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SOTO - Inside the Vertigo Award winner

SOTO
Inside the Vertigo
by MarcusTheRocker at 07 February 2015, 11:35 AM

When you've been in the business for a long time and appeared on an endless number of albums and projects with your own solo career to boot, trying to make something in your own style that doesn't sound like something else you've already done, is a real challenge. One of these artists is one who, last year, celebrated 30 years as a musician since his career began in 1984. The name I speak of is Jeff Scott Soto, who today releases a new album under his new band moniker SOTO, and the album in question is “Inside the Vertigo”, which is released via earMUSIC and not his usual label Frontiers.

For this one, Jeff went all out and collaborated with a lot of musicians and friends that he knew in the business such as Casey Grillo from KAMELOT, Al Pitrelli from TRANS SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA, Jason Bieler from SAIGON KICK, Joel Hoekstra from WHITESNAKE and Leo Mancini from TEMPESTT, to name a few, as well as the members of his current live band, including Jorge Salan on guitar, David Z on bass, BJ on guitar and keys and Edu Cominato on drums. The total number of musicians involved on this album is between 15-20, so needless to say, this is going to be one interesting album if you have that many musicians involved. I've been a fan of Jeff’s music since roughly 2009 and I have listened to a lot of his stuff, both old and new, so I was able to get a rough feel for the different genres he has sung in including Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Melodic Rock and even Funk music as well.

His previous solo album “Damage Control” had more of a Melodic Rock feel to it with a couple of heavy songs in there and it was a solid release all round, but this one is more centered around the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal genres, as heaviness is the key and the general aim was to pay homage to the early days of JSS’s career, as he was known for his heavy material, so this review is here to find out if he was successful or not.

The album kicks off with a song called “Final Say” which is a collaboration with ADRENALINE MOB guitarist Mike Orlando and this is a great opener to the album, as it gives you a taste of the new heavier JSS sound filled with insane heavy melodies and some pretty insane guitar solos to boot, and that insanity continues throughout this record with songs such as “Wrath” which is written by FIREWIND guitarist Gus G, the single “The Fall” which is written by Tony Dickinson who is a member of the TRANS SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA touring band as a back-up musician, “Break”, which is written by Connor Engstrom, who is another back-up musician for the TRANS SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA touring band, the title track “Inside the Vertigo”, which was co-written by Gary Schutt, who is a long time friend of JSS, and the albums closing song “Fall to Pieces”, which was co-written by the current lead guitarist of the JSS live band, Jorge Salan. Each musician involved with this album brings out their own unique writing style and the results are present when you listen to it, as each one showcases their talent and you can see why JSS asked them to get involved with this album and contribute something.

Standout tracks? It’s hard to pick one, as each one is fantastic and a perfect homage to the early heavier days of JSS’s career, but if there’s one song that stands out above the rest, it has got to be the midway point track, “End of Days”, whose aim was to have an epic movie soundtrack type feel to it and it manages to achieve that beautifully. This is the longest song JSS has ever written for his solo career and it is also a song that he has stated is a proud moment of his career and he was right to say that as this is nothing short of epic, thanks to the spine tingling orchestral arrangements from Connor Engstrom, the transitions between soft moments and heavier moments, and the fact that Jeff got his stepdaughter and two nieces to provide some vocals for the children’s chorus, which is a really nice touch. You know what? I would so pay to see a film/play a game that had this in its soundtrack, even if the film/game was crap, as it would have been worth every penny just to hear this epic song in its soundtrack.

So what are my overall thoughts on this debut from S.O.T.O? We may have been waiting a long time to hear this ever since it was announced sometime last year but the wait was totally worth it. Every song stands out, thanks to the wide diversity of writing styles and musical talent from the large number of musicians involved with this project, and of course Jeff Scott Soto’s amazing vocal range, which keeps on getting stronger and stronger with every release he performs on. If you’re a fan/follower of JSS’s music, and if you were expecting this to be just as good if not better then the “Damage Control” album, then you will not be disappointed when you give this a spin but make sure you crank up the volume on your speakers to its loudest setting when you do, as each song will get your blood boiling with excitement and make sure you prepare your ears for a pure direct assault of heavy Rock and Metal music that will leave you wanting more.
 

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Final Say
2. The Fall
3. Wrath
4. Break
5. Narcissistically Yours
6. End of Days
7. Inside the Vertigo
8. When I’m Older
9. Trance
10. Jealousy
11. Karma’s Kiss
12. Fall to Pieces
Lineup:
Jeff Scott Soto - Vocals
Jorge Salan - Guitars
BJ - Guitars, Keys
David Z - Bass
Edu Cominato - Drums
Special Guests:
Mike Orlando - All instruments on “Final Say”
Tony Dickinson - All instruments (except lead guitar) on “The Fall”, Bass on “Break” and “End of Days”
Chris Feener - Lead Guitar on “The Fall”
Gus G - Guitar and Bass on “Wrath”
Connor Engstrom - Guitar on “Break” and “End of Days”, Orchestration on “Jealousy” and “End of Days”
Casey Grillo - Drums on “Break” and “End of Days”
Leo Mancini - Guitar on “Narcissistically Yours”, “Jealousy”
Henrique Baboom - Bass on “Narcissistically Yours”, “Trance”
Gary Schutt - Guitars and Bass on “Inside the Vertigo”
Al Pitrelli - Solo on “When I’m Older”
Hugo Mariutti - Guitar on “Trance”
Jason Bieler - Guitar on “Karma’s Kiss”
Chris McLernon - Bass on “Karma’s Kiss”
Juan Carlos Gibaja - Bass on “Fall to Pieces”
Edu Brenes - Drums on “Fall to Pieces”
Record Label: earMusic
     


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