Friday, April 9

Soilwork Dominates At the DNA Lounge


DNA Lounge
October 27, 2016

All photos by Pollen Heath.

Soilwork brought their energetic blend of metal to the DNA Lounge on Thursday night, playing through a setlist that managed to balance old favorites with new cuts off of their most recent release, The Ride Majestic. In fact, the twelve song set only featured two songs from The Ride Majestic, with the band leading off the show with the album’s title track. The song begins with a delicate intro before going straight into rampaging metal, alternating between punishing and pummeling verses to go along with soaring choruses. Frontman Bjorn “Speed” Strid manages the arduous task of alternating between bloodcurdling screams and highflying clean vocals throughout the song’s duration.


Next up was the fan favorite, “Follow the Hollow,” from the Natural Born Killers album, which again relied on some fearsome guitar and drum playing to get its point across, along with intricate and textured keyboard playing from Sven Karlsson. A few songs later the band rolled out “Rejection Role” from the album Figure Number Five, one of their most straightforward tracks. Backed by a steady and straightforward drum beat from Bastian Thusgaard, the song moves along at a distinctly mid-tempo pace throughout, showing an altogether different side of the band considering most of their material is played at such high speeds. This trend continue with the next song, the grooving “The Crest Fallen” from Stabbing the Drama, a track that mines a heavy and stomping guitar figure from Sylvain Coudret to pummel the audience with a sea of thick distortion to go along with some particularly nasty vocals from Strid.


After another mid-tempo song in the form of “Overload,” Soilwork kicked things into high gear by rolling out the title track of their classic sophomore album The Chainheart Machine. The song begins with the sounds of machines before bursting out with an impossibly fast and technically demanding guitar figure, rolling through the chorus where the ferocity is dialed back just a bit to allow for a deceptively catchy twin guitar harmony from Coudret and Ronny Gutierrez to roar in the background. After a crunching breakdown the song transitions into yet another display of incredibly dexterous lead guitar playing, culminating in two phenomenal and jaw dropping guitar solos from Coudret and Gutierrez before going into yet another pummeling movement before finishing.


The band then slowed things down considerably for the next two songs – the ballads “Whirl of Pain” and “The Living Infinite I,” though it’s hard to truly describe either song as a ballad considering they both retain plenty of heavy guitar work and throat-splitting vocals. To finish off the show, the band brought out two scorching tracks off of 2010’s The Panic Broadcast, “Two Lives Worth of Reckoning” and “Late for the Kill, Early for the Slaughter” which gave the crowd one last chance to really show their stuff in the mosh pit.


Soilwork closed out the set with the surging and slamming “Stabbing the Drama”, an exceptional song that features some of Strid’s best melodic vocals during its memorable chorus, dancing around some more crushing guitar/drum interplay. Once again Soilwork has demonstrated they are still a big force in the underground metal scene, and with their vast back catalogue they have no trouble delivering a balanced and interesting setlist to please both old and new fans.


Metalcore icons Unearth played a tight and powerful nine song set before Soilwork went on, showcasing their incredible blend of hardcore and metal. The band exploded through the stage with the classic “The Great Dividers” to open the show, demonstrating the exceptional rhythm skills of guitarists Ken Susi and Buz McGrath who made the song’s complex picking patterns seem incredibly smooth and simple. This was even more apparent during the song’s climax – an intricate dual guitar harmony that recalled classical rock in its overtones, yet at the same time being totally metal.


What followed was an exhilarating display of unmitigated ferocity from the rest of the band as they tore through a few newer songs, allowing for vocalist Trevor Phipps to display the full range of his venomous and overpowering vocals with the rhythm section of Christopher O’Toole and Jordan Mancino holding everything together in impressive fashion.


Even more impressive is that the two musicians are currently filling in for Unearth’s usual bassist and drummer, and yet you would never notice a difference with how well the two of them have gelled musically with the rest of the group, the mark of a true professional.


The band continued to pummel the audience before closing out the set with the mega-favorite “My Will be Done,” which again manages to balance super complex guitar work without losing an ounce of its heavy metal fury.


Setlist: The Ride Majestic | Follow the Hollow | Rise Above the Sentiment | Rejection Role | The Crest Fallen | Overload | The Chainheart Machine| Whirl of PainThe Living Infinite I | Two Lives Worth of Reckoning | Late for the Kill, Early for the Slaughter | Stabbing the Drama

For more information about Soilwork, see their website.


Setlist: The Great Dividers | Watch It Burn | Last Wish | The Swarm | Giles | Never Cease | Zombie Autopilot | Endless | My Will Be Done

Check out Unearth here.



About Author

Andy grew up in the suburbs of the east bay and became fascinated with the local music scene from an early age, attending his first concert at the ripe age of 14. Since then he has stayed active in the local metal scene, going to countless shows and playing in his own thrash metal band, Invection. In addition to music, Andy has always had an interest in writing and public speaking, eventually graduating with a BA degree in Rhetoric from UC Berkeley. Andy is also an avid runner and running coach, with a USA Track and Field master coach certification. When not attending concerts or track meets you can find Andy running on many of the picturesque trails around the east bay area.

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