Rating:
6.8
Soilwork - Sworn To A Great Divide
19 October 2007


Disc I [CD]
01. Sworn To A Great Divide
02. Exile
03. Breeding Thorns
04. Your Beloved Scapegoat
05. The Pittsburgh Syndrome
06. I, Vermin
07. Light Discovering Darkness
08. As The Sleeper Awakes
09. Silent Bullet
10. Sick Heart River
11. 20 More Miles
12. Martyr [limited edition & Japanese bonus]
13. Sovereign [Japanese bonus]
14. Overclocked [limited mail-order edition bonus]

Disc II [Limited & Mail-Order Edition DVD]
01. Follow The Hollow
02. Rejection Role
03. One With The Flies
04. Bastard Chain
05. Nerve
06. Stalemate
07. Millionflame
08. As We Speak
+ Exile [video]
+ Studio Reports "Not Quite Studio" & "The DevLab"


Soilwork are of the biggest names in the Gothenburg metal scene and nine years after their debut they bring to us album number seven, "Sworn To A Great Divide". While Soilwork have been around, many things have changed in the world of metal, and one of the most notable changes has been the immense rise in popularity of melodic death metal, or more specifically Gothenburg bands such as Soilwork, In Flames and Dark Tranquillity. Listening to "Sworn To A Great Divide" now, there are quite subtle contrasts comparing with the band at the beginning of the decade.

The key word with Soilwork now is "tightness", each song on the album has some tuneful guitar riff accompanied by precise drumming as if performed by a drum-machine, with Bjorn's doppelgänger-like clean and harsh vocals placed ever so predictably over the top. A band playing so tight together is usually a good sign, it shows the members in the band have musically gelled very well indeed as well as having impressive individual talents, but listening to "Sworn To A Great Divide" it seems as if being tight is the most important element, where in fact it starts to make the music sound very unnatural and machine-like. Soilwork do not break any new barriers with this album, they take no risks at all, if you are familiar with the music of the band then it will feel like you have heard all this before; a verse consisting of cool guitar work and semi-extreme vocals followed by a catchy, melodic chorus with Bjorn's clean singing and then back onto another verse, and so on usually comprises the Soilwork formula.

As I have already mentioned though, these are talented musicians and this is a nice sounding album. Nothing sloppy, everything is compact here into forty minutes of Gothenburg melodic death metal, of course the advantage Soilwork play to here is the thought that if their sound is not broken, then they shouldn't try and fix it. Tracks like the title track "Sworn To A Great Divide" and "Your Beloved Scapegoat" easily pass into your short-term memory, but then also are soon out of it. "The Pittsburgh Syndrome" is one of the highlights on the album picking the pace up to the next level, but this is just one very short highlight in among a field of mediocrity. Indeed, the main problem the modern Soilwork have is that their albums are so monotonous, and so as of course they will appeal to the vast amounts of followers the band have, they never attempt to reach out to new areas and bring in some different admirers.

Gothenburg metal has somewhat become the new nu metal, the new "in thing" in metal, and so this album is almost certain to be hailed as a masterpiece of metal in commercial magazines, but for the more broad thinking individuals this album will not be anything above "just good". Still, without sounding too negative the band do what they always have done, and produce a smooth, clean, solid album filled with catchy melodic choruses and songs very capable of inducing a little head bobbing. Like I say though, "Sworn To A Great Divide" brings nothing new to the table, so I think you already know if you will like this album or not.


Band profile: Soilwork
Album: Sworn To A Great Divide


 



Written on 03.11.2007 by
Baz Anderson
Member of Staff since 2006.
More reviews by Baz Anderson ››



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Queen Of Hippies - 03.11.2007 at 20:37  
Yes, I agree with the review, even if I haven't listened to the album yet. (I did watch the video for the latest single though.)
Soilwork seems not to be able to do something new and original anymore, unfortunately. I also have the feeling Bjorn's vocals get more and more whiny with time. It started irritating me with Figure Number Five, and I don't want to know how annoying it will get with this release.
Opium - 04.11.2007 at 09:29  
Written by Guest on 03.11.2007 at 20:37

Yes, I agree with the review, even if I haven't listened to the album yet. (I did watch the video for the latest single though.)
Soilwork seems not to be able to do something new and original anymore, unfortunately. I also have the feeling Bjorn's vocals get more and more whiny with time. It started irritating me with Figure Number Five, and I don't want to know how annoying it will get with this release.

