GIG REVIEW: Soilwork, Wovenwar, Unearth & Battlecross Live At Machine Shop Flint, Michigan
Over the past few years, Soilwork have suffered through some membership turnover and a slight failure to live up to fan expectations. However, lately they seem to have found their groove and Friday night’s gig at The Machine Shop cemented this –a hard core, no holds barred show that left everyone in the house exhausted from banging along. ‘The Ride Majestic’ is the band’s 10th studio album and Bjorn Strid’s vocals really bring the album to life in a live environment. The very melancholic vibe of the gig will bring hardcore fans back to the band’s roots with a dash of a slightly darker edge. Gone is that overly-modernized groove, replaced with the aggressive speed metal that longtime fans grew to know and love.
Very rarely have I seen a performance as energetic from a band that has been touring as long as Soilwork has. The energy on stage was more akin to that of a Dillinger Escape Plan show than that of Soilwork – with the most recent addition to the band, bassist Markus Wilbom giving a performance that was frenetic yet captivating. The ability of such a person to slot into a band as well established as Soilwork, and essentially take center stage is phenomenal. Each member of the band performed solidly, continually playing off each other’s cues and each taking center stage when needed. This wasn’t a performance by a band of five people, this was the performance of one solid team creating magic in front of everyone present.
Watching Soilwork wouldn’t be complete without at least mentioning Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid’s vocals. This is an artist that is truly in the top echelon of singers worldwide, with an ability matched only by very few (certainly Rob Halford comes to mind) of being able to change between clean and harsh styles in the blink of an eye. Speed has that ability and used it to perfection during this performance.
Culminating their performance with a five song encore, seemed a lengthy, yet satisfying way for the band to say goodnight. With a set that covered eight of the bands ten studio albums, yet still keeping half of the set focused on their two latest releases, the band was able to appease older and newer fans with a great selection of classics, with crowd receptions occurring during “Chainheart Machine”, “Rejection Role” and “Let this River Flow” being the greatest.
Wovenwar, a 5-man outfit from San Diego, CA, also performed an energetic show, showing that they are a force to be reckoned with despite taking a slightly different approach recently. Made up of former members of the influential metalcore band As I Lay Dying, Wovenwar put up a good show and so did Unearth, from Massachusetts. Tight riffs, heavy drumming, and dark vibes were the order of the day.
Supporting them on this Fury Tour are young guns Darkness Divided as well. The tour now crosses over into Canada where you can catch them in Ottawa on November 15th and Toronto on November 16th.