Career-spanning retrospective for the late nineties nu metallers...
When Sentinel Daily Head Honcho, Scott Adams asked me if I had heard of SOiL, I must admit I got them confused with the melodic death metal band of similar name Soilwork. But that was my mistake and I realised that once I heard the first riff. Upon listening to Broken Wings I find they remind me of someone and it takes me half of the song to realise that I have heard the singer Ryan McCombs previously, when he was singing for Drowning Pool.
SOiL formed in Chicago in 1997, where the band quickly took the scene by storm. After some independent releases the band signed with J Records (BMG) and really came to be noticed by everyone with the release of the first major label release, Scars in 2001. The album featured the hit singles Halo and Unreal. The band gained valuable exposure on MTV and success followed, with the band winning Metal Edge magazine’s 2001 Readers’ Choice “Next Big Thing” award. This led to support gigs with the likes of Ozzy Osbourne and Rob Zombie. The band followed up with their next major release, re.de.fi.ne in 2004 before the loss of McCombs to Drowning Pool.
SOiL also released two further albums, True Self (2006) and Picture Perfect (2009) fronted by former Diesel Machine and World of Pain frontman AJ Cavalier which spawned the single The Lesser Man. In 2011 SOiL reunited with frontman McCombs for a ten year anniversary of Scars tour which led to a fulltime reunion and new album in 2013, Whole. The album was hailed a “return to form” and produced well received single releases in Shine On and The Hate Song.
The band have sold over 2 million albums worldwide and after celebrating their twentieth Anniversary in January of this year, they entered the studio to record some new tracks and revisit some of their older hits for this compilation album – Scream: The Essentials.
The album covers the career of SOiL, as well as a specially recorded cover track Gimme Some Lovin’. For a new listener, like me, it is a good way to get across the feeling of the band. SOiL can be described as hard rocking, in your face, smashmouth rock. Songs are composed of heavily distorted riffs and a driving rhythm section that keeps the head nodding in time with the beat. Their sound is very much in the vein of bands of that era like Drowning Pool, Hellyeah, and Staind. The songs from the first two albums are the ones with hooks that keep me listening. The band is at its strongest with McCombs at the helm, he has a presence with his voice that shows what SOiL is all about. While the songs with AJ Cavalier are strong (Give it Up, Let Go, Like It Is and The Lesser Man), I find myself wondering what they would’ve been like with McCombs belting out the lyrics in his gravelly voice.
All in all, Scream: The Essentials is a good introduction to a band I missed on the first time around and will be released worldwide on September 15 through AFM Records. SOiL will be out on tour to support the release in a worldwide tour through 2017/18.
- Ryan McCombs (lead vocals),
- Tim King (bass),
- Adam Zadel (guitar)
- Mitch Gable (drums)
- Gimme Some Lovin‘
- Broken Wings (El Chupacabra Version)
- Road To Ruin
- Black Betty
- Breaking Me Down
- Can You Heal Me (Acoustic Version)
- Give It Up (Feat. Wayne Static)
- Let Go
- Like It Is (Alternate Version)
- The Lesser Man
- My Time (Kickstart Version)
- Shine On
- The Hate Song
- Way Gone
- Halo Live In London (Bonus Track)
- Rusty Cage (Bonus Track)