By Steve Jenkins
Every sub-genre of heavy music has its pioneers and influential groups, and Swedish melodic death metal masters Soilwork are definitely one of them. For 20 years this powerhouse of a band have trail-blazed through countless countries, leaving behind a massive loyal fan base and a career worthy of legend status. Front-man Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid (who is the only original member remaining) told us about their upcoming tour in February and being relevant in todays music scene.
“We’re looking forward to it so much, we’ve been to Australia a bunch of times before but I’m really excited to bring this new album as well. We’re doing Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Korea and I’m just really looking forward to playing the new material live for you guys.”
Soilwork are well known for being a band of the people, always taking time out to meet the fans and quite often offering VIP meet and greets before their shows. But will they be doing that again this time? “I think so. We’ve done that sort of thing just about every time we’ve been to Australia. It’s always been successful and really cool to meet our fans and to get close and personal in a relaxed environment is something I enjoy very much.”
Soilwork released their tenth studio album The Ride Majestic in August, which was the follow up to their epic double disc masterpiece The Living Infinite. We asked ‘Speed’ if the new album has lived up to peoples expectations, and if it has been harder or easier compared to writing two albums rather than one.
“It’s been really good, the reviews have been mostly positive and people seem to really like it. Most people who liked our double album The Living Infinite seem to also dig this new album. I guess this time around it’s slightly darker, and more melancholic. It’s almost a little bit of a cranked version of The Living Infinite, the intense and more intense and the softer parts a little softer. We just came home from the North American tour, which was the first bunch of shows that we played the new material. We played 5 new songs from The Ride Majestic and the reaction was really fantastic. We felt great about playing them live.”
“You would think that it would be a smoother recording coming off the back of a double length album. But actually it turned out to be a lot harder than we thought, we spent maybe two months to finish our previous album, this one took us around four months. There were a few tragic events that happened within our families at the time, some of the band members lost loved ones which kind of set us back a little. It was a really hard album to finish, but it made it all the more real and emotional. The darker presence on the album was something that was very real because of what we were going through at the time. I’m kind of glad we were in the studio at the time of those events because we had an outlet and the music was a big comfort for us.”
Being an active and popular band for 20 years means you’re going to get many younger bands look up to you and sometimes even imitate your music. ‘Speed’ still seems humbled by the fact that they’re an influential band to many, and it’s clear that he still loves his craft with a passion which is terrific to see after so long and after so many line-up changes.
“It took some time before we realized that we actually had a pretty big impact on the scene. We had an impact on the metalcore scene especially in North America and now we’re more known for being a melodic death metal band that a lot of bands look up to. It’s a very surreal feeling that’s for sure but it’s also hard to grasp. We’ve been around for quite some time now and The Ride Majestic is our tenth studio album, who would have thought? It’s nuts. I joined the band when I was 17 and now I’m 37 years old. I think the key that we’ve managed to develop our sound (over) the years and we’ve been brave when it comes to stepping outside our comfort zone. I’m really proud of the band and where we are now.”
‘Speed’ left us with some final words on what to expect and what (or in this case, who) he intends to bring to the Aussie run of shows in February.
“It’s always such a great time and you always get treated so well by the fans especially. I’m actually bringing my Dad this time for the entire run, he’ll be in Australia as a tourist and he’s going to tag along for the first time with the band. It’s a little bit of a Father and Son trip before he gets too old, so that’ll be interesting.”
“I can’t wait to perform the new songs for you guys on stage because the band is absolutely on fire right now. We’re playing really consistently well each night and I can’t wait to do the same thing in Australia for our great fans. Hopefully everyone can come out and see us perform.”
Soilwork will be touring Australia with Aversions Crown, tickets are on sale now through Live Nation and can be purchased
10 February – Rosemount Hotel, Perth
12 February – The Gov, Adelaide
13 February – The Triffid, Brisbane
15 February – Max Watts, Sydney
16 February – 170 Russell, Melbourne