El Chupacabra!

Soil - El Chupacabra! ©1998 MIA Records
1. F-Hole
2. Broken Wings
3. Crucified
4. She
5. Two Cent Friend

With all the various subgenres and new approaches to metal that have arise over the past decade, it seems that too many bands have forgotten one important element: rock. As in, ROCK OUT! The past few months my musical diet has been filled with all sorts of metal acts using all sorts of oddball techniques such as symphonic/folk influence, unusual instrumentation, overt technicality, etc, but it's been so long since I've heard a band that makes me want to trash my bedroom.

Featuring a vocalist who sounds like Anthrax's John Bush in a baritone range (with just a slight dab of Danzig) and an arsenal of riffs that just rock hard, Soil's debut EP is a breath of fresh air to the scene. Songs like the raging "F-Hole" sound fantastic in the car stereo while you recklessly zip around in freeway traffic and "Two Cent Friend" is a good soundtrack for your next air guitar video production. I wouldn't say Soil has done anything revolutionary to music in general, but what they have accomplished is putting together five extremely well-written songs that remind you why you listen to rock and metal to begin with. Currently the band is working with legendary producer Steve Albini on a full length due in the spring. Let's hope they continue right where this one leaves off.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 12/1998

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Throttle Junkies

Soil - Throttle Junkies ©1999 MIA Records
1. Everything
2. Road To Ruin
3. Damning Eden
4. F-hole
5. Man I Am
6. Hello Again
7. Butterfly
8. Growing Ways
9. Stand To Fall
10. Concrete Slave
11. She
12. Crucified
13. Shining Man
14. Damning Eden (acoustic)

Taking right off from where the El Chupacabra! EP left off (and in fact reprising three of the five tracks), Throttle Junkies offers no pretense or apologies for simply playing heavy rock'n'roll. Soil seems very intent on just playing crushingly heavy songs that do not follow any particular trends. With the strong Danzig-meets-Staley vocal presence of Ryan McCombs leading the charge, the band rumbles through fourteen tracks of varying material that is either high pep ("F-Hole", "Everything"), brooding ("Man I Am", "She") or grooving in between. The main emphasis seems to be on writing memorable songs that allow for catchiness while not succombing to ease of listening that a more mainstream act might. Admittedly, the overall punch of the album isn't as strong as the El Chupacabra! EP, partly due to the length. Soil is able to pull off the moodier, slower tempo songs relatively well, but it does sacrifice a bit of the edge. Regardless, with Alice in Chains all but vanishing and Danzig being a bit too much of an imagery circus, Soil does offer a new hope for those into a heavier form of rock that has all the swagger and grittiness one would hope for.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 05/1999

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