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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.