Review Summary: SOJA's weakest album to date, but far from a miss!
“Even asleep, mentality's awake. / Nobody realizes how much we can take. / Let's save the future of the world for our sake.
Born in 1997, Soldier Of Jah Army (SOJA
) went on to become one of today's big reggae band. Caracterized by Jacob Hemphill's voice and great musicians, SOJA
created a unique sound that brought them to Worlwide recognition with albums like Get Wiser and Born In Babylon. Strength To Survive is their eighth record, released in 2012.
As a whole, the band on this album definitely sounds more united than previous albums, which is the strength and also the weakness of this record. It works well on songs like "Mentality" but stays too much on a comfort zone on "Everything Changes". The band decided to go for a Pop-Reggae sound and wandered away from their Reggae origins which will disappoint long time fans. Radio friendly songs like the ballad "Don't Worry" are predictable and are pretty bland and makes this album pretty boring after a few songs.
It's on songs like "It's Not Too Late" that SOJA
shines with a straight up roots reggae backed up by an omnipresent bass line. One thing's for sure, this albums has politically engaged lyrics, with a message of hope and love for today's World. Talking about relationships, morals and politics, Jacob Hemphis always has a nice way to put words in a sing-along friendly way. You'll only need a few listen to be able to sing most of the songs.
The general atmosphere is surprisingly very somber compared to the lyrics that are usually very upbringing. One good example would be "Don't Worry", a song of hope backed by a depressing reggae instrumental. Brass instruments that used to emphasize the rhythm during the chorus on previous records are almost completely gone, either replaced by electronic effects or simply absent.
didn't produce the best album of their career but this isn't a miss nonetheless. The band is changing it's sound, that's for sure, becoming a little more radio friendly. Although this might add more audience to the Reggae World, fans will probably be disappointed by this, as SOJA
were known for their roots sound.
“And I'll task, in the west in the years to come / Does the dollar really matter when our whole world is gone" / Worry about yourself, while the world stills turns / Waiting until we watch it burn