SOiL - 'Whole' (Pavement/AFM) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Ray Tamanous   
Thursday, 08 August 2013 03:00

soilalbumwholeSurely a band that should need little introduction come the mighty hard rock merchants Soil (or SOiL to be exact) with a release so groovy that it should have a legal requirement to carry a disclaimer, warning listeners of potential neck injuries.


Since their formation in 1997 Soil have added a consistent string of releases to their discography. Their latest offering, 'Whole', is the band's sixth full length production and sees the return of original vocalist Ryan McCombs following his 2011 departure from Drowning Pool. Joining the almost original 1997 line-up is drummer extraordinaire Will Hunt, best known for his work with Evanescence, Black Label Society and Device.


Opening with a crunching groove 'Loaded Gun' hits the listener with flat out hard rock riffs, solid percussion and catchy vocals in the way we have come to expect from Soil. The track provides an instant hook and serves as an excellent welcome home for McCombs. 'The Hate Song' adds further to this recipe, blending huge chunks of driving bass and garnishing with a huge “jump up and down” chorus this dish is a definite crowd pleaser.  


'Ugly' breaks with a slow, dark heaviness akin to Alice In Chains. Reminiscent of the grunge metal of yesteryear the track progresses through some excellent changes in dynamics making it a definite personal favourite. 'Way Gone' returns us to the catchy groove, opening with a kick driven beat with a slight industrial feel (think NIN, 'The Hand That Feeds'). By now anyone listening to this album should be experiencing copious amounts of involuntary head-banging, foot tapping and, personally, singing along to the choruses in my tone-deaf, past-midnight, '90s rock singer karaoke voice.


The intriguingly named 'Psychopath' increases the pace and heaviness, featuring amusing lyrics and an awesomely catchy breakdown midway. 'Shine On' and 'Wake Up' both offer a dark sound with a definite Layne Staley vocal style. The latter also features a guest guitar solo performed by Mike Mushok of Staind. 'Amalgamation' puts things back onto the straight hard rock track with a touch of nu-metal. A head-banger's favourite it's another strong catchy tune and demonstrates what Soil do best.


Following on, 'My Time' opens again with a riff and beat that would have any crowd jumping at gigs and festivals. Featuring a great groove and yet another “ear worm” chorus this is definitely one of the strongest tracks on the album. 'Little Liar' offers a slightly different approach. Consisting of unusual dynamics it feels as though it takes some time for the track to gain momentum. Despite this there are some great moments and the guitar solo is one of the best on the album.


Finally bringing this splendid opus to a close, 'One Love' introduces us to a more sublime side of Soil. Slowing the pace the track opens with sweetly picked acoustic guitars that quickly escalate into a heavy chorus. Vocals and lyrical content are some of strongest yet and demonstrate McCombs' range as the aggression surges through barrages of heavy riffs and double kick. It's an awesome closure to an equally awesome listening experience.


Overall it has to be appreciated that 'Whole' is not breaking new or untapped ground. There is a certain degree of predictability along with a definite, lingering late '90s feel to the whole album, however if this is a problem for you it has to be asked “what are you doing listening to Soil?” Well written, performed and engineered this album is no more or less than Soil doing what they do best; making awesomely catchy, heavy rock that should have listeners banging their heads from beginning to end.


To pick up your copy of 'Whole' (Exclusive European Digipack) - CLICK HERE