Soilwork has stood at the forefront of Swedish metal for at least 20 years now, a juggernaut that has lived up to the insinuations of their name (i.e; working from the ground up). Eleven albums and a few lineup shifts in, their momentum shows no signs of slowing down; evidenced by the release of their latest EP A Whisp Of The Atlantic while #12 presumably awaits. Comprised of some previously released songs along with some new ones, Whisp brings the goods as a brief but tasty stopgap; the 16-and-a-half title track alone is a constantly shifting odyssey of clean guitar and piano, blazing melodeath and free-floating jazz textures in the interlude and outro- a testament to Soilwork’s versatility in comparison to other bands who rarely venture out of the realm of metal.
For those that are metal purists, despair not: “The Nothingness And The Devil” fills the gap of unbridled, scorching riffery and light-speed footwork, at least until its descent into a relaxing freefall around 4 minutes in. “Feverish”, released last year isn’t too different, albeit with more power and melodic emphasis in its choruses, ending in exquisite fashion with orchestral strings as opposed to keys. “Desperado”, a single from this year is 100% trademark Soilwork, the soaring vocals, proggy guitars and air-tight drums rounding out the package to perfection. Lastly there’s another 2020 cut “Death Diviner”, a mighty tune with a Tool-esque guitar line and vocal work reminiscent of Jeff Scott Soto; in other words it’s essentially like Sons Of Apollo but more extreme- though you’ve probably heard it by now if you’re reading this and already know.
A Whisp Of The Atlantic, without getting into it too much is remarkable for a 5-song EP, and will only make the hunger for a new full length-album that much stronger. Many EP’s of new and old songs can be a total hodgepodge, but certainly not Whisp– the pure strength and sonic capability of Soilwork is on full display here, and there’s no indication that they are beyond their prime or will be anytime soon. All in all, it’s a solid handful of songs that give plenty of promise to whatever comes next.