In a world full of metal bands supposedly selling out in order to appeal to larger audiences, Soilwork have marched to their own rhythm throughout the years. Whilst Soilwork’s sound has undoubtedly shifted over the years, they certainly haven’t sold out. Instead, Soilwork have become something of a critical darling – whilst they are not the most popular band, their records typically perform well critically.
Although their sound has shifted, it hasn’t been dramatic, rather a gradual, subtle shift in song-writing, becoming more grown up with each subsequent release. The Panic Broadcast ushered in a new, more progressive and darker sound, and it is one Soilwork has stuck with since. The Ride Majestic is the band’s darkest album yet, with perhaps the most consistent tone yet in a Soilwork record.
Typically for a Soilwork release, The Ride Majestic opens strongly, with the title track setting the overall mood for the record rather well. It’s a fast, no-holds-barred song that showcases the band’s strongest asset – their drummer. Dirk Verbeuren seems to go from strength to strength, and it almost seems these days that Soilwork are writing tracks around him. The drumming throughout The Ride Majestic sounds complicated, but effortless – it is stupendous.
All aspects of the band seem to have improved over the years, including ‘Speed’s’ vocals. ‘Speed’ has more power to his voice than ever in this record, in both his harsh and clean vocals. He’s also improved in writing lyrics, but this has been evident over the band’s last three records. Overall, I’d say The Ride Majestic is Soilwork’s tightest album in terms of song-writing, consistent style and theme. It’s almost as if they have given us a concept album.
Unfortunately, it isn’t all perfect. There are a few inconsistencies in the record when it comes to vocal delivery. There are certainly a couple of occasions where the vocals become a little cheesy – not quite mixing with the rest of the piece. On a whole though, The Ride Majestic showcases that Soilwork’s writing has improved, and there were more than a few occasions where the hairs stood up on the back of my neck.
There are so many genius moments in The Ride Majestic, so many awesome riffs, so many incredible choruses and have I already mentioned the drumming? This is Soilwork’s most ‘out-there’ album, and I love that they are still trying new things as it made for some incredibly majestic moments. The best of it all though? This is still Soilwork, through and through; whilst it is a continuation and escalation of their darker, heavier song-writing it doesn’t act as a departure in the slightest.
There are plenty of catchy choruses, and the speed of the record almost never gives up. It’s relentless, dark and hugely enjoyable. But the best aspect of the record? It surprised me. I always love a new Soilwork album, but I was slightly hesitant about this one, I mean, how could they follow on their masterpiece – The Living Infinite – with a measly one-disc effort? Personally, I think they’ve outdone themselves with The Ride Majestic. To hell with the few moments holding it back from perfection – I had a great time with this record.
The Ride Majestic is a majestic album from the masters of the melodic death metal scene. It’s a smart, dark and powerful album filled to the brim with incredible moments you didn’t think Soilwork were capable of. I was blown away the first time I listened to this record, and thirty listens on, I am still blown away. Soilwork’s best? I’m not sure, but it certainly was the best album of 2015 by a long distance.