There has been a lot of competition among metal bands these past few years, and so many of the bands offer nothing at all new to the metal scene. Plus, it doesn’t necessarily make it easier if your band is from Sweden, because there are also several Swedish metal bands (i.e. Arch Enemy, Meshuggah, In Flames, etc.)
Before I heard their music, I had Soilwork pegged as just another metalcore band; but then, on an impulse buy, I gave “Stabbing the Drama” a listen. And when I did, I was very pleasantly surprised. This C.D. isn’t 100% new or innovative, but it’s melodic, and that’s quite refreshing in this day and age.
The guitars are fiery and crunchy, but the vocals are what make these songs pleasing to the ears. Singer Bjorn Strid doesn’t quite have a soulful voice, but it is tuneful and quite impressive. He switches back and forth between angry and aggressive to harmonic and clean. Sometimes, as is the case with tracks five and six, he can sing melodically even when the backing music is heavy.
The title track is a personal favorite because it has rapid stop-start riffs and drumming which is vaguely reminiscent of a jackhammer.
“One With the Flies” is a punching rhythm with cascading riffs, and a nice, melodic guitar solo.
“Weapon of Vanity” has scorching, blowtorch riffs, and “Nerve” begins with thunderous guitar noise and dreary vocals.
“Stalemate” has a sprinting rhythm with running riffs and fast, thumping drums.
“Observation Slave” has a lot of clean singing (some of the vocals sound distant), alongside riffs which are extra crunchy.
“Blind Eye Halo” features grooving riffs, fast snare drumming, and back-to-back guitar solos.
Finally, “If Possible,” has more fast, surging, stop-start, punching riffs, but it ends with some light guitar plucking.
There’s one thing that drags this C.D. down, which is that most of the songs follow the same structure: raging vocals in the verses and singing clearly for the chorus. This structure becomes quite repetitive and predictable, but all in all, I’m very glad I decided to give this C.D. a shot, because it is much more than typical metalcore. Soilwork deserve to have much success with it, because “Stabbing the Drama” makes the band stand out among other modern metal bands. So, if you’ve given up on In Flames, and you’re not sure which other metal bands to listen to (since there are so many), I definitely recommend you give “Stabbing the Drama” a shot.