Sweden’s melodic death metal ambassadors Soilwork embarked on an ambitious multi-month long tour spanning across these United States. Along for the ride were Hatchet, Bonded By Blood, Canada’s Blackguard and Jeff Loomis and his solo band. By the time this tour reached Teaneck, New Jersey, Bonded by Blood had to drop off due to their van dying. Hatchet opened the show and put on a very old school thrash performance with some modern swing to it.
Blackguard was up next and they brought their Canadian ‘epic metal’ to make his a very international tour. Paul Ablaze is such a fun front man to watch. Whether he’s at the mic or in the pit, he and his crew commanded the stage like they were the head liners. They also previewed a new song from their forthcoming new album. Former Nevermore guitarist, Jeff Loomis played an amazing instrumental set of sonic beauty consisting of songs from both his solo records. An extra treat, with his already mind blowing performance, was Soilwork drummer, Dirk Verbeuren ended up doing double duty here. Dirk played the second half the tour with Loomis’ band due to the fact that regular drummer Anup Sastry had to bow out to a scheduling conflict.
Soilwork took the stage and hammered out sixteen of their best songs. They opened up with new track ‘Parasite Blues’ and continued to play career spanning cuts from all nine of their albums. Guitarists David Andersson and Sylvain Coudret form a powerful team. They work extremely well together no matter if they’re playing new songs, or older material. They sound like they’ve been in the band forever. Keyboardist Sven Karlsson blended his unique sound on classic songs like ‘Overload’ and ‘Follow The Hollow’. Dirk did what Dirk does: just wowed anyone who’s watching. He makes all the insane things he does look effortless. Ola Fink somehow was able to cut through all that wall of sound, and bring the low end. Vocal powerhouse Bjorn “Speed” Strid sounded the best I’ve ever heard him. Be it newer songs like ‘This Momentary Bliss’ or throwback tracks like ‘Possessing The Angels’, he damn near sounded identical to the albums. After a tour this long, there also seems to be no wear on his pipes. Maybe it’s all that Swedish living, who knows? He came to perform and he showed you he is at the top of his game. Over all it was a great night of varied styles of metal. Well worth the trek to New Jersey.
Soilwork, Jeff Loomis, Hatched & Blackguard
Mexicali Teaneck NJ, USA
May 1st, 2013
Photos & words: Omar Cordy