Concert Review + Photo Gallery: Soilwork, Jeff Loomis + More at the Webster Theater in Hartford, CT
Reviewed by: Brian Cross
Photos by: Diana Guay
With the recent release of their double album The Living Infinite, melodic death titans Soilwork embarked a long tour to promote the new record and bring metal to the masses.
Opening bands The Wretched and The Browning had dropped off the bill before the tour even began, but we were fortunate enough to have some fine replacements. Thrash metal ruled the roost when Hatchet started things off. These guys wouldn’t have been out of place during the scene’s heyday in the late 1980s, and they had some serious technical chops to boot. Bay Area brethren Bonded by Blood continued the old-school assault, pulling more fans away from the bar towards the stage. The band played as if they were in an arena filled with thousands of metalheads, just as any thrashers worth their salt should. Montreal’s Blackguard picked up from there, keeping up the intensity with their unique blend of death metal and sweeping symphonic melodies. Fans got a bit of a surprise in the form of the new tracks “Rise” and “In Dreams,” from their upcoming record Storm, but well-known songs like “The Fear of All Flesh” rounded out their performance.
Plains of Oblivion was one of 2012’s best metal releases, and Jeff Loomis closed out the opening acts by shredding everyone’s faces off. Yep, the fourth band of the evening, and still no slowing down. Most fans know Loomis from his time in Nevermore, but his solo work is just as strong, if not more so. The man rips extreme metal out of his guitar as if it were a living being he’s beaten into submission with his mind alone. Backed by an impressive trio of musicians that appeared to be half his age, Loomis’ set of instrumental metal greatness was not one to be missed.
And then…there was Soilwork. The bar crowd finally filled the floor as diehard fans moshed up a storm to barnburners like “Spectrum of Eternity.” The mighty Swedes, led by towering frontman Björn “Speed” Strid, riled up the crowd with their ferocious take on melodic death metal. They’ve got plenty of peers in the genre, especially amongst their fellow Scandinavians, but Soilwork still manages to stake out their own territory. Naturally the new album made up plenty of their set, but Soilwork pulled out a few unexpected classics, including the brutal “Possessing the Angels” off of The Chainheart Machine. Between faster material, relatively slower fare like “Let This River Flow” helped break up the set, and fan-favorite “As We Speak” was part of their triple-song encore.
The Living Infinite tour has only just begun, so there’s still plenty of opportunities for you to see this great assemblage of bands crush your local venue. Get going!
Check out our photo gallery from the show below: