soilwork - the panic broadcast

The Panic Broadcast, Soilwork’s new album marking the return of guitarist/producer Peter Wichers, dropped on July 2nd in Europe… meaning by now most of you have likely heard the whole thing regardless of the “North American release date” of July 13th. But whether you have or haven’t heard it, I figured I’d share my thoughts with ya’ll since that’s why you visit MetalSucks, isn’t it?

Soilwork embark on the MetalSucks-sponsored Panic Over North America tour with Death Angel, Augury, Mutiny Within and Swashbuckle starting on July 14th. Get dates here then get stoked, ’cause we sure are.

My thoughts on The Panic Broadcast after the jump.

  • “Late for the Kill, Early for the Slaughter” is a fantastic album opener possessing every element of Soilwork’s sound and harking back to Chainheart Machine. “Two Lives Worth of Reckoning” is a similarly fast and catchy number of vintage Soilwork.
  • Wichers makes his presence known from the get-go. It’s those bluesy riffs and solos, and those chord voicings he uses in the turnarounds… I’d recognize them as distinctly Wichers anywhere.
  • The guitar solos on this album are awesome, and there are guitar solos a-plenty. While it’d be be easy to credit Peter Wichers — and certainly some credit there is due — I think equal credit should be given to new rhythm guitarist Sylvain Coudret. There are often two solos (or more!) in one song, and the stylistic differences between the two players’ lead styles are readily apparent.
  • “Night Comes Clean” is easily one of my favorite songs on this record. It’s catchy, but in a less deliberate way than many songs on Sworn to a Great Divide (i.e. “Exile”).
  • “The Akuma Afterglow” is another of my favorites. It’s the perfect mid-tempo, melodic Soilwork album-closer ala “Soilworker’s Song of the Damned” and “Wherever Thorns May Grow,” only it’s not the album closer (it’s second-to-last).
  • Keyboards continue to play a dimished role in the band’s sonic palette, which is really too bad. They shine through occasionally for some added texture or a subtle lead line between a verse and chorus, but for the most part they continue to be buried as they have on the past 2 albums. I really wish they’d get back to the prominent role keyboards played on Figure Number Five and prior; it’s an important part of what made Soilwork Soilwork.
  • “Epitome” and “Let This River Flow” are the weakest links and seem a bit forced in the context of this album… but they’re still decent songs.

The final verdict: The Panic Broadcast is a decent album that I think I like more than Sworn to a Great Divide, but it doesn’t top anything from what I considered to be the band’s golden era, Natural Born Chaos through Stabbing the Drama. Still, it’s Soilwork, and it’s instantly recognizable as such; it’s also pretty damn good. These guys are too talented to put out anything less and they pretty much wrote the book on catchy-but-not-cheesy melodeth, so while The Panic Broadcast isn’t likely to gain the band many new fans it does deliver more or less what we, as the existing core of fans, wanted. If you like Soilwork, you’ll like this album.

Listen to a couple of songs from The Panic Broadcast on Soilwork’s MySpace page.


(three and a half out of five horns)

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