Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Five Finger Soil Punch: Stabbing the Creativity - 18%

Lord_Of_Diamonds, June 12th, 2019

The days of the early 80s to the early 90s were over. The metal machine was no longer operating at peak efficiency, and several bands were already beginning to feel the stress of having little to no mainstream audience to back them. Butt-rock and pseudo-metal dominated the part of the music world that played real instruments instead of electronics, as metal faded into the background. Of course, there were the metal groups that continually changed their style in an attempt to stay on top and appeal to those who were more used to "softer" music. It was inevitable that Soilwork would have to follow this path. Having already released their D-beat-tinged album "Natural Born Chaos", on which they stepped into metalcore territory, the Swedes decided to take it a step farther after Figure Number Five. Borrowing extensively from all the wrong areas, they turned loose "Stabbing the Drama", their most accessible - and thoroughly terrible - album. The album title may sound interesting, but the album artwork (a cartoon hand holding a knife) is just as sparse, bland, unoffensive, and unobtrusive as the music is.

It comes as a small wonder that the title track is Soilwork's most well-known song. It is the embodiment of the style with which Soilwork shifted even farther away from the melodic death metal style of Predator's Portrait and the metalcore style of Natural Born Chaos, dumbing their music down to appeal to the masses in the wake of their record deal with Nuclear Blast. Soilwork knew full well what type of "metal" music was popular at the time, and they deliberately took influences from those genres in order to strike a chord in the mainstream audience that they had suddenly found. As the intro for the title track hits, an insipid chug-chug "riff" begins, and gone are the days of Wichers and Frenning's simple but powerful patterns and memorable solos. It's a pure prototype for Five Finger Death Punch and their imitators, and it comes as a genuine surprise that Wichers and Frenning are still handling guitar duties.The theme of unimaginative riffs continues throughout the album, with not a single guitar part to be found that evokes the glory days of Soilwork. At times, the guitars make the music border on nu-metal simply because they're so dumbed down, and the power chords during the choruses often reduce the track to alt-rock. It's odd that Soilwork seemed to be under the impression that they had to write overly simple guitar parts in order to be popular and make money. Everything that they wrote before, while definitely still heavy and imaginative, was relatively accessible nonetheless (we're talking about melodic death metal, remember). Here, they took the dictionary definitions of nu-metal and groove metal and made an entire album based around them. The two obligatory thrashers, "Stalemate" and "Blind Eye Halo", are basically the same formula - just sped up to around 230 BPM.

While the guitars (and inaudible bass) explore pseudo-metal territory, the drums try their best to counter the lack of imagination. This record marked the arrival of Dirk Verburen, whose drum parts here didn't always match up entirely with the music. Dirk's predecessor, Henry Ranta, wrote patterns that fit the music perfectly. Ranta relied on basic fall-back metal grooves most of the time, which matched with the subtly simple musical style that Soilwork played in the old days. Dirk's drum parts are no such thing. Everything he plays on this album has the feel of being inventive and imaginative simply because it's all meticulously planned out, only to be played again at a later time exactly as it was recorded. It sounds inventive, but it doesn't feel inventive. At least not in the improvisational sense. It feels forced. The completely plastic snare drum sound (reminiscent of the snare on In Flames' "Soundtrack to Your Escape") doesn't help things in the slightest, either. Now and then, Dirk will pull out a hip-hop influenced swagger groove to go with the nu-metal guitar "riffs", with a kick to match the pattern of the guitars exactly. You can almost hear him wishing out loud, "I want to play something that's not this boring!" Dirk is a great drummer, no doubt, but it's almost like his talent was wasted on the drum parts for this album. He definitely can write better than what can be heard here, but then again, so can the rest of Soilwork. It's all for the purpose of following the path of accessibility that comes with all Nuclear Blast bands.

Over the course of six albums, it's almost like we finally got to hear Speed Strid's balls drop. When you listen to the high-register screech present on the early efforts, and then listen to the Phil Anselmo-like grunts exhibited on this album, it's like night and day. No longer does he sound angry, bad-ass, pained, whatever adjective you want to apply. He sounds instead like he's mildly frustrated. He doesn't even make an attempt at a true unclean vocal technique. Instead, he shouts using a lower register of voice, just like Five Finger Death Punch's Ivan Moody would do in a couple years. It is a legible vocal style, yes - one that is much more legible than the screeches of "Chainheart Machine" and its similar efforts, and one that is not at all uncommon on accessible nu-metal and groove metal recordings. Also accessible is Strid's clean voice (made to sound better courtesy of the then-young Auto-Tune), which delivers melodies that don't feel genuine. They have been purposefully written as they are and fit to certain chord progressions for the express purpose of being catchy. It's quite a downfall from the sparse, darker melodies that Strid employed on Predator's Portrait. Those melodies didn't try to be catchy, although quite a few of them were. They felt real. Here, all the vocal melodies have no honesty in them. They feel tailored to sound more "poppy" and be more accessible, just like so many other elements of this album. Also, every chorus is dominated by a vocal melody, which fits with the bland and formulaic (but accessible) songwriting - whereas on Predator's Portrait, the melodies were put into less predictable places, or at least covered up by decent songwriting. There is a proper way to incorporate clean vocals into this type of metal music, but the way used on this album isn't it. Every single bit of this album is overly accessible, infected by the mainstream, commercialized, and sculpted for release to the masses, to become something that you could compare to a band like Slipknot and argue that Slipknot is better.

