True Self

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Soil's third full-length album finds the Chicago-based heavies with a new lead singer. Newcomer A.J. Cavalier -- longtime vocalist Ryan McCombs joined Drowning Pool in 2004 -- can ape Alice in Chains' Layne Staley as well as his predecessor, but he reaches deeper and growls heavier, breaking free from much of the post-grunge whining that plagued earlier recordings. It only takes a few seconds into leadoff track "Fight for Life" to get that True Self is a rock heading toward an awfully big glass window. From the blistering "Give It Up" to the dark, "Unforgiven"-era Metallica-esque closer "One Last Song," Soil fall victim to the simplistic self-loathing that plagued the grunge era only in lyric, and it's the tight, melodic, and more often than not brutal firestorm behind those words that sends that rock clear through the other side of the building. ~ James Christopher Monger, Rovi