Jeff Scott Soto: Retribution
Veteran vocalist Jeff Scott Soto is a busy man these days, touring with Trans-Siberian Orchestra, lead singer for supergroups W.E.T. & Sons of Apollo, and also making sure to keep his solo career moving forward, his latest release for Frontiers Records titled Retribution. A pretty hard rocking affair, Retribution also sports a solid band & guest musicians supporting Soto, which includes:
Jeff Scott Soto Vocals, Keyboards
Howie Simon Guitar & Bass (except on "Reign Again" and "Song For Joey")
Edu Cominato Drums
August Zadra Guitar on "Reign Again"
Stephen Sturm Guitar on "Reign Again"
Carlos Costa Bass on "Reign Again"
Paul Mendonca Guitar, Keyboards & Bass on "Song For Joey"
Right from the outset with the raging title track, it's apparent that Soto is intent on kicking ass and taking no names this time around. Fueled by some massive Simon riffs, Hammond organ, and Soto's powerful wails, it's an energetic and heavy song to jumpstart the album. "Inside/Outside" is even more furious, complete with intricate, screaming guitar work but loaded with vocal hooks, no doubt Soto's time spent with Sons of Apollo recently having rubbed off on him, while "Rage of the Year" is pure headbanging fun, another crushingly heavy track that shows that Retribution means some serious business.
The singer dips back into his melodic rock bag of tricks for the hook laden "Reign Again", complete with dueling guitars courtesy of August Zadra (Dennis DeYoung) and Stephen Sturm, and the irresistible "Feels Like Forever", a tune with a can't miss chorus that, in a perfect world, would be a major hit across the globe. "Last Time" returns things to melodic heavy rock, the guitar riffs massive, the rhythms potent, and Soto's vocals confident and strong, while "Bullet For My Baby", has a raunchier, bluesy edge. "Song For Joey" provides the albums emotional ballad, while the upbeat rockers "Dedicate to You" and "Breakout" feature crisp arrangements and plenty of memorable hooks. The tender acoustic piece "Autumn" closes out the album on a softer note, but on this whole, this is a pretty raucous album that shows Jeff Scott Soto in fine form along with his musical partner & co-producer Howie Simon. Memorable songs, whether heavy or melodic, great vocals, and top notch musicianship, make Retribution an overall winner of an album.
3- Rage Of The Year
4- Reign Again
5- Feels Like Forever
6- Last Time
7- Bullet For My Baby
8- Song For Joey
10- Dedicate To You
Added: December 10th 2017
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Artist Facebook Page
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|Jeff Scott Soto: Retribution
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2017-12-10 06:20:57
The freedom with which ex-Yngwie Malmsteen, Talisman, Journey, and current Trans Siberian Orchestra, WET, Sons Of Apollo and SOTO singer Jeff Scott Soto has been approaching his music in recent years, has been a real breath of fresh air. From symphonic to progressive metal via the funky soul of his Beautiful Mess solo outing and bristling metal of his new band SOTO, the vocalist has simply decided to dip his toes into whatever musical waters take his fancy. His recent dalliance with progressive jazz fusion outfit RTFact another perfect example of the many strings this man has to his vocal bow.
And yet for many Retribution is the JSS album they've been waiting for, this release a long hoped for return to melodic hard rock in a solo setting that in places reminds of his old cult act, Talisman. With guitarist Howie Simon at his side, the results are quite superb; amazingly energetic songs able to convey their message through the skilful way they are arranged and performed, while the energy and passion conveyed is simply undeniable. Talisman fans will rejoice in the welcome, familiar approach behind "Breakout", the fiery guitars underpinned by a bass line that the much missed Marcel Jacob would have been proud to call his own, while the call and response vocals are superb.
However, even within a framework JSS is never one to stand still, "Reign Again" allowing keyboards to add melodic hooks, as the man himself reveals a smooth voice that reminds those that may have forgotten, that Journey actually had the man to take them forward and respect their past when JSS injected their live show with some much needed and now much missed charisma. "Feels Like Forever" slows things down, verging on the grown up MHR of WET, while still providing enough of an individual viewpoint to make it stand on its own something a searing solo from Howie plays a huge hand in. The album's title cut bristles, bites and bursts with groove, while "Dedicate To You" positively explodes with a hard hitting, but controlled chorus that refuses to leave the mind and a guitar solo Steve Vai would love to pretend he created in his David Lee Roth years. Unusually, the album's only ballad "Autumn" closes things out, but with not a twee note in sight it's a surprisingly excellent choice. However, the moment that will touch most hearts is "Song For Joey", dedicated to the brother that Jeff lost earlier in the year. It's a fitting tribute to a soul taken too soon.
Doubtless this triumphant return to melodic hard rock will be fleeting, as JSS turns his considerable talents to whatever next takes his fancy
In all honesty, what with the amazingly high standard of the wide, varied output from Jeff Scott Soto in recent years, I wasn't actually in a great hurry to see the singer back in this setting. How wrong I was, Retribution is superb!
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