This major bump in the road for Soilwork signalled the end of the melodic death metal scene (and indeed, for metal in general) as most knew it, for good. In Flames would continue to play their newer style of metalcore/melodic death metal (the only period of In Flames that I actually enjoy) for a few more years until Jesper Stromblad left the band, only to turn into the alt-rock band that they are today. A new era would be ushered in, when the emo/post-hardcore scene ended in America and Five Finger Death Punch began to bring the wrong impression of metal to a whole new generation. The world's music scene would remain in limbo for a few more years until EDM took the mainstream and Rings of Saturn and Faceless took the metal mainstream. It is truly sad to see Soilwork spiral downward like this, as it always is to see a great voice lose its volume. They may have returned to form briefly in more recent years, but they will never recover from the impact and influence of the stain in their discography that is "Stabbing the Drama".

That is it. The history lesson is over. You may now return to stabbing the drama. In other words, stabbing any copies of this album that you see with your weapon of choice until they are destroyed.

... With a Spoon. - 42%

Dullahan, November 1st, 2017
Written based on this version: 2005, CD, Nuclear Blast

The early and mid 2000's were not very kind to the stalwarts of the previously fledgling melodic death metal, with them either beginning to fall into a void of self-important redundancy (Dark Tranquillity) or, in an ill-planned bid for relevance, butchering their classic sound and parading its empty husk around as if in a freak show (In Flames). With new, fresh-sounding bands like Insomnium, Omnium Gatherum and Nightrage doing their damndest to carry the torch, things were looking grim for the old school folks and for mid-tier acts like Helsingborg's Soilwork, who were already coming from a recent string of underwhelming records.

Their 2004 outing, "Stabbing the Drama", strongly reminds me of a deadpan serious version of a funny internet video in which a guy is relentlessly pursued by an invincible, inescapable murderer whose sole method of dealing damage is hitting victims with a small kitchen spoon until they die. Akin to that, it's almost an unintended parody of modern melodeath, if you will. Or maybe a Siberian Husky puppy, who's crazy to come off as mean and big, but has no teeth, so it kind of looks cute instead. Compared to "Natural Born Chaos", it's certainly darker, yet shallower and even less guitar driven.

Every song fits the same development style; like a drowning man who glimpses a large plank, they all race furiously and desperately towards their salvation (the choruses) without much preoccupation with the surroundings. Bjorn Strid sputters whatever he can in the allotted time he's given, as if filling a quota for lifeless yelling, then takes a sip of chamomile for the inevitable clean hook around the corner. Save for the growled refrain to "Blind Eye Halo", nothing out of the ordinary happens; if you've made it past track number 2, you've heard all the album has to offer.

What holds the whole thing from collapsing around itself is that said choruses are mostly nice. Pop-oriented and harmless at best, they're streamlined and built around Strid's clean singing, which by that time had already become decent enough as to not send most listeners into fits of cringe. He was still far from the accomplished crooner he'd become in a decade, but also safely distant from the dismal likes of Anders Fridén. However, he and Dirk Verbeuren's tight drumming are not enough to save the album from the pit of morasses that is the guitar department, with Wichers and Frenning producing endless waves of groove riffs that sound like transition pieces to more muscular main phrases that never arrive, while leads are sparse and treated like afterthoughts; a long way from enjoying the spotlights that "The Chainheart Machine" provided.

All in all, "Stabbing the Drama" is an improvement over "Figure Number Five" solely because the hooks stick better, but still lacks punch - which it frequently mistakes for cheap grit - and good guitar solos. As it stands, it's not much more than a forgettable affair sandwiched between two really dumb albums in Soilwork's bumpy journey towards redemption. Skip it.

Average as usual - 50%

BlackMetal213, April 21st, 2016

I thought Soilwork was a somewhat cool band when I first heard that song "Exile" from their "Sworn to a Great Divide" album. This was probably about 7 years ago. After that, I found myself checking the band's first four albums, which I still find to be the finest offerings from this band. I never really got into them that much, even with these first four albums. "Steelbath Suicide" is even only slightly above average for me. "Stabbing the Drama" is the band's third album after their stylistic change that took place with their fourth album "Natural Born Chaos" back in 2002. I won't say this is the band's worst album because it's not. However, like anything else from this band, it is plain and average.

Soilwork is extremely similar to In Flames in that they changed from a melodic death metal band into a more groove oriented modern metal band. Although unlike In Flames who have released some amazing albums, I really can't say the same for Soilwork. The guitars on this album hardly differentiate themselves from each other through the tracks. This album focuses on catchy, radio-accessible riffs and groovy licks. There are a lot of metalcore-esque chugs on here. The title track pretty much sums this up at the beginning of the album. There are solos but that doesn't really do the music any justice as they are just as bland as the riffs. These songs all follow almost the exact same pattern. "Distance" is probably the highlight of the album with its catchy chorus and decent yet oh so similar riffs. Regardless, that chorus is still pretty cool.

