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Picture Perfect

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(5 Reviews)

Metal Album Reviews[RSS]

  • I like the earlier works of Soil and Drowning Pool so after they switched lead singers it wasn’t that bad of a deal for either band. Great melodies with a hard rock feel. A definite listen!

    Posted on November 20, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I was looking forward to this album. This album is not as good as prior work, I own all their albums. I first heard them when they released scars and have liked them since. On his album unlike the last one “true self” they attempt to harmonize a lot. Frankly this album is taking the band into a new direction its unlike anything they’ve done before. To me it sounds like a heavy version of Hinder. One or two tracks are classic soil sound but mostly the album is soft. I like the album but I see nothing that stands out enough to say it’s anything above average. Some of the guitar work is more technical then in the past; however none of those songs really stood out on the album also. It’s not a bad album, just don’t expect much

    Posted on November 20, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Chicago’s Soil are back with their fifth full length, appropriately titled Picture Perfect. After original vocalist Ryan McCombs departed, he was replaced by A.J. Cavalier on 2006’s True Self. Soil then lost original guitarist Shaun Glass, who left to form his own band Dirge Within. Now Soil are back as a slick refined four piece. But, will those key losses be too much for them to recover?

    Picture Perfect opens with a perfect one-two punch with “Tear It Down” and “The Lesser Man.” “Tear It Down” crams titanic guitar chunk directly down your throat, while Cavalier adds the perfect balance of heavy and melodic vocals. It’s a great anthem song for fans to sing along with at a show. “The Lesser Man” slows things down a bit taking a much more rock oriented approach with a southern twist. One thing I noticed is that Cavalier has grown tremendously from True Self. He reminds me a lot of Stephen Richards (Taproot), with a twist of Ian Astbury (The Cult) on steroids.

    The title track “Picture Perfect” and “Surrounded” are songs that Soil would have never been able to pull off in the past. Musically, “Picture Perfect” takes Soil in a completely different direction with an almost Korn-like vibe that quickly turns into this huge rocking chorus. I can hear this song dominating radio waves across this nation. “Surrounded” sees Soil blow the dust off the old acoustics and still lay it down. Even though the song is more of a ballad, it’s very solid from beginning to end. I can’t stress how much Cavalier’s voice has grown over the past few years.

    I will say that there are quite a bit of slower, more ballad-driven rock songs on this cd than in previous efforts. Songs like “Anymore,” “Too Far Away” and “Last Wish” might be a departure for the band, but definitely infectious to say the least.

    Soil return to form with songs like “Every Moment” and “Temptation.” The hard rockin’ riffing of Adam Zadel is backed up with the bottomed out bass and drums licks. Cavalier lends killer falsetto vocals to the chorus of “Every Moment,” which will get stuck in your skull for days. “Temptation” starts off with sick and twisted sounds of backwards voices that quickly turn into big stomping grooves that kick you square in the nuts. Once again, the choruses are perfectly set up for fan interaction with an almost answer-call style. There are so many bounces and grooves in this song it’s completely ridiculous.

    Although some hardcore Soil fans might find this album hard to digest at first, just give it time. Soil have proven they haven’t missed a step with the loss of two “signature” members. With Picture Perfect, Soil Redefine their sound, show that the Scars have healed, and finally find their True Self.


    Posted on November 20, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Poor, poor Soil. Emerging in late 2001, the band had the unfortunate fate of being lumped in with third-tier nu-metal acts such as Drowning Pool and Adema and could never quite break out on their own. But Soil were never quite nu-metal, and in spite of the repetitive nature of their music, had a sound all their own. With a distinct vocalist and hooky guitar-riffs, the band’s formula produced a few hits with its two major-label albums before frontman Ryan McCombs departed, only to re-emerge in the aforementioned Drowning Pool. The band regained its footing slightly with 2006’s True Self, but the album failed to hit like its predecessors did, and soon guitarist Shaun Glass departed as well.

    You would think that with all they have endured over the years that the core members of Soil would have given up by now. At the very least, it’s surprising to see that they have stood by the Soil name, even after its two key members are long gone. You could chalk it up to the survivors trying to cash-in on a somewhat viable name or you could simply assume that they are too stubborn to give it a rest. Whatever it is, though, Soil’s fourth record certainly rocks and provides more than ample proof that the band are willing and prepared to stand on their own merits. Like “Scars” in its time, “Picture Perfect” isn’t so much a game changer as it is an album that holds its own against its competition.

    With producer Johnny K (Disturbed, Finger Eleven) in tow, Soil (now a foursome) manage to successfully capitalize on their catchy-brand of grungy hard-rock without the help of the members who previously steered the course. The album finds frontman A.J. Cavalier coming into his own, showing more range than he did on “True Self” (witness the soul he exudes on the bluesy “Lesser Man”) while the band continue churning out simple yet effective and catchy tunes. The production is rock solid, as expected, with each of the thirteen tracks delivering enough variety to sustain an album without completely abandoning the tried and true sound of the band.

    While “Picture Perfect” could be criticized for walking the beaten path, it’s hard to hate on a simple rock album that knows what it is and does its job efficiently. If there’s one thing to be said about this band, they are very good at adapting to change, and their fourth album does a good job at keeping with tradition. No, it’s not breaking any molds, but those who seek good old hard rock with no frills will appreciate what “Picture Perfect” brings to the table.

    Posted on November 20, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I’ve reviewed SOiL albums in the past, and some of what I say will not be new. SOiL are a band that are clearly redefining their sound with every album – this one is no exception. Picture Perfect is another great release.

    I was surprised that the band went this direction. This CD is clearly not as heavy as the previous release. If you are familiar with Seether’s album “Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces,” Seether stated they would be exploring their poppier side with that album. I’d compare SOiL’s latest to that album. Although, both albums are definaletly still hard driving, there is more of a ballad/rock anthem feel to several songs.

    The band has once again “Redefined” their sound. Picture Perfect may be closer sonically to the first two SOiL albums. Nonetheless, every song is catchy and well written. I’ll be listening to this one for quite sometime.

    Posted on November 20, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now