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Album Review

The Panic Broadcast marks the return of guitarist Peter "Vicious" Wichers after five years away from Soilwork, which is big news if one has been following this Swedish metal band for a long time. Wichers was part of Soilwork's original 1997 lineup and left the combo in 2005; he was a vital part of albums like 1998's Steelbath Suicide, 2000's The Chainheart Machine, and 2002's Natural Born Chaos, and he is clearly a vital part of 2010's The Panic Broadcast. So is lead singer Björn "Speed" Strid, who is as convincing on the extreme vocals as he is on the clean vocals. Strid and Wichers sound like they are really glad to be reunited, and they also sound like they have been spending a lot of time in the United States — where metalcore has been a big part of the metal scene in the 21st century. The Panic Broadcast doesn't offer a strictly Scandinavian metal sound, but rather has a strong American influence and favors a combination of melodic hardcore, melodic death metal, and alternative metal. In fact, most of the extreme vocals that Strid provides on this 47-minute CD are in the metalcore/hardcore vein (as opposed to death metal-style Cookie Monster growls), and Strid obviously takes the clean vocals as seriously as he takes the extreme vocals. The clean vocals aren't a mere afterthought any more than the melodies are a mere afterthought; they are an integral part of Soilwork's vision on an album that values melody, musicality, and nuance as much as it values aggression and intensity. And the other four members of Soilwork's 2010 lineup (guitarist Sylvain Coudret, bassist Ola Flink, keyboardist Sven Karlsson, and drummer Dirk Verbeuren) handle the melody/brutality juxtaposition as skillfully as Strid and Wichers. The Panic Broadcast is a fine example of what Soilwork have to offer after 13 years in the mosh pit.

Biography

Formed: 1997 in Helsingborg, Sweden

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Swedish metal sextet Soilwork formed in early 1997, fusing the country's signature ultra-heavy death metal sound with the power-groove riffs of late-'70s, early-'80s British and European metal. Vocalist Bjorn "Speed" Strid, guitarists Peter Wichers and Ola Frenning, and drummer Henry Ranta were all veterans of the Swedish scene by the time they recorded their first demo, In Dreams We Fall Into the Eternal, in 1997; bassist Ola Flink became a permanent member afterward, as did keyboardist Carlos Del...
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The Panic Broadcast (Exclusive Bonus Version), Soilwork
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