I've never been particularly impressed by Björn Strid's vocals on any of Soilwork's albums. He is, as I was saying with the guitar aspect of the album, average and sounds plain to me. Although I was comparing Soilwork to In Flames in my last paragraph, I can't really do that here. While I'm not really a fan of Strid's vocals, he is much better as a clean singer than Anders ever was. This is probably the highlight of Soilwork's music for me. His screams, however, just sound boring. Maybe if he joined a different band and used strictly clean vocals, I'd be a bit more impressed. The usually generic vocals on this album are not helped by the lyrics, either. These lyrics, for the most part, seem like they could have been written by an angst-ridden teenager that wants to kill his parents. Come on, Björn. You were in your mid-20s when this album dropped! Get over it, man!

I can't say much more about this album. It's basically 42 and a half minutes of mediocrity. This album was surely an improvement over its precursor but it really doesn't stand out much from anything they would do after. Aside from some decent singing, I can't see much real value in this.

Soilwork at their absolute peak? yup. - 100%

plebman, June 23rd, 2011

This release is possibly amongst the 3 best melodeath releases of all time; In Flames' "Clayman" and Dark Tranquillity's "Fiction" making up the rest. Bjorn's sheer class is evident right through from the beginning of "Stabbing the Drama" (single) all the way to the end of "Where Ever Thorns May Grow", time and time again the ingenuity of Bjorn's unwavering vocals find a new way to distract you, then slap you to ensure you don't know what's coming.

Ola and Peter have absolutely come into their own recording this record, fantastic rhythms throughout with perhaps a few out of place solos flicked in to provide even the most die hard Soilwork fan with something to listen to. In relation to their other albums, this one is THAT much better - even more so than "Natural Born Chaos" and "A Predator's Portrait", lyrically more complex than both of those previous releases.

The best single off this album is difficult to decide, each song being different to one another, but being ultimately catchy in itself in a different way. "Stabbing the Drama" is their best album to date, both lyrically and musically - with a great vocal presence from Bjorn throughout.

Even if you're not a fan of Soilwork, this is a must have for any metal fan; offering a wide variety to a lot of people. Crushing rhythms on "Where Ever Thorns May Grow", catchy choruses on "Stabbing the Drama" and "Distance", with sheer epic vocal presence from Bjorn on "If Possible". Overall, this is their best record, and 1 of 3 releases worth buying from Gothenburg's latest, and one of the greatest. Buy this record, it's worth it!

Something we'd all like to do - 90%

Tides_Of_Time, June 26th, 2010

Soilwork has been an incredible band from the beginning. I got into them through this album and is my favorite (which will probably change with the new The Panic Broadcast).

This album has almost no flaws, it is incredible from beginning to end. You have everything from the crushing "Blind Eye Halo" with no clean vocals as well as the slow and epic "If Possible" being the only song with acoustic guitars. The guitars are crushing and groovy, drums are in your face and noticeable, and the keyboards create an epic or atmospheric background depending on the song. Bjorns vocals are amazing and more diverse than I believe most vocalists can pull off. You have screaming, a little growling here and there, something I think you could describe as a half-way point between screaming and singing, and the segment in "The Crestfallen" where he just talks in a harmonious way. The only reason I would not give this album a 100% is because I feel the melody could have been a little better.

You begin with the title track, which just makes you feel like you're ready to take on a sworn enemy. You have the blast-beat and thrashing "Blind Eye Halo". You have the fast-paced but still melodic and strong "One With The Flies", "The Crestfallen", and "Stalemate". You have the epic and passionate "Weapons Of Vanity", "Nerve", and "If Possible". And finally you have the mid-temp songs all in a row "Distance", "Observation Slave" and the also epic "Fate In Motion".

It's an over-all powerful, passionate album and a definite must-listen for Soilwork fans.

One of the worst albums ever recorded. - 10%

MinaseTaki, March 30th, 2010

Sometimes I wonder if Soilwork actually realise just how low they've been falling since the release of Natural Born Chaos back in 2002. They've dumbed down their performance and taken influences from American mallcore, and the saddest thing of all is that they actually believe they're still a metal band. Sweden's elite metal force. This band is a fucking joke.

Stabbing the Drama is everything metal shouldn't be. Simple, mediocre songs based on soft-loud dynamics reminiscent of Nirvana, ridiculously studio-enhanced clean vocal parts and stupid-ass nu metal riffage are some of the pathetic characteristics that define this diarrhea mess. The drums sound so artificial, and Speed's vocals are just plain terrible. He no longer delivers high-pitched shrieks like he used to do in TCM and APP; he simply sounds like an American hardcore screamer. Everything about this album is absolutely lame.

