Fans of old school SOiL will be happy: Ryan McCombs is back! Fans of the Ryan era in Drowning Pool should also be happy because the guy is still rocking and did not take a break! I have to admit I’m a big sucker for the vocal timbre this man has, and the charm he displays in performing those catchy tracks. So how could I have not been excited when in my mail box I found the digital version of the new SOiL record, ‘Whole’, to be released on August 16th?
All pleasantries aside, let’s dig in and see ‘Whole’ has to offer: first thing I would like to talk about are the tracks that talked to me the most: ‘The Hate Song’ which combines humour with attitude (lyrics like ‘my love is so strong I wrote this love song to let you know I hate you’ made me almost laugh), ‘Psychopath’ which has the perfect blend of party-heavy anthem and a sick love song feel, ‘Amalgamation’ which has Ryan combining song titles from SOiL and Drowning Pool (from his era) into the lyrics and adding a very strong hook to it that captured my ears from the first listen. Last but not least, ‘Wake up’ was a track I found myself having a love-hate relationship with: at first it just sounded wrong to me but towards the middle, it all clicked in its place.
Unfortunately, I would like to say how much I loved the rest of the album but, it kind of let me down. Don’t get me wrong, the songs are good, but this is SOiL we’re talking about, a band that has been around for more than 10 years and has experience. The feeling I got from some of these tunes is that they are unpolished, more than most lack a solid melodic line which makes them sound rather flat, and even if some tracks are rather catchy (apart from the one I mentioned above) they don’t strike me as anything special or like a band that has matured from the previous records. I can understand their need to maybe go back to their roots since Ryan returned after a 7 year break, but I would have liked to hear some more sound experimenting here and there.
All in all, I’m pretty sure that although this album did not speak as much to me, it will make fans all over the world thrilled, because Ryan is back as a vocalist and he brought the true SOiL sound back!