It isn’t a complete reunion of the early line-up as guitarist Shaun Glass is missing and drummer Tom Schofield’s place is taken up by the capable drummer Will Hunt (although he is not the band’s new drummer and for live shows Soil will be playing with Mitch Gabel). Despite this change, the band are fairly able to recreate the sound that made them famous.
At first I was skeptical that the album could be good, so long after the scene from which the band came from had died, and after line-up changes and reports of a tinny production job, but I was actually fairly impressed on my first listen and have grown to really appreciate the record over time since then. It’s a very good record for this type of music, and if you can overlook your distrust or cynicism you may be very pleasantly surprised.
The album lasts about 37 minutes, the songs are all brief, succinct and don’t overstay their welcome. There is nothing progressive or virtuosic on display and it isn’t dense, challenging or punishingly heavy. For certain more dedicated fans of the genre this may make the album sound boring, but it should increase its appeal to a wider audience.
All of the material is easily-digestible Hard Rock with a Metal flavour and for the most part sounds like material from the band’s previous efforts Scars and Redefine (particularly ‘Amalgamation’). There are some modern updates (as bizarre as it might sound there are the faintest, faintest hints of Devildriver and Bring Me The Horizon hidden in there when you don’t expect) and the production is a bit thinner, yet heavier, than those albums so it isn’t an exact recreation of the old days, but it still sounds close enough that if you were a fan when they first broke you should be happy with this new collection of similar sounding and similar quality music.
Highlights include ‘Wake Up,’ which sounds like their early work and has that sort of Black Label Society/Alice In Chains tinge to their commercial radio metal core, as well as ‘Psychopath,’ (which is the one that sounds like it might be loosely influenced by BMTH’s ‘Chelsea Smile’) and the album closer ‘One Love’ which provides a change of pace and a bit of variety to the record. That being said, if I’m listening to music on random or shuffle and anything off of this record comes on, it usually brings a small smile to my face.
If you aren’t familiar with Soil, or a fan of the band already, then this might not be an album that you can enjoy much these days, but for existing fans it is a pleasant surprise and a completely solid addition to your existing collection. If you like the band you should get it, and if you used to like the band but had sort of forgotten about them in the last few years then now is a good time to check them out again.