Soilwork - The Ride Majestic
Nuclear Blast
Melodic Death Metal
11 songs (49:50)
Release year: 2015
Soilwork, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

Ten albums in and as a follow-up to a successful double album that many doubted the band could manage, it's good to hear Soilwork experimenting with their sound and moving it further onwards. After all, when you compare the band with peers In Flames, it's easy to see who deserves the kudos more, Soilwork actually trying new things and avoiding the temptation to be too radio-friendly. At one point new melodeath albums were met with horrified gasps, but most bands of that tradition seem to be making an effort to be interesting – look at the last few Dark Tranquillity albums, for instance. So I appreciate the effort put into making The Ride Majestic an interesting listen, and fans of the band will love it, even if it's far from the best album they've made.

The (first) title track which opens the album is fairly typical for Soilwork (if, like the rest of the album, tight and technical with more of the hints of prog that made The Living Infinite good) but the following Alight in the Aftermath is the first of several intriguing uses of black metal influence as the band go heavy and introduce blastbeats between choruses and solos, lingering longer on Strid's screams. At this stage in their career Soilwork are married to catchiness, and there's plenty of that here, but the way this is structured into songs is fascinating. The said Alight in the Aftermath turns to prog metal in the second half, then turns heavier than ever with a blastbeat-fuelled section with spat vocals and a torrent of instrumental chaos – it's fresh, it's interesting, and I wanted to hear more…

We do get more, but only later in the album. This is where The Ride Majestic stutters, as it just can't keep its focus. Death in General is a typical mixture of prog-tinged groove and aggressive balladry, mixing clean singing with Strid's usual bellowing – good, but after Alight in the Aftermath's freshness is jarringly normal. It's like Soilwork are afraid to move out of their comfort zone and really do something shocking, so we get hints of this limited experimentation weighed down by the need to stick to the heavy/light formula. Prog tendencies are, as mentioned, woven through the band's output and it seems closer to that genre than melodeath frequently; Father And Son Watching The World Go Down and Petrichor by Sulphur both good examples. Then comes the complete wildcard that is The Phantom, sounding like a different band as downright blackened riffs and an absolute screech comes from Strid, soon reverting to his usual harsh vocals but keeping the new riffs and sounding much darker all in all. And then, a clean chorus, and back to normal!

Maybe I'm wrong to expect more from Soilwork than a different twist on the usual, but it does make for a frustrating listen when you have these undoubtedly talented musicians throwing in little hints of what they can do beneath the usual. It's a very solid if forgettable usual, to be fair to Soilwork, and I've enjoyed the time spent with The Ride Majestic – it's just a shame that they can't be truly revolutionary. The songwriting is solid, catchy and heavy as appropriate, and with these hints of experimentation and increasingly weird song title choices Soilwork are making more interesting choices and taking more risks than, say, At The Gates did with their comeback of last year. Fans will be pleased. Yet I can't help but wish for more, as decent as this is.

Killing Songs :
Alight in the Aftermath and The Phantom stand out
Goat quoted 74 / 100
Other albums by Soilwork that we have reviewed:
Soilwork - A Whisp of the Atlantic (EP) reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Soilwork - Verkligheten reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Soilwork - Death Resonance reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Soilwork - The Living Infinite reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
Soilwork - The Panic Broadcast reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
To see all 14 reviews click here
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