Soilwork Have Declined Offers to Play Natural Born Chaos and Stabbing the Drama in Their Entirety

  • Axl Rosenberg

Thirteen years ago, Slayer celebrated the twentieth anniversary of Reign in Blood — and the return of drummer Dave Lombardo — by doing a tour on which they played the album in its entirety. This wasn’t really a new idea — prog and jam bands do it all the time — but it wasn’t a concept that the metal world had yet exploited.

Holy shit, did that ever change quickly. Since Slayer did in 2006, metal bands of all stripes have regularly celebrated album anniversaries with complete performances (in fact, Slayer went on to do it again with Seasons in the Abyss). Sometimes, it’s older albums, as will be the case on Machine Head’s upcoming Burn My Eyes tour. Other times, it seems a wee bit premature, as when The Faceless did it last year for the ten-year anniversary of Planetary Duality. But clearly, the concept works as a marketing tool, or bands wouldn’t keep doing it.

One band that will not be doing these kinds of shows: Soilwork. While appearing on a recent episode of the BREWtally Speaking Podcast (bottom of this post), frontman Björn “Speed” Strid made it clear that he’s not a fan of complete performances of classic albums:

“We got some offers to play ‘Natural Born Chaos’ in its entirety, and also ‘’Stabbing The Drama,’ but we won’t do that because, to begin with, it’s not the same lineup. And I don’t think it’s fair to the old lineup, or the new one to do ‘NBC’ or ‘Stabbing The Drama’ in its entirety.

“I think we’re moving forward and if someone asked me to do… maybe ‘The Living Infinite,’ that’s a different story. That’s something that we would like to do, it’s gonna be a hell of a project since it’s a double record. We only played maybe, like 6-7 songs from that album live, so that would be a hell of a project. That’s something I could see us doing, cause it would make sense.”

Strid continued:

“There’s already way too much of the sort of ‘performing their classic album, blah, blah, blah.’ It’s getting sort of… It should be enough [for] a new album to draw people. It’s almost like a band needs to perform their classic classics.”

“I think it’s also destroying the music scene a little bit when bands are forced to perform classic albums in their entirety in order to draw people. It should be enough with a new album, like it used to be.”

I understand Speed’s point, but I also think it may be a little naive. Relevant bands can lean heavily on new material (see: Rivers of Nihil’s recent tour, on which they played last year’s acclaimed Where Owls Know My Name in full), but if you pay to see, for example, Megadeth, fuckin’ A you want them to play their “classic classics,” and maybe even some of their not-so-classic classics. And guess what? I love Rivers of Nihil, but if they’re lucky enough to still be a working band in thirty years, they’ll probably be expected to play their classic classics, too! (Which, in that case, likely would be Where Owls Know My Name.) As time progresses, most bands become legacy bands. Obviously there are exceptions. But no one stands up front at a Maiden show and screams for them to play “When the River Runs Deep” and “Starblind.”

But, hey, I admire Speed’s integrity: it is really weird when you go see a band play an album in full despite having almost none of the musicians on that album in their current line-up (looking at you, Thin Lizzy).

[via The PRP]

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