The main problem is that the guitar is so poor. No memorable riffs, no creative solos, the guitars only serve as a support for the vocals, when it should be the other way around. That is something I have no tolerance for - the guitar work should be the main focus of any metal album, period. The only reason I'm not giving this album a 0% is that Blind Eye Halo has some decent drumming at the beginning, but that's it. Everything else is pure ass.

So there you have it; one of the worst albums ever recorded. It's basically pop music disguised as American alt metal. The worst thing of all is that the majority of Soilwork's fanbase actually prefers their newer records, which is way beyond me.

Stay away from this horrible piece of shit. If you ever see a copy, smash it with the hammer, until every fragment is so small that's invisible.

Fuck Soilwork.

Stabbing is not enough.. - 55%

Lisra, April 19th, 2009

.. you have to shot the fuck as well. The fuck in this case is the boring mess that was Figure Number Five, an astonishing collection of one song repeated a dozen times and no interesting moment whatsoever.

See, a Gothenburg band needs something special. In Flames has more hooks than.. something with a lot of hooks, Dark Tranquility tries to be prog, Scar Symmetry had the wonderful growl of Christian Ãlvestam, At The Gates had its nasty shrieker, Arch Enemy the shredding of the Amotts.. but what exactly does Soilwork have? I haven't found out yet. While the musicianship is competent all-round, and it is by no means bad its bland, unmemorable and insanely trying to be background music.
The much hated Reroute To Remain hat more than half a dozen songs that stuck in your head, Stabbing The Drama has none. While the feeling of "isn't this still the same song?" is gone a constant nagging hint of "haven't I heard this somewhere before?" stays.

The guitars sound modern and artificially thick, which will have traditionalists puking blood and everyone else shrug, because it isn't obnoxious. They play.. well, Gothenburg riffs. With melodies on top. Because its a Gothenburg band. t just fails to be really memorable and feels overused. Apparently Soilwork felt the same because a good part of the guitar work is.. brace yourself.. metalcore chugging. So its a blend of slightly better riffs than on Figure Number Five and metalcore chugging - Come Clarity by their buddies In Flames comes to mind - with solos. Yes, unlike In Flames there are quite a lot of solos present. I just can't remember any of them, so they might as well not be there.

I could go on describing bass, drums and vocals, but really it is just the same as before. Nothing has really changed, the drummer is still ok, the bass uninteresting and Speed makes the best of his vocal abilities. If you know Soilwork, you'll know how it sounds. And I don't think anyone else but fans should listen to this. There's better Melodeath out there, both in the harsh and radio-friendly direction. Go and find them, and let Stabbing The Drama on the shelf.

Listening experience is like drinking stale tab water. It sloshes the thirst but.. you know. Go and get a drink you like instead.

Shoddy SOILWORKmanship - 40%

doomknocker, December 5th, 2008

It's a depressing thing to watch a band you admire more than your fair share go down in flames. And while I'm not against bands changing their sound, there's a difference between "musical evolution" and "musical apathy", wherein the sound degenerates to a hollow shell of a band's former brilliance, either catering to generally two-dimensional masses or just shrugging and releasing such an album without even caring. I'm not sure what compelled SOILWORK to devolve so horridly, but I can honestly say I don't like it. This new metalcore kick of theirs is leaving a sour taste in my mouth, and it all started here...

Almost all notions or the clear production, visceral heaviness, twin guitar rollercoaster rides and percussive chaos are tossed aside like so much shedded snake skin, leaving only the skin and bones of what SOILWORK are all about. Honestly, this is a more bitter pill to swallow than "Figure Number Five", the first step on their slow descent into monotony. Creative Swedish death metal riffing, flowing guitar dynamics and nihilistic screams are replaced with simple harmonic leads, chugga-chugga stop-start guitar work, non-existent bass and hardcore shouts belting prototypical hard/metalcore internal struggle/societal issues tripe that mean nothing in the real world (doing something to fix things is one thing, bitching about things only makes it worse). The production also isn't as clear as it could be and comes off as blurry and more artificial than it should be, almost as cardboard as the song-writing. Then again, for every work of dullness like "One with the Flies", "Stabbing the Drama" and most of "The Crestfallen", there are still some tasty melodies and songwriting with the likes of "Nerve", "Weapon of Vanity" and "Distance". Now if only the entire album were like the good tracks without all the clutter...

So at the end of the day this album is better suited for SOILWORK completists and metalcore fans. Other than that, we're better off with every album up to "Figure...".

Let's make more Predator's Portrait songs! - 30%

Mushypeawarrior, February 15th, 2007

To be honest, this was the second Soilwork album I heard and I was fine with it, I thought I'd found this bands style of music. But after hearing Natural Born Chaos and Figure Number Five, the change graph has confused me. Stabbing The Drama seems like it should've come just before Natural Born Chaos, because it sounds almost exactly like a turning point between that album and A Predators Portrait.

The reason I'm giving this album 30%, is because Soilwork have proved something. They've proved that they lack ideas and that they aren't sure how to please the fans. Yup, this album is just for the fans and the money. It sounds like they've looked back and usd some riffs that they didn't use when constructing APP, in fact, possibly whole songs. The drumwork has been heightened, the guitar work has been heightened, everything has been notably reverted. It's like the rollback option when you uninstall Windows Media Player.

Some people might wonder why I have such a big problem with this, since I liked A Predators Portrait so much and why I gave it less marks than I gave that album. The reason is that the album stagnates in the same way that APP did, but the stagnation starts earlier. It has two killer songs to start the album off, the title track, which has an awesome riff at the beginning, and One With The Flies, which merges melody with brutality for a surprising effect. After those two, BAM! Everything is the same quality as APP from "Structure Divine" onwards.

Also, in the same way, APP's title track kind of brought back the metal to the album for a bit, but a tad too late. Surprise surprise, it's EXACTLY 4 tracks away from the stagnation point, and so was APP's title track. If that's not a sign then by damn is it one hell of a coincidence.

If they merged the first two tracks of this album with APP and kicked out Shadowchild and Structure Divine, that would be the album Soilwork is looking for. But the only problem is, after coming up with 2 or 3 awesome songs, they get far too hopeful about an album and just rush through the other tracks, and it's because of this that the band is taking an even lamer route than Metallica took down the spiralling road of dying musicianship.

I like this record - 75%

invaded, July 17th, 2006

Many people have been bashing this record caliming that Soilwork have sold out and that they've gone nu-metal, I think that this record is pretty straight melodic death from a very tight band with an amazing singer. It may not have the "trooo" quality that some fans may be looking for, but I would that this is a very musically adept record.

For one thing there is way too much riffing on here and some prrtty kickass drumming from newcomer Dirk Verbeuren to kick things off with a solid smack in the opener "Stabbing the Drama". This record however, belongs to Speed, the singer. His screams are pretty good and his clean vocals are absloutely amazing. He manages to find a catchy and impressively coherent melody for each song, and I find the band keeps it fresh on every turn here. The musicians are super tight. The drums and the guitars lock in seemlessly and there seems to be an amazing band chemistry going on throughout the record's entirety.

The record itself has strong songs all the way through. There was never a moment on this record where I was REALLY disappointed. This is just very strong and catchy melodic death metal.

Some particularly good songs are the heavy as shit "One with the Flies", "The Crestfallen" has a very nice breakdown, "Distance" and Observation Slave" are the two tracks which to me had the strongest melodic choruses, and "Blind Eye Halo" is just absolutely crushing with a very effective use of blastbeats.

This is a very solid record with some very strong smart song arrangements and some wicked musicianship. I think there's a reasong Soilwork get the publicity they do; they've truly honed their craft and at least this time, to me, have released a very solid offering.

This album is not even a disappontment - 68%

WitheringToSerenity, June 6th, 2005

Being a faithful follower of Soilwork and their change in direction, Stabbing the Drama really comes as no surprise to me. It is as many have pointed out a logical successor to Figure Number Five. Straying further away from the sound that many enjoyed between the Chainheart Machine-Natural Born Choas era of Soilwork. Gone are the guitar melodies from A Predators Portrait and the continuous aggression of Chainheart Machine. But I'm here to judge the cleverly named *rolls eyes* Stabbing the Drama.

Soilwork is trying to break more ground in creating an intense sound while retaining a more accessible presence simulatoneously with the increased alternation of clean vocals and radio friendly choruses and far more simplistic guitar riffs. There are many moments in this album where I do recall guitar parts that would not be out of place on a nu metal record. Now I'm not going to directly call this such an atrocious name but have they have strayed quite a bit from the metal direction in favour of a more accessible approach. The middle section of Nerve is a perfect example. as well as the helmet reject riff from the verse of The Crestfallen for nu moments.

Even if Soilwork's vocalist have improved his overall vocal's it just begins to seem further our of place than ever before and throughout the entire album the listener is just wanting more and more. The rhythm is not memorable at all as most bands but the problem here lies in that the guitar parts are only slightly above this. Half the time now they do not even achieve half thrash guitar raffs.

All criticism aside, this album could have been alot worse. It had a bit much of a nu/hardcore presence for my taste and I'm sure there are many out there who will appreciate this effort alot more than I have. Their vocalist does not suck and sometimes the riffs are a bit catchy although entirely unmemorable. Nothing headbangable but occasionally enjoyable. I would recommend Natural Born Chaos if you are more interested in the new side of Soilwork because I do feel they have done enough of what they attempted on Stabbing the Drama much better on previous albums.

Good modern gothenburg, with excellent vocals - 80%

DeathAflame, May 7th, 2005

Ah, the new Soilwork release guaranteed to garner much hatred and praise at the same time (much like all Gothenburg these days.) Stabbing the Drama sees the band taking one step forward and one step backward, instead of gutting themeselves completely of metal as they did on Figure Number Five (that while still decent, was very flat and bland compared to previous dynamism of A Predator's Portrait and Natural Born Chaos) Soilwork have brought back an aggressive edge that while not near the quality of TCM or APP(save for the brutal Blind Eye Halo) injects the much needed kick in the ass they needed.

