Scars album with popular singer Ryan McCombs back behind the microphone

" /> Scars album with popular singer Ryan McCombs back behind the microphone

" /> SOiL – LIVE: Electric Ballroom, London 2012 – Jukebox:Metal Jukebox:Metal | SOiL - LIVE: Electric Ballroom, London 2012 review
SOiL - LIVE: Electric Ballroom, London 2012

Co-headline Tour
December 5 (21:45-22:40)
Capacity 1000

SOiL made their triumphant "comeback" around the same time last year, when they toured for the anniversary of their hugely successful Scars album with popular singer Ryan McCombs back behind the microphone. Although they hadn't really gone away, it's fair to say the interest in the band while fronted by A.J. Cavalier had waned.

In order to keep the momentum going until 2013's new studio album the London show from the anniversary tour was recorded and released as the live album Re-LIVE-ing The Scars earlier this year, followed by this return to the same venue on a co-headlining tour with Fozzy.

With such lively headliners the need for support bands wasn't particularly great, but still there were two, and openers Villains suffered from an early stage time and being generally surplus to requirements. Cult UK outfit Breed 77, who have been on the scene for a good number of years now but have yet to elevate themselves above opening act status, then enjoyed a generous 40 minutes on stage to a good reception from London concert-going regulars familiar with the band. Their newer material fell a little flat, but cuts from older albums still show the hints of potential the band always had and never realised.

Despite some other shows around the country earlier in the year, this one was Fozzy's first London show since the release of their new album Sin And Bones, so their set was obviously weighted in favour of those songs. Starting off with the album's own opening brace didn't get the audience engaged as quickly as they could have, but lead single Sandpaper, and later She's My Addiction certainly benefited from the heavier live sound the band have compared to the record, where both songs sound like average radio rock.

In all six songs out of the 11 played were taken from the new disc, which is a reasonable thing to do with an hour on stage, but they did make two glaring mistakes with the setlist. Firstly, despite playing it on other nights, the peerless Martyr No More, from previous album Chasing The Grail was omitted, and secondly they closed with a new song, right after exciting the crowd with their biggest hit, Enemy. That ended the show on a flat note which was a shame given the good performance up until then with front-man Chris Jericho and guitarist Rich Ward racing and jumping around the stage as usual, and second guitarist Billy Grey growing in confidence with each passing tour.

Despite Fozzy's increasingly high status in the UK, when SOiL launched into a crushing Breaking Me Down it was pretty clear that most of the crowd, Fozzy fans or otherwise, were here predominantly for them. Understandably they are still sticking exclusively to the material recorded with McCombs (although they're not playing anything from the Adrenaline Junkies album or SOiL EP, both of which were released before the landmark Scars), and really seem keen to present the image that a McCombs-fronted SOiL is all they're interested in right now. The fans aren't complaining of course, as the albums recorded with Cavalier were never that popular, and it seems to have given the other older members of the band, Tim King (bass) and Adam Zadel (guitar), a renewed energy and enthusiasm which they're carrying into their live performances.

Even though the band couldn't (or didn't try to) convince McCombs to sing any Cavalier songs, he has convinced them to let him do one of the songs he recorded with Drowning Pool, whom he fronted while not in SOiL. Once a new album is out that probably won't happen again, but it's a sign of good grace from the rest of the band to allow their talismanic front-man to do that. And it has to be said the band have missed him and his engaging presence on stage.

Ultimately though SOiL could simply have done with doing more. In the end they played for five minutes less than Fozzy, despite closing every show and having top billing on all the advertising, and to have an encore of merely a sloppy cover of Ram Jam's Black Betty was a pretty poor finale. Up to that point they were outstanding and continuing to build on this good run should be no problem at all. Next year is likely to be a big year for them.

“ renewed energy and enthusiasm ”

Breed 77 setlist: Calling Out / The Battle of Hatin / Blind / Drown / Poison / The River / Zombie/Calling Out (Reprise) / La Ultima Hora

Fozzy setlist: Spider In My Mouth / Sandpaper / Eat The Rich / Pray For Blood / Inside My Head / She's My Addiction / God Pounds His Nails / To Kill A Stranger / Sin And Bones / Enemy / Blood Happens

SOiL setlist: Breaking Me Down / Pride / Need To Feel / Redefine / 37 Stitches / My Own / The One / My Time / Inside / Unreal / Halo // Black Betty

Photo(s): Andy Lye

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2012, Alternative, Gigs, Heavy Metal, ,

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