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Soil Redefine

By Jeff Kerby, Contributor
Monday, March 22, 2004 @ 11:20 AM

(J Records)

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Say it after me: “Soil is the best young metal band out there.”

Their full, melodically driven sound is what rock should be in many ways. It’s music that simultaneously energizes the listener while still appealing to one’s inner desire for tracks that possess a chorus that one can either sing or shriek along to with equal intensity. Hailing from the great city of Chicago, Soil started breaking in a major way after their album Scars received worldwide attention from metal fans for its innovative interpretation of the older elements of the genre. They weren’t Iron Maiden and they weren’t Black Sabbath, but you could hear the homage paid to bands of the day in every power-laden surge and authoritative vocal. These guys are here to rock in a serious way, and Redefine proves that they may actually have a career of some longevity, unlike many rockers who found it convenient a few years ago to throw trendy raps and posturing into their selections. What makes this work is that Soil is equal parts present and past—the result is impressive and sure to appeal to those seeking the true heart of metal worldwide.

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The first track on the album, “Pride” was recently showcased on the EP the band passed out at its shows with Static X. Basically, this song just pounds the listener before segueing into the chorus of “I’ll be my superhero #1. I’ll save me from myself.” Throughout the energetic pulsation, Ryan McComb’s vocals are appropriately gravely and intense. The title track, “Redefine,” does nothing to slow down the tempo either. Instead, it just continues to showcase Soil’s sense of timing—the ability to start the songs at a faster tempo than the bridges and the choruses which is a direct contrast from many groups who have made a career out of doing just the opposite. It all just serves to create a lack of predictability in the listener and the ears just find themselves wanting to pay attention to the auditory scenery. This isn’t peripheral music either--these songs demand some attention.

Lyrically, the band tends to write about many of the standard themes of loss and alienation, and in truth, lines like “Life is so fragile, like a trembling leaf” could quickly become a point of irritation or cross the line into merciless whining, but it seems to work here primarily because the music just presents itself as being both full and strong. Soil’s songs could be about dishwashing liquid, and they would still be worth numerous listens. “Can You Heal Me,” “Cross My Heart” and “Suffering” all possess the same elements that make rock the great genre it is. Tom Schofield’s drumming and Tim King’s bass lines propel the sound that dictates the emotions which disperse aggression through the speakers where it eventually becomes a catharsis for all who listen.

The disc concludes with “Say You Will,” “Love Hate Game” and “Obsession.” All songs are remarkably as strong as those that precede it. The only complaint one could possibly have might resemble something like, “These songs sound kinda similar.” Well, if they do, they sound similar in the same way that Rob Zombie tunes sound similar or AC/DC songs sound similar. When the band’s music is this good, it is hard to believe anyone would care. In the end, why should a group throw a couple of oddball tracks onto a disc just for the sake of diversity? If the band has a strong vision and the ability to realize that vision, they should just run with it. That’s what Soil has achieved with Redefine. If the future finds this group producing four more albums like this one, I’d still be happy.

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