LABEL: J RECORDS
RATING: 8 /10
Whole is SOiL’s first release with original vocalist Ryan McCombs since 2004’s Redefine, and the band is back to basics with a vengeance. Whole is a solid rock album that shows McCombs making a comfortable return back to the band.
SOiL is clearly a band well versed in playing rock n’ roll; all the necessary elements for great rock songs are present. McCombs’s vocals are great, ripping into eleven high-energy tracks with solid lyrics about love, hate, and life. The re-energized vocalist sounds the freshest he has in years, pouring more into his vocals than recent Drowning Pool releases. Whether it is happiness, anger, or sadness, Ryan McCombs injects a heavy dosage of each into every line he belts out on Whole. As far as musicianship goes, Tim King and Adam Zadel nail it. King’s bass playing is spot on, and Zadel knows how to play a riff and when to shred, following in the vein of classic rockers everywhere. Adam Zadel’s melodies and lead playing are outstanding, by far the high point on Whole. The album is further enhanced by a guest appearance by guitarist Mike Mushok of Staind, laying down a sick solo on “Wake Up.” Will Hunt, an established studio rocker from his work with Device, Evanescence, and Black Label Society, handles drum duties on Whole.
As far as the songwriting itself goes, SOiL will not break much new territory, but they tread established hard rock boundaries with a familiarity only veterans obtain over years of performing. “The Hate Song” and “Amalgation” showcase a wide range of talented musicians pulling out all of the stops; no two songs sound exactly the same.
SOiL most definitely came out of the gate swinging on Whole. The return of McCombs is a triumphant one; SOiL has crafted a fine rock album, and the future is again bright for the hard rock quartet.