Soilwork @ B.B. King Blues Club (11/5/2006)

Logo - Soilwork

Artist: Soilwork
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: Mnemic, Threat Signal, Darkest Hour
Date: 11/5/2006
Label: Nuclear Blast Records

There seems to be no stop in the touring when it comes to the bands I was planning to see this evening and this is never a bad thing when you consider that we are talking about Mnemic and the mighty Soilwork from Sweden. The groups made some incredible touring memories for the Metal fans of New York over the past year as not only did they perform a killer headlining set with Dark Tranquillity and Hypocrisy but also they returned later in the year to support Industrial Metal veterans Fear Factory. Joining them on tour would be Darkest Hour and Threat Signal. The club would be shaking to its foundation with all this Metal to enjoy that’s for sure. Here are some of my thoughts on to the way everything transpired.

Threat Signal: Sadly, I totally missed them outright and that bummed me out as I had been hearing some good things about this Nuclear Blast Records artist. They are among the rising Metalcore bands and have a new release on the label entitled “Under Reprisal”. Friends who saw them at some other shows had commented on their standout performance and that they stand best against bands like All That Remains and the others who choose to blend a more technical side to the thrashing.

Mnemic: Tonight would be my fourth time seeing Mnemic in concert, and oddly, this would be the third different singer I have seen in the band. When Soilwork had them on the bill, they had Michael, who was pretty much on the melodic side vocally. The bands style reflected this aspect musically. When Michael left, Tony Jelencovich replaced him, and the band immediately jumped on tour with the one and only Meshuggah for a very short US tour. As a vocalist, Jelencovich was brutal and his vocals dark, angry and aggressive. He was the perfect onstage catalyst to the guitar and bass work of Rune, Obeast and Murcia. However, Tony would not remain in the lineup and it came down to the vocalist of Scarve (Guillame Bideau) to take his place. Bideau seems to be a great choice for the group, as the sound has remained heavy and now instead of one vocal extreme against the other, there is a blending of the styles and it seems to work. Music from their “Audio Injected Soul” release was performed as well as a track from their forthcoming album “Passenger”. Mnemic on the stage is a great experience, as they all seem to love being there and feed off the energy of their fans. The always seem to be well received by whatever headliners crowd they face and the pit often begins as a result to their unique brand of Industrial Metal. Guilliame did a great job and proved very early in the set that he knew how to generate fan response, he also seemed to love being able to play in the US for the very first time. Mnemic, for those that are unaware, means Mainly Neurotic Energy Modifying Instant Creation.

Darkest Hour: I did not know what to expect when Darkest Hour hit the stage but when they did, I felt in fear of my safety because not only was the crowd wild, but the band themselves were all over the place. Running from the backstage to the front and flipping the instruments around. It was a rare instance where I felt that I might be safer out in the crowd for my few moments of photography, but I braved it and raised the horns up as they made sure to give everyone a great time. The group is signed to Victory records, and I can only say that it seems likely that a major picks them up with this kind of vibe hitting the audience. While they are also in the Metalcore genre for the most part, this group really focuses on the Hardcore aspect of music and shows just how well that side works with Heavy Metal music. Watch out for these guys, especially if you are up close.

Soilwork: So now we are here at the headlining moment and Soilwork would hit the stage like a group of returning royalty. This was to be expected as they are veterans in the scene and have long been an inspiration to groups from their area and beyond. Some changes in the lineup had happened not too recently with guitarist Peter Wichers departing from the band. For the touring they needed to do they would use the talents of Andreas Holma of Hypocrisy and Daniel Antonssen to press forward. Daniel would be the guitarist for the NYC show and apparently handling this US leg entirely. The band has not yet found a permanent replacement for Wichers and to my knowledge no decision has been made on who would continue the role in the group. Lead singer Bjorn “Speed” Strid is great onstage and had mentioned in some interviews that it was time to changeup the set list that they would play. This much was a pleasant surprise because while I loved the music I had seen done over the past few times, one does not want a consistent repeat when the band has so much other great material to offer you. As a result, there would be the presentation of material that we have not seen done in some time and it was clear the audience enjoyed the changeup. The band was as intense as ever and the touring guitar work done by Antonssen was spot on, he hit all the leads as far as I am concerned. I think this was easy on the band to sound this tight thanks to the efforts of drummer Dirk Verbeuren who is literally a machine on the drums. Complex syncopation along with deft power makes him a very exciting drummer to have holding this together.

If I could comment on one thing that depressed me tonight it would be the overall attendance that we would see in the venue. So many bands have come through these gates at B.B. King Blues Club and to find the place at just over half capacity for so many killer bands was a little bit of a disappointment. Granted this was a Sunday night performance and Halloween activities had just transpired early the previous week so perhaps that was part of it or perhaps people felt they had seen the roster all too much in too short a time. I am looking forward to the next Soilwork recording, which I am hoping becomes their focus going forward as well as the announcement of a new member in the band on guitar. Above it all, Soilwork is a band that continually delivers and I was glad I was there.

Set List:
1. Bastard Chain
2. Rejection Role
3. Wings Of Domain
4. One With The Flies
5. Distance
6. Neurotica Rampage
7. Spirits Of The Future Sun
8. Light The Torch
9. Stalemate
10. Song Of The Damned
11. Overload
12. As We Speak
13. Stabbing The Drama
14. Nerve
15. Follow The Hollow

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