heavy metal

Soil Bio

Band members
Ryan McCombs - vocals
Adam Zadel - guitars, vocals
Shaun Glass - guitars
Tim King - bass
Tom Schofield - drums


Where do Soil fit amidst the modern age of superficial hard rock heroes and fleeting, nu-metal fancies? They don't—And that's the beauty of the Chicago five-piece. Unlike many of their contemporaries—who have more piercings than they do hooks, and louder hair than their music—frontman Ryan McCombs, guitarists Adam Zadel and Shaun Glass, bassist Tim King and drummer Tom Schofield have honed their skills through the more traditional avenues of musical success, namely, independent releases that chart their growth, show after show of live conditioning, and a chemistry that is rooted in years of development and experience.

The power of their independent efforts El Chupacabra (1998) and Throttle Junkies (1999) on MIA Records led to their signing with J Records, who released Scars in the fall of 2001. The major-label debut spawned the hard rock anthem "Halo," which exploded at Active Rock across the country, triggering more than a year on the road, tours ranging from sold-out arenas with Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Zombie and Mudvayne, to large clubs with Static-X and Sevendust, and a summer on OZZfest, where Soil sparked Second Stage mayhem on a daily basis. But it wasn't just the throngs of fans who were impressed, as Soil even won the respect of the oft-cynical mainstream press.

Radio & Records called the band, "the steroid-injected slab of rock you've been waiting for." On every level, Scars was an unadulterated success, but it was just the beginning. With new release Redefine, Soil do just that, taking everything we came to expect with Scars, and turning it up a notch. "We were on the road for thirteen months, and we learned a lot about ourselves," says King of the creative process that led to their new release. "When we sat down to do the new record, we wanted to stay true to our sound. We took that energy and passion and brought it into the music."

Soil's energy and passion immediately resonated through the hard rock community this summer upon release of the Pride EP, selling-out wherever the band played on this fall's Static X tour. The EP's title track, also found on Redefine, is a riveting joyride through driving guitars, a bombastic bottom end, vocal hooks, and meatier melodies than any metal bands this side of the millennium, was included on the soundtrack to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the M2 Headbangers Ball compilation.

If one needed further convincing, on Redefine the proof is unmistakable. The authoritative slam of lead single and title track has a similar punch and live appeal, "We like songs that grab you, hook you, and don't fuck around, but at the same time, we love melody," sums Glass of their sophomore effort, every bit as potent as their debut, but all the more convincing in its delivery. If Scars was a monster truck revving its engine, Redefine is the same monster truck bulldozing through any opposition in its path.

For every bit of punk rock bravado that rips "Redefine" and "Pride," there's a darkness haunting "Something Real" that delivers an eerie foreboding. The darkness thickens with "Can You Heal Me," elements of Alice In Chains rising to the surface as McComb's vocals flip from a Layne Staley-esque growl to a skyscraping pitch that screams with agitation and attitude. "Love/Hate/Game" is a belligerent blast of aggression that punches through the speakers like a sonic blow to the head, while "Cross My Heart" spits piss and vinegar in the fan for a sound that could saddle side-by-side with Metallica.

"It's important for every band to have their own identity, and I'm a big culprit of saying, ‘This sounds like something I've heard before…' But it's better to be like that, than be an ostrich with your head in the sand," says Zadel, unafraid of comparisons, because Soil are proud of their influences. "You can't just rehash other people's crap and then play dumb when you're asked about it—Our influences show, but we love what we do, and we've got something special when we all get together. It's all our different influences that keep the band interesting."

"One of the hidden gems on the album is ‘Obsession," adds Glass, "and that's a perfect example of our influences. That was a riff I wrote, and all of a sudden it fell into place as part of a big, epic Tool-like song… A well-concealed epic, actually—It's not a twelve-minute epic like Iron Maiden's ‘Rime Of The Ancient Mariner,' because we don't have the attention span for a twelve-minute song."

What they do have, is an attention to detail. From the Middle Eastern flavor that adds spice to "Deny Me," to the lush abundance of vocal harmonies that elevate the likes of "Pride," Redefine takes on a three-dimensional scope that makes listening to the album as much of an adventure as experiencing the band live. "I really love some of the things Adam's done vocally on this record," says McCombs. "When we recorded this, I was home in Indiana and the band was in Chicago… I was getting songs and having to come up with different lyrical ideas, but I wasn't there in the room when the riff was written, to feel it pop—They built the arms and legs, and I had to put the ideas into their brains.

"Lyrically, these songs are our children, and they've all got their special places to us," the frontman continues, proud of the effort that went into each, but unwilling to offer specific lyrical inspirations. "No matter what your position in life—whether you're married or not, a dad or not, or what you do for a living—you keep having trials and tribulations, moral dilemmas, and confrontations you need to face, and whether it was on the road, or at home with my family, I've had my eyes opened up to a whole new realm of experiences. A lot of people have their ‘Halos,' it doesn't matter what mine was when I wrote the song."

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