SOiL – Play It Forward

SOiL
Play It Forward
Hard Rock, Heavy Metal
Released: 26th August 2022
via Cleopatra Records

It’s been quite a long time since we’ve heard from cult heavy metal, SOiL. They have kept their following for over 20 years now. Since their 2 mammoth hits “Halo” and “Unreal”. After their 2013 album Whole and the unfortunate health concerns of singer Ryan McCombs, they have stayed largely quiet. Now, they’re back with a new album Play It Forward. A new album filled with covers of songs that the band have found meaningful and have helped them through the rough times of the past few years. As much as I was craving new material from the band, I have to admit it’s really good to hear them playing again. Even if it’s hit songs from the likes of Neil Young, Foo Fighters and Halsey

There should be no surprise that they took the original songs and added their own individual flair to the tracks. The production is loud on muddy in that early 2000’s nu-metal way. The guitars grind away with the thumping bass pounding on the low end of the production. For some songs like White Zombie’s “Thunder Kiss ‘65” and Motörhead’s “No Voices In The Sky” this works fine and sounds pretty much like a straight-up like-for-like cover version. However, when you give this tuned-down bombastic production to Halsey’s “Nightmare” or “What’s It Like” by Everlast, it changes the core foundation of the songs and really gives them a new identity. 

Ryan McCombs’ vocals add a pretty interesting layer to these songs. You’ve never heard these songs sung like this before. His low temperate growls and unique inflections add a great final touch to these songs. Giving that growl and intensity to Foo Fighters’ “Monkey Wrench” and The Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated”. It all comes together in such a magical way. A real mixtape adventure of a listening experience. 

After so long with no new music from SOiL it’s really great to have them back. It’s nice to know that band played these covers with so much vigour and passion. Songs that clearly mean a lot to the band. That’s the magic of music. It can lift us out of the dark times and with these covers, the band could potentially allow their audience to discover songs they may never had the chance to. Would I have preferred a new album of original material? Yes, absolutely! However, I feel this could tide the fans over until that day arrives.

7/10

Mick Birchall

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