Soilwork- The Ride Majestic
FFO- Melodic Death Metal, Progressive Metal
Soilwork has been a staple in Metal since their debut, Steelbath Suicide back in 1998. So how is the band holding up 17 years later? Like many bands in that amount of time, they have changed almost drastically. Although the band does keep their MDM roots in check, the band, now a days, is focusing much more on a proggier approach to songwriting, The Ride Majestic almost marks a turning point in the band, in which they are continuing to blend chaos with beauty. A great example of this is one of the sexiest ways to play Metal: Blast Beats Over Clean Vocals. The Ride Majestic also showcases a very mature approach to songwriting, no added segments, just because, no extra frills and shakes, just solid playing. Now how does this album compare to the past?
The albums tarts with the title track, The Ride Majestic. It starts with a slower, bluesy guitar riff before coming in with complete devastation and heaviness. What really sells the song is the melodic guitar over the heaviness. The song hearkens back to the days of Figure Number Five in the verse and the chorus of The Living Infinite. Alight In The Aftermath starts off extremely heavy with vibes going back all the way to Steelbath Suicide in parts. This is the first example of doing blast beats over clean vocals. The song goes through many tempo and style variations with a very bluesy solo in between the acts of chaos the rest of the song is. Death In General starts off with some guitar feedback and guitar in the background before the drums kick in with a tom assault. The main riff is a bluesy metal riff over a Meshuggah style beat. While still fast, this is one of the slower songs on the album verse wise. Then mind screws you with some blast beats before the second chorus. Enemies In Fidelity is one of the highlights of the album. It hints at the Figure Number Five and Stabbing The Drama eras of the band with a chorus that blows you away and is the best example of blast beats over clean vocals as the chorus (seriously, how sexy is this?). Petrichor By Surfer is a more dancey, almost pop metal song with a very haunting chorus. If mainstream radio gave it a chance, this would be a great single to have on Top 40 Rock. The Phantom is the most surprising song on the album because it touches on a genre you'd never expect, Black Metal. It even has some Black Metal screams in the beginning of the song. It completely feels like a mix of Melodic Death Metal and Black Metal (that's a genre that should be started asap!). The Ride Majestic (Aspire Angelic) is essentially Soilwork does Dream Theater, but with more blast beats. A part two of the title track if you will, lyrically. Whirl Of Pain starts off with a somber guitar riff and continues on with the slowest song of the album. Even with this being a “ballad” it is still incredibly heavy. All Along Echoing Pain is one of the more mid tempo songs on the album and again, has a Dance Metal feel to it though most of the song. This is quickly changed as soon as blast beats come into play. This could turn into a really great remix if someone decides to give it that kind of attention. Shining Lights is without question fastest song on the album. While the whole song isn't just about speed, it does tears everything apart in it's way with aggression and the right amount of melodicness. Father And Son Watching The World Go Down has a very Progressive Metal vibe throughout due in part to the keyboards and the drums. It has one of the most epic feeling choruses on the album and absolutely perfect closer to the album.
The Ride Majestic is, without question, the highlight of Soilwork's career so far. Everyone is performing at their absolute best. The absolute star of this album is Dirk Verbeuren. I had the pleasure of talking to Dirk a couple years back in support of The Living Infinite and at the time of the interview, he referred to Soilwork as similar to playing in AC/DC where he can, for the most part, relax and groove, compared to what he normally does outside of Soilwork. That is no longer the case. On this album he is balls to the wall from start to finish and showcasing some of his most impressive drum work he has ever recorded. I didn't think it was possible for Soilwork to out-due themselves with the double album, The Living Infinite, but they have shattered all my expectations and released possibly the finest albums in the world of Melodic Death Metal. The Ride Majestic gives to meaning to the words Brutality, Chaos, Melody and Perfection!
Soilwork- The Ride Majestic available now via Nuclear Blast Records
Eluveitie is one of the more celebrated bands in all of Folk Metal, this definitely helps considering they actual use REAL folk instruments in the band. The band celebrates the release of their sixth album, Origins. While not straying too far off the path they helped create, the band has written an album that really speaks to the soul of their culture and shows it to a worldwide audience.
The album starts with an intro track called Origins. It definitely helps make the album feel like a concept album of sorts. The folk instruments come right in after the spoken word segments, slowly building up to a grand takeover. I have a pretty good feeling this will be the first track played on their upcoming touring cycle (either though the PA, live, or both). This goes right into The Nameless. A very strong and heavy track. Chrigel Glanzmann's signature vocal style of course fills the album, but it really sets the tone well for the album. The song itself is heavy, filled with blast beats, and of course a great folkish background that, like the rest of the album, helps the song feel very mystical. Next up is From Darkness. it starts off kinda similar to the previous track. Very fast tempo and mystical. It's a fun thrashy song as well. Celtos starts off a bit different with the first prominent vocal stylings of Anna Murphy. The song is much more midtempo and mellow. It's a nice break from the first couple assaulting tracks. Virunus starts off more mellow then after a short folk interlude, quickly picks up the pace. The song is a good contrast between fast thrashy riffs and folk driven midtempo stylings. Next is a short spoken word passage called Nothing and leads right into one of the strongest and catchiest songs on the album, The Call Of The Mountains. For a long time now, some of the strongest Eluveitie tracks are the ones that are predomently sung by Anna Murphy. This is definitely no exception. While the strong is no doubt more straight forward, it is a fine example of how the band can write Folk Metal that is catchy enough for anyone who enjoys almost any style of music can appreciate. Sucellos comes next and it starts off with some keyboard segments before the guitar riff, then the full fledged Death Metal assault. The song continues on the faster paced Eluveitie style that has become legendary. The next track, Inception, is no exception to this rule either. It's fast, heavy, folkish, and just plain killer. Vianna again is one of the catchiest songs on the album. It is partially, if not fully because of Murphy's angelic vocal styling. It is very midtempo and folky, but done so very, very right. Up next is The Silver Sister. This is a bit different than the other fast tracks on the album. It has more Melodic Death Metal feel to it. it also features one of the catchiest chorus sections on the album. The next song is King. It was the first song released on the album and in a sense, a song that is quite different than the rest of the album. It's a pace that's in between the fast tracks on the album, but nowhere near slow and mellow. A great solid track that is a nice break in the album. The Day Of Strife once again showcases Eluveitie's signature sound. Simply put a killer song. Ogmios is the next interlude song that features spoken word and soundscapes in the back leading into the final song, Carry The Torch. The song is quite an epic song to end on. It feels very triumphant and would definitely be a very crowd pleasing song live. It's midtempo, but a fantastic song to finish off the album. The album fully ends with the outro track, Eternity. It is the final spoken word interlude of the album. It finishes off with a Classical Folk arrangement that fully closes this chapter in the legacy of Eluveitie.
Origins may not be the most dynamic or creative work to date, but it is by far one of the most solid Eluveitie albums. Everything you love about the band is on this album, and done right. All that's left for you to do is to buy the album, spin it, and get ready for Eluveitie to come destroy you live in a city near you in this touring cycle. It will definitely be a memorable tour and a great album to tour behind.
Eluveitie- Origins available NOW via Nuclear Blast Records
- Josh Rundquist (That Drummer Guy)