Album review: SOTO – Inside The Vertigo (Jeff Scott Soto)

Interview edit: Jeff Scott Soto with David Randall, 13 January 2015 (15:04)

Jeff is featured in an hour long special “Favourite Tracks from Favourite Artists” when he chooses the music and chats about his career, including Talisman and Journey

Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sunday 25 January, 16:00

SOTO - Inside The Vertigo (Jeff Scott Soto)

earMUSIC [Release date 02.02.15]

One of my gig highlights of 2014, and reflected in my Best of 2014 selection, was seeing Jeff Scott Soto perform at a very small venue in the north of England.  It may have been a small, if appreciative, audience but the performance was magnificent and, for me, enlightening.

‘Inside The Vertigo’ is the first album with his current band who so impressed at that gig.  But it’s also a shift in a heavier, darker direction than previous offerings such as ‘Damage Control’.

‘Soto’ is really a heavier mosaic of all the singer’s influences – it is still possible to detect his melodic and soulful approach given bite by his excellent band – two of whom feature in Tempestt with whom Soto toured previously.

There is a relentless driving funk to the whole album, from the opener ‘Final Say’ which has a Pantera-feel in the riff and a splendidly frenetic Jorge Salan solo.

This groove-laden approach is continued throughout, always grounded in a memorable chorus and showcasing Jeff’s incisive vocals such as ‘The Fall’ and ‘Wrath’ whilst ‘Break’ and ‘Karma’s Kiss’ have that gut-churning grip that proves irresistible.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is the mid-album epic ‘End Of Days’  which – with its hint of school choir could be Soto’s ‘Another Brick In The Wall’ – but much darker and with an orchestral undertow – and railing against ‘a world on fire’.  This is heavy metal in widescreen format.

More traditional “Soto” is evidenced on ‘When I’m Older’, an utterly superb standout ballad and great vocal performance as we’ve come to expect and coming across like a much heavier version of Toto in places.

Not content with unleashing a fabulous band, Soto has collaborated with Gus G, Jason Bieler (Saigon Kick) and Joel Hoekstra (Night Ranger) amongst others.

The most you can say about this album, it kicks ass and then some but, moreover, sets the melodic hard rock/metal bar rather too high for the rest of 2015.  Glorious.  *****

Review by David Randall

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.

Gig review (June 2014)


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