SOILWORK - Backslash On The Backlash
by Martin Popoff
Well, it's probably time for the backlash to begin in earnest on Soilwork, but before you get out the whips, you might want to take a listen to the awkwardly titled Stabbing The Drama album (boys, boys, boys, this is the kind of thing that fuels backlash - just ask In Flames and Helloween). In any event, if anything, Stabbing The Drama is a ruffer tuffer record than Figure Number Five. It is in possession of a sort of compact and combative intimacy that espouses more of a punky, 'eads down thrash ethic than the self-absorbed bombast of the last couple. (Of note: this interview ran in the Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles, but given the band's current hard touring schedule, I figured a reminder was in order!).
Bjorn "Speed" Strid goes one further in affirming the record's hardness. "I would say this album, in general, is more metal and less pop, so to speak," begins the tall and bald. "It's more riffy and I would say that the guitars are up front again and the vocals... I mean, the whole thing is a bit more dry; the sound is more naked. For example, the guitars are following the double kick drums a bit more. As well, the clean vocals are a bit different; not too many harmonies on the vocals and you can actually hear more of the shape of my voice. In the past we usually had a lot of harmonies, and sometimes it's really hard to hear the shape of the voice; all told, not too many effects and not too polished. There's usually two tracks for the vocals. I mean, I used to use a lot more. Because when you do a harmony, you add two more so you've got four, and sometimes even more. And usually we would use a lot more effects, like delay and reverb. But now it's more dry, although there is still a little bit of reverb, and sometimes a bit of a dirty sound like a radio voice. But it's normally really up front, especially in a song like 'The Crestfallen', in the break, in the C part, so to speak. There's this little moody part where you can hear the vocals really close and that's something I've never done before; it was a real challenge for me as a singer."
Delving into the personality of the last couple o' records, Speed says that "if you compare Natural Born Chaos and Figure Number Five, Natural Born Chaos was a bit more metal. But Natural Born Chaos was a very atmospheric album, tons of harmonies, lots of delay all over the place. To me, that's our most atmospheric album to date. It's a different side of Soilwork, but the Soilwork thing is always there, the riffing and the melodies, just in a different shape, I would say. But Figure Number Five was a bit more poppy, more mid-tempo songs and not so metal. It's almost like a rock album to me sometimes. I mean, it's still metal but I think there's a lot more intensity on the new one."
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