However fans of the almighty Soilwork chorus fear not, the clean vocals are still here in abundance, and Strid has truly become a very versatile vocalist trumping anything he has done in the past by a fair margin. It is also Soilwork's most distinguishing feature that makes them such a scapegoat amongst the metal community, while they are delightfully hooky, and happy there is no doubt they are extremely strong and suit the music surrounding it, despite its predictability and shallowness(if you want depth your looking in the wrong genre and band, Progressive and Avant-Garde is across the hall). Which is why I could never understand the haters of bands like Soilwork, I mean what the fuck did you expect? if you don't like it, move along.

The guitar work of Peter Wichers and Ola Frenning is pretty basic on this release, many riffs are simple displays of rhythm, Fate in Motion comes to mind as one of the key culprits. While other riffs throw around triplets and tremelo's reminiscent of the bands early days (like 5 years ago). The solos while sparse and many seemingly shortlived, are well played with the typical Wichers flair. Noticably, the keyboards have taken an immense back seat when compared with FNF, only truly affecting some intros of songs, and providing some background atmosphere and occasional melody. The drumwork of Dirk Verenbaum is minimalist in most cases, exactly what it needs to be for an album like this. He is only really let lose for the 3 minutes of Blind Eye Halo which seems like it was saved from the TCM sessions and slapped on StD, a surprise and gem for the old fans for sure.

Finally factoring in the production of Daniel Bergstrand, the band reaches its polished pedestal it should, the drums have almost the exact same sound that they did on In Flames last two albums, which can be annoying in some respects but the rest of the band is handled well for a release like this. Overall Soilwork has certainly sprung back to life after the rushed Figure Number Five, and brings hope for the future of the band who still seem to be tweaking the balance of old and new. While their arguably most metal days are behind them, I still recommend Stabbing the Drama to those who enjoyed NBC alot or are in the mood for simple, instantly-pleasing melodic metal that somehow perfectly fills that small void that cannot be filled by other genres.

Very few turns...but still for the worse. - 50%

Agni, April 8th, 2005

Soilwork have always been one of my favourite 'Gothenburg' style bands since I heard their brilliant 'A Predator's Portrait' 4 years ago. Their work before it was awesome, especially 'The Chainheart Machine', but didnt do much to distinguish them much from the rest of the melodic death metal bands coming out at the time. Natural Born Chaos was an excellent step forward towards gaining their own identity, while Figure Number Five was a case of 'more of the same' since it came out barely a year after its predecessor. Which leads us to 2005's Stabbing the Drama.

The album starts off pretty well with the title track, which is your standard Soilwork fare, catchy verse, decent riff and a melodic, memorable chorus...but a few songs down the line and Im thinking, "this album is going nowhere". All the songs are heavily reliant on the choruses, which are the only memorable parts of the songs...but the remaining parts (ie. the verses and the breaks) just sound like they came up with a 'meh' riff on the spot and asked Bjorn to scream over it. Theres too much of chugga chugga going on in the verses, and Speed just sounds like he's going through the motions with his monotonous, lifeless screams. To add to the bland riffs and vocals in the verses, there are barely any solos, which render the songs totally devoid of any creativity.

In the end, (or rather half way through the album) its pretty clear that the guys are just too lazy to write some kickass metal, and are instead just trying to milk to death the successful formula they created on NBC. But the big problem is, theyre running out of good ideas. They've tried to make every song sound like a radio hit, hence they all clock in between 3 to 4.5 minutes, and follow an almost identical pattern, with no room for any creativity. The songs sound more manufactured, rather than 'created', which is eventually why this album has nothing all that interesting to offer, save for some good melodic choruses, and some catchy sections here and there.

In a year where there have already been a string of great albums released, and whole lot more great ones to come later on, Stabbing the Drama will be left languishing in mediocrity, and if Soilwork dont pull up their socks soon, they will just fade into irrelevance as far as the metal scene is concerned.

Autopilot!! - 50%

krozza, March 11th, 2005

Oh sweet Jesus…where to start with this one! It is fair to say that the new Soilwork disc is one of the more polarizing albums that will be released this year. Back in the day – around the ‘Chainheart/Predators’ albums, there was much love thrown in their direction - Soilwork could do no wrong. As we now know, things went a little pear shaped with the arrival of ‘Natural Born Chaos’ and 2003’s ‘Figure No.Five’. Sure, there was still much love to be found for the band. But in total contrast there’s been a hell of a lot of hate develop also. ‘Stabbing the Drama’ isn’t going to help matters either – from what I’ve read, the hate directed towards Soilwork and the band they have become is now at absolute fever pitch.

If it wasn’t confirmed with FnF, the arrival of ‘STD’ will forever split Soilwork’s fan base right down the middle. Soilwork are now akin to someone like Cradle of Filth – adored on one hand and thoroughly despised on the other. Still, none of that is a revelation is it? This has been brewing for a few years now. And really, did we expect anything mind boggling progressive on this new disc? Not fucking likely punters. If you never cared for Soilwork’s last two albums, then you’ll be mortified at the prospect of hearing ‘STD’.

