SOILWORK – Stabbing the Drama

SOILWORK’s sixth album continues the sound that the band has been working on for their last two records, Natural Born Chaos and Figure Number Five. Streamlined and digestible yet still retaining a heavy edge, Stabbing the Drama continues the band’s quest for mainstream attention. The album lives (and dies) on the power of its hooks on top of the patented SOILWORK groove, melody, and energetic tempos. Frontman BjornSpeedStrid continues to grow as an excellent vocalist whose abilities as a clean vocalist now outshine his abilities as a screamer/growler. He absolutely shines on tracks such “Distance,” “Nerve,” and “Observation Slave.” The strength of his vocal lines is the most obvious factor when it comes to determining a good song from a negligible one, especially given the fact that the band has taken more of backing role in the music. Overall, Stabbing the Drama lacks a solid punch and just doesn’t play enough to their talents. Though there are some very good tracks, the album wears thin. And the constant bouncy tempos and wash of simple keyboard parts (ala Devin Townsend) become a monotonous blur. It’s frustrating to hear guitarists, Peter Wichers and Ola Frenning, holding back their awesome playing abilities by playing some pretty bland riffs at times. Perhaps these guys need to listen to the latest DISHARMONIA MUNDI album, which pays homage to the first three SOILWORK albums, for a kick in the ass. Either way, we all know that they are capable of so much more and we’ll be waiting for the next one. (Nuclear Blast Records)

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