Marking the return of guitarist, Peter Wichers, "The Panic Broadcast" has quite a bit of hype to live up to. Where many bands have flaked or crumbled under such pressure, SOILWORK has succeeded in creating one of the most ambitious, thoughtful, intricate, and beautiful albums Melodic Death Metal has to offer."The Panic Broadcast" is not for the weak of heart, and may require multiple listens before their true vision can be fully comprehended. That said, this is perhaps the greatest integration of an entire discography that any Metal band has ever done. This is quite a feat for a band that is constantly reinventing itself.
The premiere track hearkens back to the gritty yet epic feel of "The Chainheart Machine", and bears an atmosphere that tends to pop up quite a few times throughout the album. The work just beams with highlights, from the groovy melodies of "Two Lives Worth Of Reckoning", to the fast and torrentially brutal drum claps of "King Of The Threshold", to the majestically paralyzing chorus on "Let This River Flow". There's no end to the diversity of this album, and that's exactly how the group intended it to be.
The instrumentals are so layered, so spontaneous, and so complex that it becomes impossible for one to digest a song in only one listen. Like "A Predator's Portrait", you'll be discovering new sounds, new feelings, and new combinations with each listen for many, many months (or perhaps longer?). Almost every track is rich with full, two-tiered guitar solos, heavy and technically Thrashy riffs, and some very incredible vocal work. Bjorn has cooled off on the cleans for some of the tracks in favor of a blaring yet melodic type of wail, something he does better than any other Melodic Death screamer.
The one foreseeable problem with this new set of songs is that some fans will feel it is "too" diverse, trying to incorporate a piece of every album they've ever done. For those who only like one period of their work, it may be that only a few songs on the album will appeal to them. However, they've succeeded in recapturing the heart and soul from their earlier periods, which we haven't heard in quite a while ("Deliverance Is Mine" sounds like something right off of "A Predator's Portrait"). By far the beefiest Melo-Death album in years, "The Panic Broadcast" is one impressive piece of work. Once again, SOILWORK have redefined the very genre they helped create over a decade ago, producing an album with ‘something' at the very least for fans of any previous period of their back-catalogue. While their name derives from their humble workings from the ground up, "The Panic Broadcast" proves that the sky ain't the limit for these amazing Swedes.