How did I know you'd leave a remark here?

I haven't listened to the album either, however, it wouldn't surprise me if the remained the same since their previous effort.

Also, you nailed it when you said that Gothenburg Metal has become the new Nu Metal
Blood Work - 04.11.2007 at 12:17  
Great review. I think Baz got it spot on by comparing Gothenburg metal with Nu metal. This is definitly a totally comertially based album. I mean there is a huge difference between the present Soilwork and the Soilwork that brought out Figure Number Five. I was just wondering whether Soilwork should be labled as a Gothenburg band or bands like Arch Enemy or In Flames should be labled in a different genra? How can Arch Enemy and Soilwork be classified in the same group of music? I have checked what Gothenburg metal is and in Wikipedia it is defined as a leading death metl band from Sweden. So the question is whether Soilwork a death metal band? I really dont think so. I might be wrong though. Really looking forward to In Flames release. Hope its just not another commertially based Nu Metal album like Sworn To A Great Divide. Looking forward to everyone's response.
Syk - 04.11.2007 at 14:22  
Written by Guest on 04.11.2007 at 12:17
Mate, don't go just by wikipedia, especially for genres which are for the most part a really opinionated thing. Personally I say gothenburg isn't death metal at all, only the vocals are influenced by it while the rest comes from heavy/thrash/other metal/other music. Looking at structures and the foundations of the compositions, yes, Arch are in a similar style to these guys. Difference in quality doesn't necessarily mean difference in genre. Also, one named subgenre can encompass a variety of different styles, eg. technical grindy metalcore, poppy metalcore, straight hardcore-based metalcore and so on
Passenger - 04.11.2007 at 14:56  
I gave Stabbing The Drama 4.5 in my review 2 years ago. I think I'd rate this album even lower. I used to love Soilwork. I don't know what to say. This may be the worst album I've heard all year.
dancingdecember - 04.11.2007 at 17:00  
Written by Passenger on 04.11.2007 at 14:56

I gave Stabbing The Drama 4.5 in my review 2 years ago. I think I'd rate this album even lower. I used to love Soilwork. I don't know what to say. This may be the worst album I've heard all year.


i congratulate you for being able to give low ratings coz no one seems to do so even if they say nothing good in review.

and i really detest soilwork.the guys the music the sound the vocals..piece of horsecrap for me.the fact that they do nothing new and all eras of them are "influenced" mostly by in flames is just sickens me.why do you even exist if you always do the same thing and the thing that you do is already done by better bands in better ways that you do?a band must develope its unique atmosphere or sound.either it would be vocals or the way they play.otherwise its a joke.
Blood Work - 04.11.2007 at 17:14  
Written by Syk on 04.11.2007 at 14:22

Written by Guest on 04.11.2007 at 12:17
Mate, don't go just by wikipedia, especially for genres which are for the most part a really opinionated thing. Personally I say gothenburg isn't death metal at all, only the vocals are influenced by it while the rest comes from heavy/thrash/other metal/other music. Looking at structures and the foundations of the compositions, yes, Arch are in a similar style to these guys. Difference in quality doesn't necessarily mean difference in genre. Also, one named subgenre can encompass a variety of different styles, eg. technical grindy metalcore, poppy metalcore, straight hardcore-based metalcore and so on


I get your point, allthough I am not to familiar with metalcore subgenre, but I have noticed the subgenre within Thrash metal, eg. Heavy,Hardcore,Death,Bay Arena and so on. The point that I wanted to make is that I think that its time to make subgenre within Gothenburg metal. I mean Arch Enemy is one of my all time favourite band, and to be classified under the same style as Soilwork, well I just dont agree with that. See what is happening, it is because of bands like Soilwork, Gothenburg are being labled as Nu metal, which is absolutely wrong because groups like Drak Tranquility, In Flames are not Nu metal. And the part regarding the vocals being influeced by Death, well I dont feel any death influence in Bjorn's voice, its all a mixture of heavy tune with clean vocal.
Syk - 04.11.2007 at 17:28  
Written by Guest on 04.11.2007 at 17:14
I thought that was why these bands (see In Flames' styles section) are labelled as "nu gothenburg" - because of the prominence of the electronica influence and saccharine clean vocals, as opposed to the relative lack of these elements in Arch Enemy etc. Or you can call Arch "death gothenburg" or something while keeping the "death" away from those other bands
Unconsecrated - 04.11.2007 at 18:52  
I've been disliking Soilwork since "Stabbing The Drama", but this album is even worse. From now on, my interest for Soilwork is dead.
Spyroid - 04.11.2007 at 20:33  
I liked many songs on Stabbing the Drama - the performance and production was great. Although it had a lot of flaws.
I have only heard one song from Sworn... - Exile. Which is said to be the worst song, so I might give it another chance. After all, the guys are from my hometown. And the coverart is awesome!

