Soilwork - Stabbing The Drama
Nuclear Blast
Melodic Aggro/Thrash Metal
11 songs (42.40)
Release year: 2005
Soilwork, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Aleksie
Swedens heaviest (well, sonically anyways) dirt-dwellers have just delivered their sixth studio album to very mixed reviews, and this is very understandable. The band has progressed with their sound even more to the direction that was most prevalent on the previous Figure Number Five, especially in Björn Strids vocals. Speed uses clean vocals quite often here along with his still convincing harsh screaming, with the balance maybe going even a bit over the 50/50 for the cleans, but its quite even. Combine this with the much extended use of keyboards and even some computerized sound effects and you can be damn sure that Stabbing The Drama will induce much frustration and cries of “SELLOUTS” among the hard core fans that hold their copies of Steelbath Suicide on a pedestal.

Many of you might be thinking now “Hey, so they have done exactly the same as In Flames with their latest piece of s…..album!” In certain ways, that´s true, but there is one major difference that is caused by many things. The difference in the big picture is that Soilwork simply succeeds in their musics “americanization” much better than In Flames. Much of Soilworks death metal has been replaced with thrashy elements and especially large doses of aggro metal a la Machine Head or Pantera. Many of you might shrug this, but me being a big fan of mid-90s aggro, I´m quite fond of the accentuation of aggressive riffing that could be straight off classics like Burn My Eyes. I´ll have to admit that the largely diminished amount of guitar solos and harmony melodies is a bummer, but the great riffs make up for most of it, and there are still some fancy soloing like on Nerve and Distance.

The albums opening title track sets an excellent pace with the Panteraesque grooving and excellent drum work, which is still admirably strong and tight throughout the album. One With The Flies, Weapon Of Vanity, Observation Slave and a majority of the songs feature damn catchy choruses, which you would almost want to hate because of the feel that they have been softened up for radio with the clean vocals, but I for one just can´t. They are just damn catchy, not the least because Speed can definitely sing clean parts damn well too. All the old school fans that would deem this album total Linkin Park-wannabeism or such, just listen to the clearest glimpses of good ol´ death on the record, Stalemate and Blind Eye Halo, and the only thing you should be doing after that would be, as The Rock would proclaim, to “Know Your Role and Shut Your Mouth!”

There are some filler songs that don’t contain much hooks, like Fate In Motion and the terribly boring album closer, If Possible. Some decent riffs, but on these tunes the hooky-attempting choruses especially fall down much too easily. The production (the most major failure on Soundtrack To Your Escape for example) is simply stellar, with everything clear and the guitar sounds especially crispy, which puts nice weight on the riff-grinding.

Is this Soilworks best album? No, that moniker I would very clearly still give to The Chainheart Machine. Is this a very good album? Yes, to me it is. Especially since I can count the bands that have stated out with death metal-stylings and once softened up their sound, still produced great results, with the fingers of one hand. Soilwork has expanded and changed quite a bit, and for the most part it has been a success. I have no doubt that the older fans will have problems with this record, but give it time. It opened up for me a great amount once given a chance to mosh. This is no bland 90s pop, don’t get that impression, the band is still damn heavy, just much more melodically so. As for new fans, I would predict that Stabbing The Drama wins Soilwork a whole bunch of them. As for that being a good or a terrible thing, is of course entirely up to you (and probably your possible underground-tr00-evil-cult-deathslaughter-convictions;)

Killing Songs :
Stabbing The Drama, One With The Flies, Weapon Of Vanity, Nerve, Stalemate, Observation Slave & Blind Eye Halo
Aleksie quoted 79 / 100
Jay quoted 65 / 100
Cody quoted 70 / 100
Other albums by Soilwork that we have reviewed:
Soilwork - Verkligheten reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Soilwork - Death Resonance reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Soilwork - The Ride Majestic reviewed by Goat and quoted 74 / 100
Soilwork - The Living Infinite reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
Soilwork - The Panic Broadcast reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
To see all 13 reviews click here
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