Stabbing the Drama
Bjorn "Speed" Strid - vocals
Peter Wichers - guitar
Ola Frenning - guitar
Dirk Verbeuren - drums
Ola Flink - bass
Sven Karlsson - keyboards
Melodic death metal. Although not really related to the death metal genre, it shows some similarities. The foremost sign is the melodies guitars and vocals take during the songs. These however are not cheesy, which makes it non related to power metal bands. But that’s the genre for, being melodic. Is Soilwork
melodic death metal? Barely. Although the vocals do give us a melodic taste, the instruments mainly stick to low riffing, being more Metalcore and Nu-metal. But why am I talking of genre’s, it’s Soilwork
I have to discuss.
is a melodic death metal (so it seems…) from Sweden. Along with bands as In Flames
, Dark Tranquillity
and At The Gates
expanded the melodic feel of metal. While others remained to stick with melodies, Soilwork took a more commercial step with the easy constructed songs. It’s however sad that the thought of making a commercial album redeemed the fun-factor of the songs. Creating too many fillers and only some one-hit wonders.
The foremost problem is the fact that all the songs sound similar. They all bear the same exact formula with the exception of the last three songs. Song starts with an instant kick of the verses screamed by Bjorn. The pre-chorus has a mixture of shouted and sung vocals and kick into the melodic chorus sung by Bjorn. It’s always like that and never changes, which is very sad. When mentioning the instrumentation, I feel that it’s very unbalanced. The keyboards and bass are almost unhearable, while the vocals overtop everything.
Bjorn sounds very angsty when shouting but when he starts singing, it sounds very whiny. It sounds decent though. The guitars barely always stick to low riffing that sounds like technical nu-metal riffing. They’re distorted 99% of the time, but sometimes give a nice solo. As I said, the keyboards and bass are almost non-existent. Although the keyboard is obviously meant to give the songs more atmosphere, other than some intro’s, it does nothing to it. The bass is even worse, the only part when you hear the bass is at the couplets of Observation Slave
. I’m not kidding when I’m saying that if the bass would be left out, the sound would barely change. At last we have the drumming which is obviously the best of the band. Dirk Verbeuren, the studio drummer, delivers technical death metal drumming with many great fills, not to mention tight rhythms.
There is nothing wrong with the rest of the album though. The self-titled track starts out with a keyboard fading-in, before suddenly exploding with the full band to play a typical metal rhythm. The verse is decent as it gets boring after times, but the chorus feels really exciting. However, the same goes with the following 8 tracks, and although songs as Distance
and Observation Slave
have outstanding choruses, it never feels superb. If possible however changes the whole repetition, for clean guitars are introduced. The verses are as boring as ever, but the chorus is probably the first that doesn’t use the whiny vocals. Bjorn uses full power in his voice and proves him to be a very talented vocalist. Sadly Blind Eye Halo
kills the beautiness If Possible
tried a more death metal esque song, but sadly failed into doing this, creating a more Metalcore based song. It’s short and feels like a filler.
The last track is probably the biggest surprise. Wherever Thorns May Grow
starts out epic with melodic(!) guitars, it’s clearly that this is one of their better songs. Although the verse is quite a letdown, since it uses the same formula as the other songs, the chorus is great. Bjorn changed from his high whiny vocals to a more serious low singing way. It suits the song perfect and it’s a shame it’s not been used before.
gives the commercial audience a bad taste of what metal would be like. Same songs, left out bass and keyboard, angsty vocals. If it wouldn’t be for the technicality of some instruments, I could call this flat-out Nu-metal. I will give this album credit though for the good melodies the vocal use in every chorus, but it’s not enough to keep me interested to this band long enough.
Top 3 songs:
1. Wherever Thorns May Grow
2. If Possible
3. Observation Slave
Songs I don’t care for:
Blind Eye Halo
One With The Flies
Weapon Of Vanity