Soilwork – “Live In The Heart Of Helsinki” DVD / 2CD (Nuclear Blast Records)
It’s about time this happened – close to 2 decades on, 10 albums later and we finally have the live release from this best loved of all Swedish melodic metal bands. With guest appearances from Floor Jansen (Nightwish, ReVamp) and Nathan J. Biggs (Sonic Syndicate Official), you can bet this was a special show and the rabid crowd at the Circus Club in the Finnish capital certainly sound like it, almost matching the band pound for pound in noise and manic furor! With 35 songs culled from the band’s illustrious career across a double CD package and the DVD including 2 documentaries and 5 drum cam tracks, founder vocalist Björn “Speed” Strid is still leading his troop – now made up of a 50/50 mix of new and old guys – with his brand of hoarse n clean vocals for over 100 minutes in this marathon bash that must’ve laid waste to both band and crowd. Propelled by the twin shredding guitar riffola of Sylvain Coudret and David Andersson who also deliver the suave melodies along with Sven Karlsson’s harmonious keyboards n atmospheric samples, the harsh chopping rhythm that sends the crowd into a frenzy comes from long time iconic bassist Ola Fink and pummeling Dirk Verbeuren’s relentless hammering drums. When Strid bellows “are you ready Helsinki?” the comeback roar makes you wonder why he’s even bothered asking ha ha! With songs like ‘Sadistic Lullaby’ going right back to their 1998 debut getting a new light, of course the classics like ‘Follow The Hollow’ and the grand pig pile finale of ‘Stabbing The Drama’ are there in their full glory. But equally the likes of ‘Let This River Flow’ get a new and improved take thanks to Floor’s femme vocals adding their measure on their vocal duet with Strid. All in all an amazing night by the sounds of it perfectly captured in what must be a landmark album for the band, making it an absolutely must have for any fan but also the perfect intro to Soilwork for anyone else.