Well, well, well – as the star of Soilwork side vehicle The Night Flight Orchestra rises – fast – do we find the flaming ball of gasses that represents the career of the mothership going the other way on new album Verkligheten?

It’s a valid question, of course, and one that the band have seemingly tried to anticipate by writing several tracks that try to fuse these two sides to main songwriters of both bands Bjorn Strid and David Andersson . The excellent track The Nurturing Glance, for example, is a gargantuan mix of Judas Priest and TNFO (with a pleasant back wash of Children of Bodom for extra bombast), these seemingly disparate strands meshing seamlessly to create a quite superb end result. Couple this with the riffy classicisms of tracks like Stålfågel – which, against all the odds, succeeds as the sound of a death metal band trying their hand at a slice of Survivor-styled AOR – and you’ll quickly realise that Verkligheten is by quite some way the most bare-faced melodic album of this band’s (already admittedly quite melodic) career.

This being the case, you might expect the out-and-out heavy tracks to come across as afterthoughts, or half-cock motions-traversing sops to long term Soilwork fans. But that isn’t the case; When the Universe Spoke is satisfyingly violent, Strid spitting out the lyrics with all the venom we’ve come to expect whilst new drummer Bastian Thusgaard giving the kit the sort of kicking fans of his predecessor Dirk Verbeuren will be hard pressed to find fault with. All of Soilwork’s many facets get a workout on this album, which of course is going to annoy some people, but really for the most part the band have fused all these on-the-face-of-it unworkable juxtapositions into a supremely listenable album.

Fans of pure death can leave this alone, but to anyone else who counts themselves as a fan of heavy music, Verkligheten’s exciting mixing and matching of styles and moods makes for an enticing and satisfying listening experience. Highly recommended!

Soilwork will release Verkligheten through Nuclear Blast on January 11th.