Soil band photo 2013

SOIL – Whole

Soil - WholeI remember when I heard about Soil for the first time. It was back in 2001 and a friend of mine had gotten some free CDs which he gave to me. One of them was Soil’s second album Scars (the others were Stabbing Westward Darkest Days and Korn Issues). I really didn’t expect anything, but I was a bit hesitant about it because by then I wasn’t really a big fan of the more brutal metal that was doing big business then. But when I listened to the album all my doubts were blown away on the spot. It’s a killer album and they actually got themselves a mini hit with the brilliant single “Halo”. With the band’s two first E.P.’s Soil and El Chucpacabra and their debut album Throttle Junkies (1999) failing to create any stir at all, Scars really put the band on the metal map and many thought that Soil would be the next big thing in the metal world. Unfortunately that didn’t happen and after just one more album, the very underrated Redefine (2004) singer Ryan McCombs jumped the ship and was replaced by A.J. Cavalier from metal band Diesel Machine. McCombs was later announced as the new singer for Drowning Pool, a band that couldn’t hold a candle to Soil. Cavalier’s debut was called True Self and was released in 2006 and although it was a good album, it wasn’t as strong as its two predecessors and the year after, guitarist Shaun Glass quit the band. With their new guitarist Adam Zadel, the band released Picture Perfect in 2009 and by then you could hear that Soil were feeling forced to produce something more mainstream because of the missing success of the last albums. The album was still heavy for the most, but this time melodic hooks and ballads had been sneaking their way into the sound. Now, I usually hate it when bands become mainstream for those reasons, but I can’t help it, I love Picture Perfect and I love the way the managed to mix the heavy and very metal sounds with catchy hooks and balladry.

But of course, that album didn’t do the band much good and in 2010 singer Cavalier announced his departure from the band. But things weren’t looking that dim for the band anyway because in 2011 they were celebrating the 10th anniversary for Scars and original singer Ryan McCombs was talked into participate in the festivities and it turned out so well that the band decided to give it one more go. However, with McCombs on board, their brand new album does still not hold the original line up. Glass is still out and Zadel is still in and when Cavalier left, so did drummer Tom Schofield. But that doesn’t really matter as the sound on Soil’s brand new album is classic Soil all the way through. In fact, listening to this album is like riding a time machine back to the early 2000. Opener “Loaded Gun” is a killer and sounds like the cousin of “Halo”. Maybe a bit obvious, but it doesn’t take anything away from the fact that it’s an awesome track. “The Hate Song” is both catchy and thrashy, “Ugly” has a classic Soil sound but a but with a bit modern update which also could be said of “Way Gone” that has a very modern sound that makes me suspicious of them trying to aim for radio. I still like the song, no matter what. “Psychopath” should put a smile on all Soil fans faces out there as it sounds like a classic Soil song, all thrashy and heavy. “Amalgamation” is great, catchy and melodic but still metal and “My Time” has this really cool groove. With “Little Liar” they go pretty commercial – it’s catchy a hard rock song, not a far cry from what could be heard on Picture Perfect and “One Love” is a great song that starts out as a ballad but ends with a bang.

Soil has with album number six recorded their best album since their debut, apart from Picture Perfect, but that album sounds so different to the other Soil releases that it’s hard to compare that one to the others. The whole (pun…) album has the classic hard and aggressive and somewhat thrashy Soil sound and for every fan of Soil’s first records, this one is a must. I’m not sure if this album will take Soil to the top – the other records have failed to do just that – but it should be able to reach out to metal fans and old Soil fans and the band can be proud of a work well done.

Jon Wilmenius (7/10)

Tracklist:

1. Loaded Gun
2. The Hate Song
3. Ugly
4. Way Gone
5. Psychopath
6. Shine On
7. Wake Up
8. Amalgamation
9. My Time
10. Little Liar
11. One Love

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