SOiL – Whole


Review by Ian Savage

It’s not unfair to say that SOiL have spent a little time in the musical wilderness over the past decade. Since major-label debut Scars infected rock clubs worldwide with massive singles like ‘Halo’ and ‘Unreal’ back in 2001, they’ve undergone a change of frontman (Ryan McCombs was replaced by AJ Cavalier after recording Scars follow-up Re.De.Fine, and then re-joined the band in 2011), released a couple of fairly well-received independent albums, and parted ways with six-stringers and drummers leaving guitarist Adam Zedel and bassist Tim King as the only full-term original band members.

So, reunited with what King describes as the voice that “IS the SOiL sound”, and twelve years older, wiser and more grizzled, ‘Whole’ is what SOiL seem to accept as being the album that should have followed up their breakthrough.

They waste no time in ramming home the point; opener ‘Loaded Gun’ alternates chugging rhythm riffs and squealing harmonics under McComb’s distinctive growl, boasting a menacing minor-key bridge leading into a big, melodic chorus. The venom-fuelled ‘Hate Song’ flows through in much the same vein, with Ulrich Wild (Pantera, Deftones)’s production locking the meaty riffs into a single, pile-driving unit with the drums and bass. Mid-album highlights like ‘Psychopath’ and lead single ‘Shine On’ would provoke hair-swinging and headbanging from Lenin’s corpse, and closer ‘One Love’ brings things down a few steps with a more emotionally-charged, lower-tempo feel.

Whole sadly isn’t free of ‘skippable’ tracks; ‘Ugly’ sounds like modern-metal-by-numbers, the chorus to ‘Amalgamation’ is slightly clunky in terms of both melody and riff, and penultimate track ‘Little Liar’ has an underwhelming hook-line and fairly predictable structure. This is nit-picking to some degree, though; taken as a Whole, SOiL’s latest offering really does come off as a return to the sound which launched them, and deserves a place in any respectable metal collection. Just don’t be surprised to find yourself only really coming back to seven or eight tracks.

SOiL – Whole7.5 out of 10

Track listing: 

  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