“Are you ready Helsinki?! Are you ready for something fast? Something thrashy? Something brutal? Put those beautiful fucking hands up!” These are the kinds of phrases that an energetic frontman like SOILWORK’S Björn “Speed” Strid will scream right in your face to make you feel alive and to give you one of the best live moments of your entire life.
It’s a very calm afternoon and Mother Nature decided to throw us a few drops of water here in Dallas, so I decided to stay in my cave to listen to some metal as usual. As I’m scrolling through the 200+ bands I’ve been listening to, I found one that’s particularly interesting, mostly because I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing them live ever, and I wish I could do so at this very moment. This time I happily decided to review SOILWORK’s Live In the Heart of Helsinki, out in the U.S. April 7 via Nuclear Blast Records. I have to admit that from the very first time that I saw the name of this band I thought it was not original at all, and that was on my mind for so many years. At time like that I need to remember the name is just an I.D. for any band and it’s not related to the quality of music that they produce (unless they have 4 words in their name, like The MAESTRO STATES).
Now, back to the review, I am pretty sure that every real metal die-hard loves live music, this is what it’s all about. We’re not just people who get CDs, listen to one “new” song for months, forget our roots and are too lazy to go to live shows. In my experience, every concert that I’ve been to brings a very specific memory to my life: people I meet, mosh pits and all kinds of madness that build what a metal show is. With this CD Live In the Heart of Helsinki, I was able to actually explore SOILWORK’s discography in one fine set. They have released ten albums so far, with a few changes in their lineup, but always raising their own bar in the music that they write. This finely produced live disc consists of 23 beautiful songs that average about 4 minutes each. Since I never gave myself the opportunity to listen to a specific SOILWORK song, I found this as the perfect time to get to know what the band is all about and how they do their thing.
Their opening track “This Momentary Bliss” just hooked me up with the immediate melodies that it starts with. As they continue with their set, “Like the Average Stalker” heats up the crowd. “Overload” includes more electronic elements. “Weapon of vanity” is the type of song that will make you headbang with no excuses. One of my favorites, “Spectrum of Eternity”, has a catchy rhythm and then blows your brains out within a matter of seconds. Same thing with “Follow the Hollow” (open those pits up!). “Parasite Blues” is the kind of track that will lift your face up to embrace the sky. Then we come back with the chaos as soon as “Bastard Chain” starts. “Let this River Flow” is the kind of song that will make you stop behaving like an animal and start singing. The songs “Long Live the Misanthrope” and “Tongue” just get you to the halfway mark of this awesome performance. “Nerve” is another song with melodic elements. “The Chainheart Machine” and “Rise Above the Sentiment’ feature those riffs that hit you right in the face when you hear them. Their last songs “As the Speaker Awakes”, “Sadistic Lullaby”, “As We Speak”, and “Stabbing the Drama” basically put an exclamation point on this extreme session of melodic metal.
Overall, I loved this album, just as I enjoy authentic Mexican tacos. Swedish melodic metal maestros SOILWORK, through their album Live In the Heart of Helsinki, prove that their crowds really enjoy them in a live setting with an album that was really well-produced. The vocals are very crisp and clear, the tempo and rhythm of the band in general is very stable, and the crowd reaction is just amazing. It made me feel like I was there at the show! If this band ever has a gig in your town, you’d be a fool to miss them. I just wrote their name down in my bucket list.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM