First gaining momentum in the late 90s with the release of Steelbath Suicide, Soilwork have been playing the melodic death metal game for a long time, evolving from the very fast kind of melodic death metal they started out with over a more powerful, modern variant of the genre to ultimately incorporating more motivational and progressive elements.
Their musical history now gets a new chapter with the release of their tenth studio album The Ride Majestic.
I’ve been eagerly looking forward to this album ever since I saw footage of Dirk Verbeuren, who just continues to refine and improve his drumming, tracking the drums for this record, since that made it seem incredibly straightforward and aggressive. The official album trailer then showed that it’s not as abrasive as I hoped but that much more catchy.
The Ride Majestic is a powerhouse of catchy choruses and verses propelled by swirling blastbeats and, atleast for melodic death metal, pretty progressive riffing.
Almost all of the eleven songs on this album aim for that very motivating, energizing sound with some darker nuances here and there, like in the second half of the second track, Alight in the Aftermath, where the band shifts from a mid-paced marching beat into an increasingly ominous ascent climaxing and collapsing into downward spiraling riffs pushed forwards by a flurry of blastbeats and drumrolls before it shifts into the chorus for one last time.
Another highlight for me was the chorus on Enemies in Fidelity. Lightweight, nimble blastbeats in contrast to slower paced guitars and harmonic vocals with a very strong outro that takes those very same blastbeats and pairs them with some string instruments.
The sixth song called The Phantom is probably the darkest and most intense piece on this album with tremolo picked riffs over some subtle keyboards that add to the dramatic atmosphere of the song.
Many of those moments paired with overall pretty engaging songwriting make this album seem like a return to form for me, since I felt like Soilwork’s previous two albums weren’t quite able to live up to the rest of their catalog. This record is a successful fusion of their powerful early 2000s sound and their current progressive, optimistic and slightly more accessible identity.
The Ride Majestic is a captivating album, brimming with power and infectious, melodic choruses, making it one of the best, if not the best, modern melodic death metal release for me in this year so far.