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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.