I really wanted to like both of these albums but I just can’t get into them. Moving backwards in time, the newest October Tide was highly anticipated as I’m a huge fan of the original records as well as the newest incarnation of the band. Those first two albums were awesome, filling the gap left by Katatonia’s departure from doom metal. The rebirth was heavy as shit and catchy. This new one is…well, it’s heavy. Track 2 has a super catchy portion in the middle. I generally can’t recall anything else from any other track. It’s true and unfortunate. It’s so mediocre I don’t know what else to write. Is it bad? No. It’s…just…boring.
Oh Soilwork. This isn’t too different from October Tide, really. We’ll just substitute those albums in the middle (anything after Predator’s) for OT’s absence. Then, we had The Panic Broadcast which I thought was incredible. Their new, double-disc effort sounds awesome. It is HEAVY, the mix, the drums, guitars, vocals all sound great. The problem is that I can’t listen to it. Some songs are good. The first track starts out great. However, it all falls into the formulaic problem that plagued everything after A Predator’s Portrait. I remember that album coming out and knowing right then and there that the band was done. You could tell the next album would be all about the hook. The catchy riff that led to the obligatory clean vocal chorus. Here we are again, and some of these chorus parts are unlistenable. They’re cheesy. I can’t do it.
As for the double disc portion, that I can handle. I realize that lots of times a double album means filler. It might not be the case here, but I have a hard time getting through even a few songs. It would be great to enjoy this record, but it suffers from what plagued all those ‘middle’ albums. The planned riff-chorus formula. Meh.