Eschewing an updated "best of" collection to follow up 2010's 'The Sledgehammer Files: The Best of Soilwork 1998–2008', 'Death Resonance' is a compilation with Soilwork's fanbase very much at the forefront of its intentions. Rather than serving as an introduction to the progressive melodic death metallers' sonic diachrony, as per the motivation behind standard "best of" releases that seem to sporadically punctuate most bands' discographies, there are no "greatest hits" to be found here. Instead, 'Death Resonance' is a collection of what's been billed as "rarities", alongside two brand new tracks.
The so-called rarities have, of course, been available previously but, for the majority of tracks, never peripheral to Asia. Thus, many songs on 'Death Resonance' have been lifted from various albums' bonus tracks that've only been released on Japanese editions (a seemingly age-old tradition where many bands/labels offer exclusivity for additional content for the Asian market). We're also presented with all five songs from the Asia-only release of 2014's 'Beyond the Infinite' EP - residual racks from 'The Living Infinite' recording sessions. And then there are a scattering of songs from a couple of limited edition boxsets and 7" releases.
You'd expect a compilation of this nature to be both hit and miss, plus incongruous in its flow. Interestingly, that's not at all the case - these songs somehow feel like they belong together. I guess it was a cunning move in presenting the tracks in a reverse-order chronology; opening with the two new songs, and ending with music from the 'Stabbing the Drama' era in 2005. The flow, in that sense, has a nicely regressive feel as the album steadily moves back in time, and isn't as jarring an experience as it could've been, had the songs been ordered more randomly. Also surprising is how great the tracks sound, given their "bonus track" inherency. Of particular astonishment is just how strong the extra material from 'The Ride Majestic' sessions is, given that this was Soilwork's first double album, and the natural expectation is that they'd be a little stretched in maintaining quality across so many compositions. Remarkably, not so. This is a strong collection of tracks in its own right.
I guess it's currently a kind of a transitional period for the band, what with Megadeth recently poaching drummer Dirk Verbeuren and longtime bassist Ola Flink leaving last year, after 17 years' service. 'Death Resonance', in that sense, provides a chapter-closing retrospective on Soilwork, 2005-2015. With the release also said to include liner notes by the band themselves, alongside previously unseen promo and live photography, this is very much a fan-centric offering and, also, indubitably, a fan-pleasing one.
Review by Mark Holmes
19th August 2016
1) Helsinki; 2) Death Resonance; 3) The End Begins Below the Surface; 4) My Nerves, Your Everyday Tool; 5) These Absent Eyes; 6) Resisting the Current; 7) When Sound Collides; 8) Forever Lost in Vain; 9) Sweet Demise; 10) Sadistic Lullabye 2010; 11) Overclocked (2016 mix); 12) Martyr (2016 mix); 13) Sovereign (2016 mix); 14) Whenever Thorns May Grow (2016 mix); 15) Killed By Ignition (2016 mix)
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...very much a fan-centric offering and, also, indubitably, a fan-pleasing one."