They’re back. A SOiL story
Whole is SOiLs first album since the return of vocalist Ryan McCombs, and boy was it worth the wait. SOiLs’ two previous efforts True Self and Picture Perfect were under the helm of A.J. Cavalier as the vocalist, and while they were OK, they did not feel like SOiL: McCombs’ vocals are what make SOiL the band it is, he is key to the band’s sound.
This album therefore needed to be a revival of the sound the fans love and it largely is. The tracks Loaded Gun, The Hate Song, Ugly, Psychopath, Shine On and Little Liar provide this classic, hard hitting sound in spades, the track Shine On especially ranks among the best the band has to offer and is sure to become a sure-fired classic with fans and newcomers to the band alike. Along with the track My Time, these tracks prove the best in the record, each one great in their own right and providing the catchy, aggressive sound the band is known for.
While those seven tracks listed above are all very good, the other four songs in the album are all good, but either lacking in certain aspects or dampened by bad vocal choices. There is however not a single bad track in the album but the tracks Wake Up and One Love come the closest down entirely to poor choruses. Way Gone and Amalgamation suffer from similar issues, but just miss out on being brilliant. Way Gone showcases how a great song can be ruined by a simple vocal choice – during the chorus McCombs decided to go lower on the word ‘Gone’, it just does not work and doesn’t do the rest of the song justice, which is heavy, aggressive and pretty much perfectly encapsulates SOiL’s sound.
The band does try a slightly different sound in the songs Psychopath and Amalgamation, this is a faster, slightly thrashier sound and it works. Well. Usually SOiL is at its best when they play slow, heavy riffs to a medium tempo mixed with catchy choruses, but these two tracks are actually very good, Psychopath especially reminds me of songs like Breaking Me Down. The album fairly successfully mixes this new, previously unheard style with the old, as Psychopath and Amalgamation are both fun tracks – Amalgamation using track names from previous SOiL releases and McCombs two album stint with Drowning Pool to create a song about McCombs’ life experiences – proving the band can still surprise as well as pander to the whims of the fan base.
The album presents two main problems – inconsistency and merely adequate drum work. As a fan might know, the band lost its drummer with the loss of Cavalier, and the band has been left with Mitch Gable – a touring member – he just simply is not up to the job and kind of lets the band down, as the rest of the band (Adam Zadel, guitar and Tim King, bass) give fantastic performances rolling riff after riff with crushing bass lines and working brilliantly together. As a three piece the band is great, but they desperately need a new drummer who is up to the task and are sorely missing a fifth band mate to provide that extra level of heaviness and crushing sound the band had in the past that a rhythm guitarist could bring.
All in all, SOiL’s Whole brings a band back to life, kicking and screaming that I have sorely missed. While the album has a slightly inconsistent style and the band demand a better drummer and fifth member, it is not let down too badly; Whole is the album I have been waiting years for, and it leaves me excited for the band’s future.
There is not a single bad track in the album and it shows that SOiL can still write for the fans and move forward at the same time. SOiL is back, it’s been too long.