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Soilwork, Dark Tranquillity, Hypocrisy, Mnemic - May 1st, 2005 - New York, NY @ BB King’s

By: Scott Olivenbaum

For those who have not been to Times Square, the center of New York is one of the more lavish odes to capitalism in America. From the huge billboards to the megastores, Times Square is the physical representation of corporate excess. That’s what makes it so amazing that extreme metal has a home there.

The BB King’s in Times Square, one of several of the franchises in America, often plays host to metal shows and has gotten a reputation for good sound, packed crowds and solid bills. May 1st BB’s bill featured Soilwork with Dark Tranquillity, Hypocrisy and Mnemic.

Not too long ago music like this was only available through imports and the occasional festival show. Now it is being played in Times Square to a packed house at a franchise venue; an astounding change. Year after year of powerful underground releases by bands such as these has made it all possible. All of the bands on the bill May 1st were promoting new releases and showed why the future is bright for this music.

Soilwork tore into their set with their usual fervor, battering their way through songs both new and old. Tracks from the band’s Stabbing The Drama fit comfortably alongside standards from A Predators Portrait and Steelbath Suicide. The band was in good form but the guitar was placed too high in the mix, and completely drowned out most of the electronics and the bass line. No one seemed to mind and the often-fickle New Yorkers headbanged and moshed their way throughout the set.

Just a side note: As the stage was being prepped for their set, A Perfect Circle’s ‘The Hollow’ was repeated again and again on the house system, hence Soilwork ‘Follow The Hollow’, a nice touch.

Dark Tranquillity, who easily could have headlined, was technically amazing and well received. They played some of their classics – ‘Treason Wall’, ‘Wonders At Your Feet’, ‘Monochromatic Stains’ among others – and even fit in a few from their new disc Character – ‘Am I 1?’ and ‘Lost To Apathy’. Their appearance was all too short and the crowd’s reaction forced Mikael Stanne to promise a return performance in the near future. This band helped create the Gothenburg sound and continue to refine the beautifully brutal art. While they aren’t much of a stage act – few bands of the genre are – their show is one that must be caught if it comes to town.

As for the openers, Hypocrisy were their usual selves, inducing sore necks from rhythmic windmill headbanging. Mnemic, the first band of the night, were the least impressive of the bunch, playing a generic death-tinged brand of nu metal. As the popularity of the music growing, the usual record label rush is going on, leading to new bands like this getting exposure before they can perfect their craft and find their own sound. But concert bills like these show that it is hard to fault the labels, as there is such a strong following for the music.  [END]


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