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Artist: Soilwork
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club - NYC
Opener: Dark Tranquility
Date: 5-1-2005
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Genre: Heavy Metal

It was clear very early in the night that this was to be another one of those great nights to see a show. It was tonight that Soilwork was to begin their US Leg of their first headlining tour in support of their Nuclear Blast Records release “Stabbing The Drama”. Joining them for the grand spectacle would be Dark Tranquility, Hypocrisy and Mnemic. Each of these groups offer an interesting blend of Heavy Metal for you to enjoy.

Mnemic was playing when I arrived and they sounded pretty good to me. This show would prove to be a night of firsts for me. As none of the bands have been seen by me yet. I was very pleased in the chance to see all 4 perform on one night. The thought amused me especially since I have to a lot of concerts recently as I seek to bring the Metal news to the masses a little more than I used to. While I was excited about the lineup, I felt that Hypocrisy was an especially nice addition for me as they had played a number of shows I hit but for whatever reason I just had not been able to catch them. As I listened to their set I found myself very into this blending of traditional metal riffing and classic Death Metal styles. I had only heard a little of the last release “The Arrival” that they did and admitted quickly how much better I felt they were in the live setting than was able to be absorbed on the recording.

Dark Tranquilty was up next and I was floored with the reception they received. It is really impressive to see a capacity crowd for groups that otherwise get little or no airplay in the States (outside of your area college station of course). When they hit the stage it was with a vengeance that I had not seen in a long time. Lead Singer Mikael Stanne literally stole the show with his energy alone. At times during the performance he would jump down between the stage and audience into the photo pit and grab the audience singing right into their faces. Needless to say those in the front ate this up and from my side stage vantage point it was a killer visual. The masters of the Gothenburg style. The band employs a more advanced set of melody than others do and there is a great sense of technical ability showcased. Their latest release on Century Media Records entitled “Character”. I was not able to get the set list but totally recommend you checking them out if you see them supporting anyone the next time they are set to arrive in the States. Their performance level is superb and music intelligent and powerful.

As the smoke machines started up it was now time for Soilwork. The familiar rumblings of "Stabbing The Drama” began and as the band crunched into the set it was clearly on. The group employed the use of more elaborate lighting rigs than their openers; it worked very well for singer “Speed” and increased the sense of drama as they performed. Overall the set was heavy and intense and did not focus on too much from their release “Stabbing The Drama” but also included a fair amount of tracks from their older releases. As the group said, this was the beginning of their first headlining tour so they made sure to give the audience a nice mix of music. Peter Wichers on guitar was getting very into the show and looked soaked to the bone in sweat very early on. I really enjoyed the drum work of Dirk Verbeuren as well. He was killer technically and the riffs almost seemed to be following him as the band progressed in the performance. The sound was also amazing and clean, that’s not always an easy thing to achieve with a metal show as so many factors come into play. As I watched them play I felt as an observer that equal parts of the audience were there for Dark Tranquility as much as they were for Soilwork and that was impressive as well. I have to also say that Speed had a little competition from Mikael of DT, especially when he only stood on stage while his predecessor jumped right into the crowds face. In any case both groups were fantastic and given that neither of them get to play in the States often it was great to catch them. Soilwork was selected as a second stage band for this year’s edition of Ozzfest and while it gives a larger audience some level of exposure for the group they are very early on in the day. I also don’t think they will be given more than 20 or 30 minutes at that time slot. It seems there are some off nights where they are playing with Killswitch Engage and that merits investigation, check your area venues for news on that.

It was definitely a great thing to catch this show, for as Speed noted every band was Scandinavian making this a very Euro Metal tour. I was also very happy to have the assistance of the lovely Nell as my photographer as well. Her work is stellar and you can count on more from her as access is allowed for such activity.

Set Listing:
1. Stabbing The Drama
2. Bastard Chain
3. Flameout
4. One With The Flies
5. Chainheart
6. Overload
7. Needlefeast
8. Bringer
9. Nerve
10. Fig 5
11. Stalker
12. Room 99
13. Rejection Role
14. Blind Eye Halo
15. As We Speak – encore
16. Sadistic Lullabye – encore
17. Follow The Hollow – encore

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--Ken Pierce

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