Soilwork – The Panic Broadcast

Ten seconds into the album and you can see Soilwork mean business. Dirk’s blast intro is enough to answer any probable doubts on whether the panic broadcast (yes! They WERE all over the internet) was really any worth. Soilwork’s 8th studio album, titled The Panic Broadcast (which happens to be a brilliant pun in retrospect) is a ballsy blend of groove, melody and punch.

The Panic Broadcast came out as the highly anticipated return of founder guitarist Peter Wichers who had quit the band after 2005’s release Stabbing the Drama. With Wichers & co. giving every nook and corner of the web a sweep, expectations were soaring high. Speculations on what sound will the band achieve, back-to-basics, more modern etc. were but inevitable.

And I repeat, ten seconds into the album, you can see Soilwork mean business. Late for the Kill, Early for the Slaughter is what Soilwork state on their starter. With Dirk Verbeuren (now three albums old and sounding more free than ever before) blasting his way to kick any remnant of Henry Ranta out of the band (absolutely NO offence to Ranta, who is a GREAT drummer and I STILL miss the Needlefeast chops), to Bjorn Strid delivering those vocals spats, the intro is meant to remind the listener of earlier, simpler, happier times when Soilwork used to churn out pieces like Generation Speedkill, Machinegun Majesty and the likes.

Is Ola Frenning missed on this album? Yes, and no. Enter Sylvain Coudret, who has added a whole new dimension to melodic solos. Original or not is an arguable question, but in the context of Soilwork, Sylvain has added a fresh touch to the erstwhile duo of Wichers and Frenning. Sylvain’s work on Deliverance is Mine is nothing short of astounding. HOWEVER, there IS a mismatch in the playing styles of the two guitarists – something that the highly underrated Wichers/Frenning combo scored on. Was it one of those its-in-the-blood things?

The Panic Broadcast scores on a number of points. Songwriting is top-notch modern metal – something that has angered the elitist and the tr00 – but yeah that’s an old debate. Let’s face it – all you’re gonna get from a band is *an* album. The songs show elements of probably all their previous work. This could very well be the best jigsaw puzzle Soilwork (could) ever solve(d). There’s no point listing out stand-out tracks, but let’s just say I’d recommend everything on this album but King of the Treshold – that one’s quite random.

Production, handled by Peter Wichers himself this time around, comes off as rather over-polished. There is crystal clarity in instrument sounds but I just wished The Panic Broadcast had taken off from where Stabbing the Drama had left. There is ample space on the songs for everyone…except for the keyboard maybe (sorry Sven…).

And yes, the way Soilwork were all over the internet was tr00ly a panic broadcast 😀

No, this album is not a remake of Chainheart Machine, nor is this another Natural Born Chaos. I was rather surprised how reviewers all over kept comparing The Panic Broadcast to these two albums. This one is in-your-face Figure Number Five material. Certain riffs (Let this River Flow, Deliverance is Mine, Two Lives Worth of Reckoning, Epitome) are straight out of Figure Number Five…or maybe its just me. All in all, its 50 minutes of ace modern day melodic SWEDISH thrash!!!

Tracklist:

  1. Late for the Kill, Early for the Slaughter
  2. Two Lives Worth of Reckoning
  3. The Thrill
  4. Deliverance is Mine
  5. Night Comes Clean
  6. King of the Treshold
  7. Let this River Flow
  8. Epitome
  9. The Akuma Afterglow
  10. Enter Dog of Pavlov
  11. Sweet Demise
  • Year: 2010
  • Label: Nuclear Blast
  • Rating: 4/5
  • \m/\m/\m/\m/
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