Back in 2001, SOiL put out their major label debut album Scars. Now, at the time metal was in a state of flux, and they were lumped in with all the Nu-Metal bands of that time. I won’t list them because they were garbage, all of them. But SOiL really stood out from the pack to me. I was a fan of Ryan McCombs’ vocal sound and delivery the minute I heard “Halo”, and I thought the band just played balls-to-the-wall. After McCombs’ departure in 2004 I kind of tuned out. The other singer just didn’t thrill me, and neither did the music. But the stars have aligned, and now SOiL is back, with original members Ryan McCombs, Tim King, and Adam Zadel, and a just-released album Whole for my, and hopefully your listening pleasure.
Ok, this thing doesn’t waste any time. “Loaded Gun” bares its razor-sharp teeth instantly, and would make a perfect show opener while “The Hate Song” has a swagger that’s been missing for some time, and should be played immediately after “Gun” live. The slow burn of “Ugly” shows some of Adam’s best guitar work yet, and sounds EXACTLY like the next logical step after the Scars album.
I was really impressed with “Way Gone”. This one’s got its feet squarely in two eras of metal, and brings out the best of both, and I found myself hitting REPEAT while running errands all day yesterday. Hell, the whole (no pun intended) album sounds great blaring out of the car speakers, but this one is clearly my favorite. Will Hunt (Device, Black Label Society, Evanescence) helped out on drums for this record, and he and the boys go off a bit for “Psychopath”, another killer cut. SOiL are sending a message, that’s for sure.
Now we get to my other favorite, “Shine On”. With an intro reminiscent of when Alice In Chains still sounded good, and a hellacious riff throughout, this is one of the best metal songs of 2013, no question. And NO, the matter is not open for discussion. “We will not go away, we will not fade away!” is the mantra here, and I hope that’s true, dammit! “Wake Up” is another aggressive track designed to incite people to get up and move, and “Amalgamation” has some clever wordplay in which Ryan manages to work in lyrics and song titles from his work both in SOiL and Drowning Pool over Will’s steadfast drumming.
Y’all know how much I love my riffs, and “My Time” is chock full of ‘em, keeping this train running and “Little Liar” has a quiet, yet ominous intro, before it kicks in full throttle. “One Love” is a slower song, and it looks like that’s how they’re gonna close the album. WRONG!! At the 1:46 mark all Hell breaks loose, Ryan McCombs bellowing “One Loooove!” for all he’s worth. To say I’m impressed with this album is putting it mildly. The title speaks for itself, Whole. SOiL have constructed an album that is exactly what its namesake says. There’s not one single song I wanted to skip over. And while I loved some songs more than others, this thing will definitely be in heavy rotation in the Amps household for a while. Highly recommend, guys!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Way Gone”, “Shine On”, “Loaded Gun”, “The Hate Song”, “Ugly”, “Psychopath”