Swedish melodic death metallers, Soilwork, have released a new EP called Underworld on the 14th of June via Nuclear Blast.
Underworld features a collection of extra tracks that were previously only available on physical editions of their latest album, Verkligheten. Those tracks are available now digitally, worldwide. It’s quite a nice treat for anyone who didn’t manage to get their hands on the physical edition of Verkligheten, essentially giving us a handful of new Soilwork tracks just 5 or 6 months after the release of their best album in years. Read more about Verkligheten here.
Underworld features 4 tracks in total and comes in at around 19 minutes in length. 3 of those tracks are new to digital and one, Needles and Kin, was available on the standard edition of the album, including online. Nothing left field here either. They were all recorded during Verkligheten sessions and therefore all sound like they sit nicely in this era of Soilwork. Good news, seeing as this is the strongest Soilwork have been in around a decade.
The first track is called Summerburned and Winterblown. It has a little electronica start before a lead guitar takes over. This builds up into a nice little crescendo of metal. Quick drums and in interesting riff mix well with predominantly harsh vocals. The vocals clean up a bit as we head towards the chorus but it stays heavy, keeping a really cool guitar line as the backbone of the song alongside vicious drum speeds. The best of the 4 extra tracks on Underworld comes with the second one, In This Masters Tale.
Strangely, having had 5 months of playing the rest of Verkligheten, this one may be the best song on the whole album. Close to it at least. It’s a quick, pit inducing rager of a track with a consistently quick tempo and fantastic vocals. They are delivered at pace, switching only in pitch and harshness with solid backing. The riffs are great. Simple headbangers with a little less flair. The drums and bass pound at you relentlessly. It’s simply a fantastic metal track, listen to the build up to the chorus and tell me that isn’t perfect?
The third track is called The Undying Eye and is unlucky in that it follows an amazing track so was always going to pale in comparison. It’s decent though. It starts with an exotic sounding melodic guitar and a slightly odd sounding bass line. It all syncs in though forming a fast and crunchy riff with a squealing and swirling lead. The pace is slower and the overall tone is darker here with the drums particularly standing out. Vocals are strong again, utilising the harsh verse, clean chorus style. The chorus vocals soar a bit and sitting over the riff and lead sound a little Scar Symmetry.
We close out the EP, extra tracks, with the original version of the song Needles and Kin. This is the version that features Amorphis vocalist Tomi Joutsen. There isn’t much to be said about this track that hasn’t been said. It’s a great song with amazing drums and riffs. The chorus is catchy and the vocals of Tomi give it all a fresh and new dimension.
Underworld is a great little EP. If you haven’t heard Verkligheten it is a great insight into the quality of that album. It’s also a good example of today’s Soilwork if you haven’t heard them or gave up on them a while back. The additional tracks, for those who haven’t heard them, are fantastic, acting as a natural extension of the full album. Which is what they were of course. It’s been a while since Verkligheten came out and it acts as a nice reminder of just how good it is. Now, I’m off to play In This Masters Tale on repeat for the next week or so.
Underworld is available now on all the usual streaming platforms. You could also get your hands on them by picking up a physical copy of Verkligheten from here.
UK fans can also catch Soilwork live this summer at Bloodstock Festival. Grab tickets for that from here.
Underworld by Soilwork (Nuclear Blast)
The Final Score - 9/10