Talk about stuck in a rut. Either Soilwork have become very, very comfortable will churning out what is now a very concise signature sound or they’re at a complete and utter loss as to how to rectify the situation. ‘Stabbing the Drama’ is the result of a band running on autopilot.

Surprisingly, to this hacks ears at least, ‘STD’ is actually a much more enjoyable listen than the abomination that was ‘FnF’. But that isn’t really saying too much is it? Nope, this is a well oiled machine that seems more content to provide what the masses crave rather than pleasing themselves. There’s nothing daring here at all folks – in fact, via the overtly glossy Daniel Bergstrand production, ‘STD’ zeroes in on executing all of those ‘characteristic’ elements that they’ve now become loved/hated (you choose) for to an even more heightened sense of delivery. Cue the template folks – emotive aggression, nu-metal-ish guitar riffs and the now obligatory hash verse/quiet bridge/harsh verse to MASSIVELY MELODIC clean vocal choruses - Every time for every track; Formulaic to the point of redundancy. For fans of Soilwork’s earlier material, that means you’re in for one damn frustrating listen.

Yes, ‘STD’ is a much more tolerable listen than ‘FnF’. At the very least Soilwork have added a bit more beef to their sound and overall the songs are a tad more cohesive. But really, there’s not a whole lot to separate the two. Yet, as much as I despise the bands refusal to tear themselves away from their formulistic song writing approach, the main problem I have with this disc is the same problem that inflicted the last two In Flames albums - The vocal emphasis. Both of these bands have made a dramatic leap from guitar-riff oriented bands to bands that are now solely vocally driven. There is no question in my mind that the guitars come a distant second on this album. Bjorn ‘Strid’ is now such an overriding factor in the way this band presents itself that you’re hard pressed to actually hear anything remotely interesting musically. It’s a sad development that I can’t see being rectified anytime soon.

As stated, ‘STD’ is the result of a band that is quite willing to pursue the mainstream metal market for all it is worth. The recipe is well and truly perfected (according to them anyway) - It’s a well oiled machine that virtually runs on autopilot. Clearly Soilwork can write this shit in their sleep and quite possibly they have another dozen tracks in the can ready for the next round. ‘STD’ is a super slick sounding modern metal album. It’s far from the most remarkable disc you’ll hear this year, but somehow it is strangely enjoyable; or hateable. Again you choose.

Krozza: written for and (english)

New Change Of Direction - 85%

CallerOfTheCthulhu, February 23rd, 2005

Finally, arriving in the inbox was the one promo CD that all the other metal DJs practically creamed themselves over. The two track sampler simply wasn't enough, and it was about damned time this released showed, even if the version here is censored for radio airplay.

Anyhow, everything I have read bashing Soilwork is in comparison primarily to Figure Number Five and Natural Born Chaos. Those are the obvous idiots who have only heard those two and feel that is their "sound". Thanks to the faltering suckcess (heh, impressive word, isn't it?) of Figure Number Five, the band decided to try to reinvent themselves once again, but not into something new. They went back to the style that adorned their Chainheart Machine album, but still keeping hold of some melody.

Many of those who bash this album only listened to the promo two song sampler, or to a few moments of a song, only sampling each off the album, according to many reviewers later on. The fact of the matter is that the band has progressed into a melodic act that can serious destroy any other band, quite possibly In Flames with their pedastols and torches held high. The music is simply fast, catchy, and brutal at times. The vocals are absolutely amazing, ranging from screams to singing (and yes, singing is allowed in a MELODIC act. If everyone sounded like Dark Tranquility metal would be boring), with some pretty impressive lyrics thrown in as well.

Sure Stabbing The Drama isn't the best album compared to their earlier releases, but it can definately hold a torch to them atleast with some of the tracks (i.e.: "One With The Flies"), and is definately their best release in the past couple of years. Those who haven't been fans from the start definately won't like it, and if you though Figure Number Five was the greatest album ever created, then you should just shoot yourself point black with a 9mm if you think you'll like this one. Soilwork isn't nu-metal. They are "gothenburg", and are one of the best...with the two blemishes prior to this release stricken from the record, of course...

Soilwork does it again. - 95%

Justin_Bork, December 23rd, 2004

Soilwork has managed to craft another fine album. Which is quite a feat, as it's their sixth album in seven years. Commendable.

Soilwork changed up a bit on this one like always. Most notably, the production. Soilwork's production is usually thick and dense, this time it's clean and crisp, but still perfectly showcasing the bands talents. Also, the keys, always a massive part of the 'Soilwork sound' have been reduced to mere backround effect here. This is a guitar/rhythm based album through and through, which is new for Soilwork as their sound has always been about the melody and stratosphere. (stratosphere is a term I use to describe 'flying' leads and keys, like you'd hear in most gotherburg bands).

