Soilwork at Club Firestone – Orlando, FL – 8/9/10

Soilwork’s Panic Over North America tour should spread panic to the other melodic death metal bands who have been resting on their laurels as the genre has been passing them by.  With Swashbuckle, Mutiny Within, Augury and the legendary Death Angel all in tow, it’s pretty hard not to leave the club without a sore neck and a few battle scars when this tour rolls through town.

An average sized Orlando metal crowd of about 400 turned out on another hot and humid Central Florida Monday and none went home disappointed.  The night opened at 7 with local up and comers Empyrean, who to the surprise of everyone would have given many national opening acts a run for their money.  Swashbuckle brought a touch of humor to the night while still delivering a solid thrash metal set before giving way to fellow New Jersey metallers Mutiny Within.  Augury brought their brand of technical death metal to the table, making sure the mosh pit saw the action it had been looking for all night.  Death Angel came on to great cheers and many people with high expectations.  It was safe to say that after ten songs and a fifty minute set that nobody was the least bit disappointed.  Lead guitarist Rob Cavestany has the power to take a show into his own hands the way that a Dave Mustaine, Alexi Laiho, or Zakk Wylde often does and on many occasions his guitar work will make you forget about the rest of the band temporarily.  His performance set the bar high for Soilwork. It was a night that they converted many fans such as myself into Death Angel fans that will undoubtedly be standing in line for their next show and many more.

At 11:15 the lights dimmed and one of Sweden’s finest exports took the stage for the opening track off of their new album The Panic Broadcast.  A total of five new tracks were on tap for the night which blended seamlessly with the rest of their back catalogue.  The return of guitarist Peter Wichers in 2008 seemed to reignite the spark in the band and the overall depth of their live show which was evident from the first note.  Frontman Björn (Speed) Strid has developed the crowd command and intensity that will remove them from the shadows of In Flames and other bands of the genre once and for all.  His voice remains towering just as it was on their early work, yet he can still tackle the most melodic of chorus without a problem.  While most of the Swedish Melodic Death Metal scene is dissipating or reformulating to a more marketable sound, Soilwork took a much needed step in a heavier direction.  Much to the pleasure of the crowd, even songs like ‘Nerve’ now have a more metal feel to them when played live. The band flawlessly ran through a set encompassing all eight of their albums except for their debut Steelbath Suicide. A little over an hour into the set, drummer Dirk Verbeuren’s drum solo appeared to lead into the show winding down for an encore of ‘Rejection Role’ and ‘Bastard Chain’ before inevitably ‘Follow the Hollow’ would close out the show —  or so everybody thought.  As the band said their goodbyes and the roadies were grabbing the curtains to cover the stage, the “One More Song” chant began.  Speed came back on stage telling us that they wouldn’t play one more song because they were going to play two.  Soilwork’s night ended on a high note with ‘Natural Born Chaos’ and ‘Stabbing the Drama’ and the crowd looked even more lively than they did when the show began almost seven hours before.  The ninety minute set contained all of the energy and power that should be expected from a heavy metal band going on fifteen years and eight albums together, but it is rarely executed as well as Soilwork does nightly.

Overall, the tour packs a solid lineup and there are no bands that feel out of place or like they couldn’t hold up their end of the bargain on stage.  Shows like this are a very welcome change in a metal world full of trendy –core bands being thrown on shows they have no place on other than a few extra tickets sold.  If you missed the tour, keep your eyes peeled for a new album by Death Angel in September, Mutiny Within’s fall tour with Epica, and hopefully more great things from Empyrean, Swashbuckle, Augury and the almighty Soilwork in the near future.

Setlist:

01.  Late For the Kill, Early For the Slaughter

02.  Night Comes Clean

03.  Overload

04.  As We Speak

05.  The Flameout

06.  Deliverance Is Mine

07.  Nerve

08.  20 More Miles

09.  The Crestfallen

10.  Two Lives Worth of Reckoning

11.  Let This River Flow

12.  Chainheart Machine

13.  Rejection Role

14.  Bastard Chain

15.  Follow The Hollow

16.  Natural Born Chaos

17.  Stabbing The Drama

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