Live Report by Luigi “Gee” Anzalone – Photos by Marita Mirabella
(proofread: Ali Blackdiamond)
After seeing the PRIMORDIAL Rock’n’roll Romagnano Sesia in late February, I find myself in the same venue almost three weeks later to see another big band with a historical big name, SOILWORK. I also feel obliged to be present at the show, mainly because with the headliner of the night there were two bands that attract me a lot and I’ve never had the opportunity to see them live: the Swedish DARKANE and SYSTEM DIVIDE, a new band which is known because the drummer of Fear Factory Mike Heller, was their drummer, and having listened to their new single Ephemera, I had been impressed by the work of Mike on that song. So I promised myself to go and see them the first time I had the opportunity.
Unfortunately, being able to get to Romagnano only around 10pm due to a mishap, I completely missed the opening band and I get in to the club when DARKANE were beginning their show. I slide in the direction of the stage and someone told me that SYSTEM DIVIDE have had to give up the whole tour due to personal problems of some members of the band, and the opening act was by the Italians LOGICAL TERROR, who I have not had the opportunity to see.
And that’s how I came to look closely at the performance of DARKANE. I was amazed by the energy that could be unleashed from their songs, powerful riffs without frills, a war machine driven by Swedish Peter Wildoer on the drums. At the same time there was the frontman Lawrence Mackrory, ready to almost charge the half thousand people (in my opinion) present in front of the stage. Despite the Italian crowd, they initially took a good half hour to warm up. I also saw that the band members had no co-ordination on stage, which helps to make the show even more spontaneous, perfectly in line with the type of music played.
Once DARKANE ended the show we waited for the stage techs to finish arranging the SOILWORK equipment on stage. When all was done I could see the six members of SOILWORK from Helsingborg, getting on stage and take place behind their instruments. Once the intro finished they started immediately fast-paced, with a powerful song list composed mostly from their last album released in 2013; “The Living Infinite”, beautiful melodic death metal with synth inserts, melodic chorus and verses sung in a vitriolic style .. to see Dirk Verbeuren behind the drumheads is always impressive, so precise in the timing like a Swiss clock and as powerful as a tank.
I admired the performance of singer Björn Strid most of all, for having sung at full capacity for more than 90 minutes without stop, alternating changes of voice without any fail. In my opinion SOILWORK is very underrated, they are close to 20 years of existence and they have never experienced the success that they deserve in my opinion. Their live performance was very high quality, and each song was played and sung with perfection, almost as if it was the album being played in stereo. I certainly appreciated the work of their audio engineers who work with them on tour. I happened to hear some criticism at the end of the show, belittling their last studio album, comparing the product to an album for “metalcore teenagers.” But I think that after 9 albums and nearly 20 years of activity, a band like this also need to experiment and change some aspects of their sound, adapting it to the actual times we are living in. Even though I still prefer SOILWORK’s “A Predator ‘s Portrait”, I agree with the music choices of the band.