Vocally, Speeds best output yet. Over the past few years, he's really progressed as a vocalist, and has a much easier time transistioning between verse and chorus, as opposed to say A Predator's Portrait where he sounded awkward and uneasy. The guitars here, while not as technical as they used to be, still are very catchy, interesting and drive the sound well, no problems there. The druming is excellent, killer fills and bass work. Would you expect any less from madman Dirk Verbeuren? the man who gives Tomas Haake a run for his money.

The song structure is similar to Figure Number Five, with the songs consisting of verse-chorus-verse-solo structure. But here it's not nearly as power-pop as FNF was. The verses are definetly headbang/pit worthy, very catchy and unique, and the chorus' are a flying affair that will be stuck in your head long after you turn the album off for other things. Catchiness as always been Soilwork's secret weapon, and Stabbing the Drama does nothing to tarnish that fact. Brutal, uplifting, memorable Soilwork. No more, no less. Awesome.

Yes, they can get worse - 22%

stefan86, December 15th, 2004

I can't believe that these guys are releasing another album that sounds exactly the same as their last yet slightly more retarded. "Figure Number Five" sucked quite badly and had about 2 minutes of worthy music and this is even worse. This band isn't even a metal band anymore in my opinion. These songs are pop tunes. A B-tuned guitar that occasionally blurs out something Korn-sounding doesn't change that. There really isn't any metal to be found here.

Basically, it's all the same. The only "progression" they've made is introducing those random fast parts that many tracks on In Flames two latest shitfests had. Many people would call these "Thrash riffs", but what the fuck? It's just a mallcore Gothenburg riff played fast with some muppet-sounding fast drumming on it. That isn't thrashy damn it. The riffs here are generally rehashed "Colony"-Gothenburg stuff or downtuned 3 chord dissonance ones. Either way, they range from almost being acceptable to total suckage. What really bugs me is that most of the musicians in this band are capable of playing something that truly belongs in the metal genre if they wanted to. What the hell, they could have disbanded Soilwork in 2001 and made an electronic sounding rock band instead.

As for songwriting, there's nothing good to find here in that department either. Soilwork were actually achieving their catchiness goals way better around the time of "A Predator's Portrait" and "Natural Born Chaos". The songs here are even more randomly written than those on FNF. Nothing fits together in any way when it comes to riffs, choruses, verses, whatever. There is no musical flow to be found anywhere

This album does what each and every other mallcore/Gothenburg clone does. It wanks around, wanks around some more, and then it's over. There is no direction, no metal and no intensity to be found. I'm sure every fan of swedish pseudo-metal will love this though, because "Stabbing The Drama" certainly shows off what that genre is in every way. Sadly (for Soilwork), I want actual metal in metal. I find this album to be a display of total crappiness.

Soilwork are still here! - 80%

SculptedCold, December 11th, 2004


First thing that should be made clear; those who have never liked Soilwork will find nothing new here, and likewise those who have not liked Soilwork since Natural Born Chaos will not find anything interesting in Stabbing The Drama either. However, while this new record does not deviate from the path set-upon from NBC, and furthermore with Figure Number Five, it does go to surprising and ultimately satisfying lengths to reclaim the 'punch' that many complained was lacking in FNF.

The overall sound is best described as a fine-tuning of Figure Number Five; the songs still feature a lot of radio-friendly 'airspace' interspersed between the heavy power-chording, and even moreso than FNF but arguably not so much as NBC, there is far more melody to be featured here. The candy-sprinklings of electronic keys that characterized FNF have more or less been removed on Stabbing The Drama; the keys having been relegated back to a supporting role, rather than a detailing one. Incidentally, and very thankfully, the riffs and drumming have been given a welcome kick up the backside; there's newfound aggression and power in the delivery on Stabbing The Drama that harkens back to days even before NBC. Songs like Blind Eye Halo, Weapon of Vanity and the beginnings of Crestfallen and Nerve, while still submerged in the staccatto detuned riffing of more accessible metal are nevertheless played and produced with more conviction than ever before in 'new' Soilwork. The drumming is also more adventurous this time around; the bass drumming in particular more often directly supporting the riffs in a fashion reminiscent-of, but not as constant as that of Fear Factory's approach. The melodies, unbelievably, and in spite of the fact that this is undeniably a far more aggressive record than FNF, have been expanded-upon and indulged-in. Almost every single song bar the furious Blind Eye Halo spends considerable playing time exploring extended clean vocal passages with subdued and tastefully used keyboards. While Strid's clean vocals don't explore new territory or hit new highs, they are nevertheless consistent, built-into the songs efficiently, and aren't overly cheesy. What is possibly the most startling change on this record (for me) is Strid's harsh vocals. They're back...and they're the best harsh vocals he's snarled onto disc since A Predator's Portrait. Drier, more aggressive, but also backed-up refreshingly often with new low growls on many tracks, notable ones like Stalemate and Blind Eye Halo making definitive if restrained use of them.

As noted, this won't convert anyone who wasn't into the NBC and FNF records already penned, but for those faithful to new Soilwork, and maybe even for those who were indifferent to those two records, there is a hell of a lot of newfound energy to be credited here.