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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.