Stabbing the Drama

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Sweden's Soilwork have walked the heavy metal high-wire throughout their short but prolific career. Extreme enough to convince some of the genre's more suspicious fans of their authenticity to the cause, they've also excelled at flirting with its more mainstream sensibilities, and, like every release before it, 2005's Stabbing the Drama is no different. Like a hyper-efficient assembly line, its songs connect components of the band's hometown melodic death metal to elements of neo-thrash velocity, to metalcore's innate simplicity, to even -- gasp! -- sketchy nu-metal devices (see "Weapon of Vanity," "Distance") in order to construct a well-lubricated driving machine that's ever compact and economical. Needless to say, it's this very economy that will have more adventurous metalheads prematurely dismissing fine songs like "One With the Flies," "The Crest Fallen" and "Observation Slave" as simply "too commercial," or worse, "too American"! But, their unquestionable hooks and irresistible immediacy will likewise manage to effortlessly seduce hordes upon hordes of listeners who are either none the wiser, or, better yet, have little concern for nit-picking over such futile minutiae. And for those who simply must have their dose of untamed aggression, Soilwork still show that they're not beyond satisfying these primal instincts, now and then, turning in a couple of good old-fashioned thrashings here in "Stalemate" and the blistering "Blind Eye Halo." And since it's also true that all of the above clearly categorize Stabbing the Drama as a heavier all-around album than its predecessor, Figure Number Five, it's not like anyone should be surprised by what they hear here.

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