Great review btw Baz.
HardSide - 05.11.2007 at 02:41  
I though Devin Townsend was working on this album with Soilwork? Like he did with SteelBath Suicide...am i wrong?
Marcel Hubregtse - 05.11.2007 at 07:55  
Written by HardSide on 05.11.2007 at 02:41

I though Devin Townsend was working on this album with Soilwork? Like he did with SteelBath Suicide...am i wrong?


Devin Twonsend recorded Bjorn's vocals for this latest album SOilwork and porduced Natural Born Chaos, but ha dnothing to do with Steelbath Suicide
Marcel Hubregtse - 05.11.2007 at 07:57  
Written by dancingdecember on 04.11.2007 at 17:00

Written by Passenger on 04.11.2007 at 14:56

I gave Stabbing The Drama 4.5 in my review 2 years ago. I think I'd rate this album even lower. I used to love Soilwork. I don't know what to say. This may be the worst album I've heard all year.




and i really detest soilwork.the guys...


So, you mean to say you hate the PEOPLE because of the music? Have you ever met them? Did they treat you like shit? Most probably not, so it is stupid to hate the people in the band just because you don't like the music they play.
Queen Of Hippies - 05.11.2007 at 10:28  
Written by dancingdecember on 04.11.2007 at 17:00


the fact that they do nothing new and all eras of them are "influenced" mostly by in flames is just sickens me. why do you even exist if you always do the same thing and the thing that you do is already done by better bands in better ways that you do? a band must develope its unique atmosphere or sound. either it would be vocals or the way they play. otherwise its a joke.


I disagree with all this. This review is about the new Soilwork. Listen to the first few albums, and you'll understand what is so special about them. You are denying all the good albums they have released with this post. (Also, would you mind leaving a space between your sentences? It's a bit difficult to read .)
Ronny_Giga - 05.11.2007 at 16:27  
Written by Guest on 05.11.2007 at 10:28

I disagree with all this. This review is about the new Soilwork. Listen to the first few albums, and you'll understand what is so special about them. You are denying all the good albums they have released with this post. (Also, would you mind leaving a space between your sentences? It's a bit difficult to read .)


Well, the first evolution of Soilwork's music for me was ok; well let's say gorgeous... but now i feel they're going back on time... The album Sworn to a Great Divide just as said on the review gives nothing new... I'm not expecting some change of their almost unique style, in fact I don't want it.. but a little more work on the songs, a little more work for the songs won't be bad. Besides they had the album in a short time.

my opinion! good review!!
Locke - 08.11.2007 at 11:53  
A mediocre, forgettable album. A few decent songs don't redeem it. If you interested in good melodeath I'd recommend Scar Symmetry instead
Miss Norway - 09.11.2007 at 01:27  
Im a big fan of soilwork and i think the album was okay,
but it is the worst album they have relesed so far.
A bit disapointed =/
b0000mst1ck - 09.11.2007 at 09:39  
i don't get why most people think this was soilwork's worst album to date. FN5 was their worst IMO. it was rushed big time and it's too generic to be anything decent. there's no variety and almost every song is the same tempo. i know kids that are 17-19 that can write more complex songs than soilwork did for that album.

at least sworn to a great divide has more variety than FN5. take the song pittsburgh syndrome or as the sleeper awakes, then try to compare it to light discovering darkness or 20 more miles. polar opposites.
dancingdecember - 13.11.2007 at 04:25  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 05.11.2007 at 07:57

Written by dancingdecember on 04.11.2007 at 17:00

Written by Passenger on 04.11.2007 at 14:56

I gave Stabbing The Drama 4.5 in my review 2 years ago. I think I'd rate this album even lower. I used to love Soilwork. I don't know what to say. This may be the worst album I've heard all year.




and i really detest soilwork.the guys...


