“It’s a little bit of a heaven-and-hell situation,” Soilwork vocalist Björn “Speed” Strid tells Apple Music about the Swedish metal band’s 12th album. Translated from their native tongue, Övergivenheten means “abandonment.” Which sounds depressing, but Strid says that’s only half the story. “Personally, I had to abandon a few things in order to get to where I am today,” he explains. “So, abandonment can also be something positive in the end. But I wouldn’t say that it’s a conceptual album around abandonment or anything like that.” As for the heaven-and-hell aspect, Strid points out that he and Soilwork’s other main songwriter, guitarist David Andersson, are in very different places in their lives. “In these latest years, I’m in a very good place,” he says. “But it’s been quite a journey. David, on the other hand, has had some really dark years mentally. So, it’s really hard for us to find a mutual vision, musically, when we’ve been on, like, practically different planets mentally. I felt I had to bring the empowering stuff, the uplifting stuff, whereas David dug deep for the darker songs.” Below, Strid comments on each track. “Övergivenheten” “It starts with a banjo, and this was actually the last song written. I knew we had something special with the main melody—it’s just something that really sticks with you. It’s so melancholic and beautiful. We literally went to church to record those choirs in the beginning, which David arranged. And then, we also had a guy playing that banjo for the intro. It has almost like a Scandinavian spaghetti western vibe to it.” “Nous Sommes la Guerre” “The title is French, and it means ‘we are the war.’ I just want to clarify—it has nothing to do with the ongoing war in Ukraine. This song was written before that, and I believe David is more talking about his inner war that’s been going on. I think most of his lyrics are dealing with that. The melody here is bigger than life itself. It’s really special. It sounds a bit like The Night Flight Orchestra, but everything else has a different vibe. It’s got a big chorus and a really cool drum break in the middle. One of my faves.” “Electric Again” “That’s a really riff-tastic song. It starts almost sounding like a classic early-’90s Stockholm death-metal vibe, like Entombed or Dismember with blast beats. They didn’t really use blast beats that much, but at least the guitar has that sort of vibe to it. And, overall, the song has elements of black-metal and classic heavy metal. The chorus is going to be a tough one to sing live. That’s some really high vocals on that one, but it’s a really cool song.” “Valleys of Gloam” “Gloam means twilight—it’s an Old English word. I kind of surprised myself writing a song like that because it reminds me of the mid-2000s, when Soilwork had more poppy elements. I just found myself wanting to return a little bit to that, but I didn’t want to rehash anything. So, there’s something nostalgic about it. When I listen to it, I have these abstract memories from when I was a kid flashing by. But it’s nice memories. I sort of reconnect to childhood through the song somehow.” “Is It in Your Darkness” “That’s quite a thrashy tune. It sounds a bit like old-school Soilwork, with a Chainheart Machine vibe almost. And then it leads into this really epic and super-melodic part. It’s one of those melodies where we’re really connected emotionally, and that’s something that I’ve noticed in the latest years: I’ve become better at expressing my emotions through melodies. I really like the contrast between the thrashy elements and the melody. Somebody mentioned that it sounds like Mike Oldfield with blast beats, which is quite interesting.” “Vultures” “That’s actually a song written by [keyboardist] Sven [Karlsson]. It’s the only track written by anybody else in the band except me and David. I really tried to poke [guitarist] Sylvain [Coudret] to write some songs for this album as well, but he didn’t. This is a great song, though. Super-nice groove to it. It sort of reminds me a little bit of the progressive elements that we had on Sworn to a Great Divide. That album wasn’t all progressive, but when it was, it was mostly Sven. And those were my favorite songs on that album. So, this is really cool and quite unexpected. Love it.” “Death, I Hear You Calling” “I hope everyone will get the Kiss reference. We were actually going to name the album Death, I Hear You Calling to begin with. But then, we already put out a B-sides album that was called Death Resonance. But I just love the Kiss reference—‘Beth, I hear you calling’—it’s quite brilliant, actually. I’m a big Kiss fan, but it was David who came up with that. I think it’s the album’s rock song. There’s some really high falsettos on this one. It sticks out quite a bit.” “This Godless Universe” “That’s definitely one of my favorites. I loved recording the vocals for this one, but it was a really big challenge. That chorus is like never-ending. David is a master at writing choruses like that. The song has some elements of old-school Swedish melo-death, I would say. In the end of the chorus, I’m singing, ‘All we are is just dust’—backed up by violin as well. It definitely has some interesting elements.” “Dreams of Nowhere” “This was the third single, and we did a really cool video for it as well. Very cinematic. And it’s a super-powerful song. The lyrics are basically about creating your own reality to stay sane. Sometimes you need to do that in order to help the people around you in any way you can, while at the same time creating your own shelter. It’s a tough balance. Musically, I feel it has some elements that remind me of one of my favorite albums, Storm of the Light’s Bane by Dissection. It was released in ’95, and I never stop getting inspired by it.” “Golgata” “I would say it’s one of the most progressive songs on the album, with a really strange drumbeat that I still have not figured out. It was quite a challenge to do vocals for that one as well. It’s got one of the craziest choruses of the album. I also love that last little falsetto thing at the end of the chorus. It’s quite a catchy ending. I think that’s definitely a song that we will try to play live.” “Harvest Spine” “I came up with the title when I visited my parents. They live in the countryside, and I saw this big field that was newly plowed. The shape of it was like a really big human spine, so that’s where that came from. There’s something hypnotizing about that main riff—it’s got such a nice drive to it. It feels like it could go on forever and you would never get sick of it. I’m a big fan of Kvelertak, the Norwegian band. I love how they mix rock and metal in a very unique way, and this song kind of reminds me of that vibe.” “On the Wings of a Goddess Through Flaming Sheets of Rain” “It’s quite a title, I know. This is David’s creation and the last song on the album. What a closing song. It’s a lot to take in. It’s very dark and has almost a destructive feeling over it—and a desperate call for help—but it still has so much beauty and melody. That doomy outro is a very heavy ending to the album. I feel the song is quite empowering even though it’s touching on some really, really heavy topics.”

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