulphur
Rating: 7,5/10 Phantoms