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Sworn to a Great Divide

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(29 Reviews)

Metal Album Reviews[RSS]

  • After a few years of hearing about Soilwork and picking up the excellent “Natural Born Chaos”, I had sort of lost track of this band, other than reading about lineup changes, some tinkering with their style, etc. After picking this up on a whim, I have definately decided that the band has changed, and although some have accused them of going mainstream, I certainly like the “new” sound, which basically just finds them developing and expressing their melodic tendencies to a greater degree.

    “Sworn” is certainly not lacking in heaviness; some of the riffs of the title track are as heavy as anything Slayer has ever done. What sets this band apart is their skill and knack for melodic hooks, whether in vocals or guitar, and this acts as a sort of balance to their brutal riffs and rhythmic chugging. They also have a tendency in their new lineup to use the now stereotypical “metalcore” alternating death/clean melodic vocals, but they do it far, far more effectively than most. Perhaps not as progressive as “Natural Born Chaos”, this disc definately shreds, and I think just about any metal fan out there might like this album….if that’s going mainstream, then oh well….check it out!

    Posted on January 2, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • The truth is, “Sworn to a Great Divide” is more or less what you’d expect. The band was quick to describe this album as being a heavy return to form. And yes, there does seem to be some effort to make this album slightly heavier than its predecessor, “Stabbing the Drama”. There are a few more death growls and a few more pounding riffs, but at the end of the day, it just sounds like modern day Soilwork.

    Now, I don’t mean to say that’s necessarily a bad thing. This album is laced with catchy, powerful choruses, something Soilwork has never failed at, and there are several pit-worthy songs here that get the blood pumping. But too much of this album has no soul or vibe, and is way too formulaic for my tastes. The growling verse-singing chorus-growling verse-singing chorus formula tires very quickly, and makes the album disappointingly predictable. There are a select few songs that deviate from this pattern, but it almost feels like those songs are more of an afterthought than anything, a feeble attempt to break up the monotony.

    But I guess it’s a matter of perception. The songs on display here are by no means bad. All in all, it’s a fairly enjoyable listen, but don’t expect to remember much after the album stops playing.

    Posted on January 1, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I’ve been a fan of Soilwork since their 2002 album “Natural Born Chaos”. Maybe it’s because it was the first one I heard that it’s still my favorite, but since then I’ve picked up all of their other studio albums from “Steelbath Suicide” to “Sworn to a Great Divide”, and I can honestly say they’re all great. This latest album is no different, and I would recommend it to both fans and newcomers. If you could only buy one Soilwork album, I would say it’d have to be “Natural Born Chaos”, as that still stands in my mind as their best work, but “Sworn to a Great Divide” is a solid entry into their catalog and anyone who likes Swedish Melodic Death Metal (and really, who doesn’t?) will like this. Highlight tracks on this album include “Exile”, “Your Beloved Scapegoat”, and “As the Sleeper Awakes”.

    Posted on January 1, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • When chief songwriter/lead guitarist Peter Wichers exited Soilwork, it was a question of how the writing would be affected. Also, whether it would still be a strong lineup after bringing in new guitarist Daniel Antonsson. No worry here. The production is as solid as it was on Natural Born Chaos, you have all of the best elements from the previous albums, and a strong vocal performance from Bjorn (whose vocals were produced by Strapping Young Lad’s Devin Townsend). If Stabbing The Drama wasn’t the album for you, this might not be either. Give it a listen.

    The limited edition comes with a bonus track, and a bonus dvd with footage from the making of the album, Exile music video, and a full live bootleg.

    Posted on January 1, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Firstly, it’s very clear that the Steelbath Suicide-Chainheart Machine days are over so save your money and look elsewhere if that’s the type of music you’re looking for. This album and those ones are incomparable for the most part.

    I just got this album in the mail today and after listening to it a few times, I feel that Soilwork have redeemed themselves from Stabbing the Drama (which I thought was a poor excuse for a Soilwork album). Sworn to a Great Divide is a mash of melo and aggressive music and the majority of songs have at least some clean vocals in them. My problem with Stabbing the Drama was that I found almost all of the songs to be not catchy, boring, and lacking the overall quality of Soilwork’s previous work. This album majorly improves on those aspects. I’d put it over Figure Number Five as well since there were only 5 songs I liked on that one. Sworn to a Great Divide is more melo and relaxed than Natural Born Chaos but the quality is still there and I believe it lives up to its Soilwork name. This is the first album since Natural Born Chaos where I enjoy more than half of the songs on it.

    If you enjoy any of Soilwork’s newer work, you should definitely buy this album.

    Songs I liked:

    2. Exile
    3. Breeding Thorns
    4. Your Beloved Scapegoat
    6. I, Vermin
    7. Light Discovering Darkness
    10. Sick Heart River
    11. 20 More Miles
    12. Martyr

    The 4 songs I didn’t list, I give them a rating of “eh” and “so-so”. Their sounds are mostly reminiscent of the songs on Stabbing the Drama which I didn’t like. But hey, if you liked that album then you’ll probably like those ones too.

    Posted on January 1, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now