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Welcome to our newest member, AlexBarnard

Soilwork @ The Underworld Camden, London, UK

in Friday, 26 August 2016 at The Underworld Camden
by Anton Sanatov

Perhaps there is a state…somewhere in between passion and obsession…that can best describe what it is to be Metal. For this is not a condition susceptible to educated evaluation or mental classification; nor is it a moshed up coagulation in the pit of your stomach or a copper scented vapour of post-modernity. It is the fleeting and the unifying, the ornery and the welcoming, it is…

Well, for everyone it is something else. Alas, one thing it is not is ‘feeble’. And on that Thursday night, in the renowned Underworld, deep in the heart of Camden, those present each saw their own version of it - but all those visions had one thing in common…power. The air was thick with the arousing calm of the gargantuan, Metal presence yet to be received and all were gathered in the unification of blissful anticipation…ready to be set in steel.

It was a night of heavy melodies. The three bands that took to the stage that night were by all means well-learned in the art of string pounding, but it’s their melodic sides that truly had them piercing the weighty atmosphere.

The first to walk onto the gear-crammed stage were UK’s own BRUTAI. The outfit, though fully aware of their ‘opening’ status, waltzed onto the stage like royalty to the orchestral cymbal rolls of drummer Mathieu Bauer.

They commenced their set with a peculiar blend of cautious confidence and went on to stun the crowd with their well-crafted songs and enthusiastic performances; thus redefining what it means to be an opening act.

CYPHER 16 followed suit through a dense haze of shooting smoke and bright lights; rocking the stage as if it was festival instead of a club outing. The band handled themselves like professionals, and although not all were taken by the sound, the collective demonstrated composure and appreciated the audience for their devotion. And to contribute to what turned out to be a night of phenomenal bass playing, the band’s own masked bassist Carl Dawkins went on to swing his instrument every other way possible without missing a single note and ended up delivering a hyper-energetic, finger-picked performance of a well-caffeinated expert.

When the time came for the main event the crowd was pensive, but meditatively so. They were preparing themselves for an event of mythical proportions, a cataclysm that would baptise their souls on this seemingly unimportant Thursday night. They knew that for Metal there are no days, no hours…only that nameless state of transcendence. The skies didn’t not split open, no thunder cracked the roof, and yet when SOILWORK’s Björn “Speed” Strid assumed his place in front of the crowd, he shone like a brutalised archangel, ready to lead and be followed.

I shall admit that it was somewhat surreal to see the man that I had the pleasure of interviewing just weeks prior tear through his band’s amazing catalogue – including my personal favourite “Nerve” – and take his voice to the heights of his own idols. He held his fans’ hands, embraced them on stage and gifted them with a night to remember. The instrumental performances of the other band members were also of the highest order; with guitarist Sylvain Coudret in particular, who insisted on shredding through the entire set in throes of pure elation and with hands of chiselled skill.

The horns were held high and the bodies tossed themselves around the venue while barely holding onto their souls. Yet that was not what made that night pure Metal. What made it so was the untainted empowerment that surged through the venue and blessed everyone in the vicinity with joys of distortion.

  1. The Ride Majestic
  2. Nerve
  3. The Chainheart Machine
  4. Death in General
  5. The Crestfallen
  6. Let This River Flow
  7. Tongue
  8. Overlord
  9. Petrichor by Sulphur
  10. The Living Infinite I
  11. Bastard Chain
  12. Rejection Role
  13. Whirl of Pain
  14. Late for the Kill, Early for the Slaughter

This Momentary Bliss
Stabbing the Drama

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Edited 06 December 2021

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