Sound — 7
The production we're offered is pretty much the standard fare for bands from the Gothenburg scene. There's plenty of 'oomph' but with sufficient clarity for this type of music. If anything, I'd like the vocals to be a bit lower in the mix than they are, but that's about it.
Lyrics — 6
Most of the lyrics seem to deal with personal growth and choosing your own paths, surviving on your own and so on. Nothing overly unusual for this genre, or a band of their age. There're precious few lines in here which really seem to grab you by the balls, which is a shame. Another thing that somewhat bothers me is the rhyming of words, which almost sounds forced at times. An example of this would the chorus to The Pittsburgh Syndrome, but it is salvaged by the line F--k all the details, get on with the show. The lyrics aren't bad by any means, but they're also nothing special. In four words: middle of the road.
Overall Impression — 6
Soilwork's recent output prior to this album has been somewhat mixed. A bit too cute and not enough punch would be my verdict. This album returns to a somewhat more aggressive attitude (think Natural Born Chaos-era and older), which is always nice given the genre. Soilwork have their formula which works good enough for them, but it also gets a bit repetitive. The songs are very predictable and after my compulsory 7-10 listens, I'm frankly quite bored. The performances by the individual members leaves nothing to be desired, all the elements are there but the spark just never bursts into flame. There're several quality tunes thrown in -- the title track, I, Vermin, As the Sleeper Awakes to name a few. The album flows very well, they certainly know how to string together a tracklist, but as a whole, the album comes across as a workman-like effort. It's good, honest blue-collar working man's metal, but not much more.