Review Summary: SOiL's first major label release is a solid effort, but fails to garner real acclaim.
Remember Nirvana? Of course, who hasn't. SOiL definitely hasn't, that's for sure. SOiL's first major label release, Scars, is certainly a strong release, but it's definitely nothing groundbreaking. The album is enough to satisfy most hard rockers and alt metal fans, with catchy hooks, harsh throaty vocals, and some heavy guitar. It's the type of music that you'll be guaranteed to find in the hundreds of AMV's on Youtube, as long as it can create a sense of ferocity inside the vid. But after listening to the song a few times, really, you have to question yourself, was that song really worth listening to?
Scars is basically your straight up heavy grunge album. It grasps the melody of grunge, while swaying around some doses of heavy metal in the mix. Ryan McCombs has a strong singing voice, a voice that is necessary for almost any grunge band to gain fame. Sure, he's still a fine vocalist. He can balance and mix melody and intensity in his singing fairly well, and his voice does suit SOiL's style of music perfectly well. But, the only problem is his diversity. In the occassional songs such as "The One", and "Unreal", he may actually show a slight change of vocal style. Other than that, you can probably predict how he will sing in a song without even listening to the song.
Well, this isn't to say that this album is bad. It's a fair album. As I mentioned before, "Breaking Me Down" is one of the catchiest songs on the album, with a pretty hard to beat chorus and a nice drum beat. Though the chorus may be catchy, the lyrics certainly aren't. The lyrics are pretty repetitive throughout all the songs, and just by hearing the chorus once, ou will probably have memorized the chorus's words. Of course, there's some other pretty nice songs going on. "Halo" is one of the better songs, with a pretty hard to forget chorus with a even harder to forget line (I will stone you stone you, my little halo). In "The One", another one of the fine songs of the album, it shows a more mature side of SOiL, and is basically a ballad in its own sense. McCombs switches off into some more sensitive, moody style of singing, both in his voice, and in his lyrics. In the brief intense moment right after the second chorus, there's actually a period where he sounds EXACTLY like Kurt Cobain, with the higher pitched raspy voice, and the undistinguishable lyrics. "Two Skins" is the type of song that really favors brutalness over melody, with McCombs really simply overdoing his duties, while "Inside" explores a possible nu-metal orientation of the band.
Everything else on the album is pretty normal. Only "Need To Feel" features a guitar solo, starting at 2:28. However, the guitar solo is nothing out of the ordinary, and if you're familiar with Drowning Pools first album, Sinner, you'd probably have a good idea of how this guitar solo will sound. Of course, everything is ranged in a sense to give the listener a sense of heaviness, but still some melody.
So, Scars is a pretty decent record, enough to appeal to many rock fans out there. It's the type of album that doesn't really appeal on the first listen, or the 5th listen, but instead, the 3rd listen. Though the vocals complement the music perfectly well, and there are catchy tunes here and there to satisfy the listener, that's as far as the magic goes. It's a decent effort, and but it doesn't completely reflect on the rest of SOiL's career.
Breaking Me Down