So, you mean to say you hate the PEOPLE because of the music? Have you ever met them? Did they treat you like shit? Most probably not, so it is stupid to hate the people in the band just because you don't like the music they play.


i meant the attitude actually,i dont give a fuck about their personality in their daily lives.no need to be get so sensitive and treat me like im some kinda psycho.relax,they just irritate me that's all.
dancingdecember - 13.11.2007 at 04:34  
Written by Guest on 05.11.2007 at 10:28

Written by dancingdecember on 04.11.2007 at 17:00


the fact that they do nothing new and all eras of them are "influenced" mostly by in flames is just sickens me. why do you even exist if you always do the same thing and the thing that you do is already done by better bands in better ways that you do? a band must develope its unique atmosphere or sound. either it would be vocals or the way they play. otherwise its a joke.


I disagree with all this. This review is about the new Soilwork. Listen to the first few albums, and you'll understand what is so special about them. You are denying all the good albums they have released with this post. (Also, would you mind leaving a space between your sentences? It's a bit difficult to read .)



why would you assume i didn't listen their old stuff?i stick to my opinion and i dont think if a band releases 1-2 good stuff then they should be considered "special",it's the consistent release of quality stuff that makes them special or something real innovative.and well,i couldn't manage to leave space,maybe it was the sentence's destiny to be big !!
AnarChrist - 19.12.2007 at 01:13  
Don't you think it would be about time now to stop blaming Soilwork on not being (gothenburg) melodic death anymore? The style was abandoned years ago.The new Soilwork is solid modern rock with some harsh vocals and I find it extremely enyojable for easy listenings.
The old material was great also,but I honestly don't want them to change back into this lacking genre,especially after hearing the quite bland guitar wankery album that was the new Arch Enemy.
There you go Soilwork,a positive opinion of you.
Baz Anderson - 19.12.2007 at 15:35  
haha. easy listening? modern rock? are you sure that is positive to what they try to be?
bodomroy - 02.03.2008 at 23:32  
I've listened this album a few times and i really can't deal with it.
It's really boring and predictable, it's a pitty soilwork is going downfall
CyberWasted - 31.03.2008 at 14:13  
This is one god awful release. I understand bands can't keep churning the same sound out all the time but what in the hell has happened to this band. Bland, Bland, Bland!!! This once mighty metal band has fallen a seriously long way from their perch, releasing one of the worst albums in the last 10 years. Seriously makes me nauseated thinking about it. 0/10.
BlankFile - 05.09.2008 at 01:43  
Modern Rock. lol. Well Unfortunetly im no longer a fan of Soilwork for the same reasons that im not a fan of In Flames aswell. These 2 bands changed their sound drastically in a truly dissapointing way. True fans no longer identify with these 2 bands. Its imposible!
Atecu - 03.10.2008 at 17:50  
the funny thing is that most of you guys dis like this album and even "Stabbing The Drama" be course they change there style, and yes i must agree there should be a sub title to those "new" styles in Gothenburg.

10/10 from me, maybe just that "New Gothenburg style" i like so much !
MeloDeathViking - 02.11.2009 at 17:49  
Written by BlankFile on 05.09.2008 at 01:43

Modern Rock. lol. Well Unfortunetly im no longer a fan of Soilwork for the same reasons that im not a fan of In Flames aswell. These 2 bands changed their sound drastically in a truly dissapointing way. True fans no longer identify with these 2 bands. Its imposible!


I have to disagree with you. I consider myself a true fan, having all albums from both bands, and I do consider their earlier works their best, but I actually like Sworn to a Great Divide; as well as Come Clarity and A Sense of Purpose. I don't think being a "true fan" has anything to do with whether or not you like the new albums, it has to do with your tastes. "True fans" listen to the album and decide whether its a good album and don't just write it off based on the previous album (I'm not saying that's what you did). But like I said, it's definitely not impossible for someone who fell inlove with the early albums to still like the new albums.

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