Album review: SOIL – Whole

SOIL - Whole

AFM Records [Release date 19.08.13]

Soil – or should that be SOiL – have been with us for a while now as their major label debut album Scars was released back in 2001. The band hail from Texas and are lumped in with other post grunge metal bands such as Staind, Sevendust, Drowning Pool and Killswitch Engage.

For the release of Whole vocalist Ryan McCombs has returned to the fold following his departure in late 2004 (just after the release of Re.De.Fine) to the aforementioned Drowning Pool. SOiL recruited AJ Cavalier as a replacement and released the underwealming pair of True Self in 2006 and Picture Perfect in 2009. So can Ryan help SOiL recapture their glory years with this release…

The words around the cover (which shows blood dripping from a whole…sorry hole…) give a good indication of the path that this album follows – “Denial …Anger… Pain… Depression… Acceptance…” This is not a happy album…but then you would not expect a SOiL album to be anyway.

Opener Loaded Gun kicks things off…and what a way to start – it has all of the classic SOiL elements…brutal riffs – check, thunderous rhythms – check, aggressive yet also melodic vocals – check.

SOiL have effectively recorded a classic follow up to the last Ryan McComb’s fronted release. The Hate Song, Way Gone, first single Shine On and the rest all blur into one solid album – nothing outstays it’s welcome with Whole clocking in at sub 40 minutes which in these days of padding out albums with sub-standard tracks to 70 minutes plus is a good thing. Standout track has to be My Time – just can’t get this out of my head…memorable verses and chorus…altogether “you think your best is better than mine…”.

A big welcome back to SOiL…this album deserves to return them to the top of the tree…it’s just a shame that the trees aren’t as tall as they used to be…  ****

Review by Phil Berisford

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