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On disc: Soilwork

- A Predator's Portrait - Hitomi Iwai - 9 stars
- Stabbing The Drama - Claudia Ehrhardt - 8 stars

Stabbing The Drama

Stabbing The Drama
(Nuclear Blast - 2005)

First I have to confess that I never been a big fan of Soilwork, but that was mainly because of the vocals. A friend told me that on this album they work more with clean vocals then in the past. And so I thought I give it a try. On the other hand I know that the same thing will probably draw old fans away...
Opening with the title track the Swedish kinda show what Soilwork is about these days. Modern thrash metal, but through the clean vocals during the refrain appealing to a larger audience. Stabbing The Drama is - as most songs - a mid-tempo tune with heavy guitar riffing - melodic solos, too - and vocals which vary from hateful shouts to melodic, almost catchy clean vocal parts during the refrain. I my opinion the melodic vocal line makes it more interesting. One With The Flies is a bit faster and has a heavy groove. There are similarities to Korn and other American Nu metal bands... Its more commercial in a way... The most obvious change - beside the vocals - are the drums, coz they worked with temporarily replacement - with Dirk Verbeuren of Scarve. But there are songs like Weapon Of Vanity which are more like the old Soilwork. Thrash with up-to-date technical elements... Relentless they come over you. This is what soilworkers of the early days want to hear - I guess - and they get more of this with Nerve and Stalemate. Brutal vocals attack you. Razor sharp riffs hurt you. The drums and bass blugeon the listener. No mercy!
Great production by Daniel Bergstrand. With this album Soilwork do a walk on the razor's edge. Before they go back to the studio one day they have to decide which way they want to turn. If they leave their past behind, then many will call it a sell out... Personally I think they should continue the way they stepped on with the track Stabbing The Drama. Here I detect that singer Bjrn 'Speed' Strind can develop and I think it's worth continuing to work on this vocals. Already the melodic, clean parts add some more emotions to the mainly hateful growls. If their fans are ready for this, I don't know... Time will tell.

8 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


A Predator's Portrait

A Predator's Portrait
(Nuclear Blast - 2001)

This Soilswork's full-length 3rd album is the 1st CD since they moved to the new record label Nuclear Blast from the French company Listenable. They were often said they had the vein of Arch Enemy, especially due to the same approach featuring the twin guitars and the lyrical guitar solos. However, along with the label change, it seems they Soilers finally established their style which you can call the Soilwork sound. First, Björn 'Speed' Strid (voc) did the new challenge this time, to fill his mid-notes powerful & melodic vocal into the songs besides his high-notes screaming voice what he has used on the whole previous materials. He handles both styles so effectively. I think this also helped their song­writing varieties out to do more expression ways. The remarkable point of Soilwork sound is the guitar combi­nation between Peter Wichers & Ola Frenning. As comparing to the previous albums, these two axemen's bombastic thrashy speed riffs got lesser a bit for sure. Instead of this, their mid-tempo killer riffs and melodic twin guitars will catch the listener's heart as well as the catchy vocal melodies (w/ the melodic voice) in chorus. And I'd like to note the melodic guitar solos are not too-much dramatic but thrilled...this's the cool point. Needless to say, the accurate rhythm sections by Ola Flink (bs) and Henry Ranta (dr) support the base of this new Soilwork sound. The keyboards are not featured so much, they are used like a good spice in the songs. Plus yes, the composition of the songwriting is well-polished too.
I recommend this album to you banging your head as listening to The Haunted, Arch Enemy, In Flames etc. Thrash metal fans will also get interested in this album, I assume. And if you're into Opeth or Freak Kitchen (or both), check it out. Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth) & Matthias Eklundh (Freak Kitchen) appear to this album as guest musicians.

9 stars

Hitomi Iwai


           2008-2010 by Claudia Ehrhardt • E-Mail:

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