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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Jeff Scott Soto – Damage Control album reviewReleased on: Frontiers records. Release date: Available now

The excellent vocals and all out musical ability of Jeff Scott Soto (Talisman, Yngwie Malmsteen, Soul SirkUS, Journey), return on this excellent return to some sheer classy melodic rock of the highest calibre.

This man has shared the stage with so many rock legends, not to mention the fact that he’s currently touring the US as part of the Queen Extravaganza put together with the help of Queen’s Roger Taylor and Brian May.
He’s also got a whole host of guest musicians here including long time fellow band mate Gary Schutt, as well as Joel Hoekstra (Night Ranger, Rock of Ages) and from Y&T Dave Meniketti (Guitars/Vocals) and Mike Vanderhule (Drums) and many more!

'Damage Control' is a seriously class album, no question!

I just love the heavy introductory groove of opener ‘Give a Little More,’ but then there’s so many hooks and the huge chorus, alongside those killer vocals, it’s just brilliant!

‘Damage Control’ starts again with a heavy riff, but I’m also impressed by the keyboard interaction at the start, playing off the guitar.
The song gets into a strong melodic vein, as JSS simply handles so well, at any time, another winner to me!
The guitar solo work on both of these opening tracks is exquisite!
There, who’d have thought I’d use that expression here?!

I’m telling you folks; ‘Look Inside Your Heart’ deserves to be a huge hit single! Great punchy, yet hook laden riffs and the keyboard melody once more just blends so well, it’s just such a well written song and the vocal performance once again, flawless!
Oh and if that wasn’t enough, get a load of the harmony guitar solo, killer! I could play this track over and over and find something else that would make me love it even more. It just keeps giving, class!

Seriously, this album captures so much of so many favourite AOR and hard rock classic moments, that conjures up images and sounds that you can probably relate to many big favourite melodic hard rocking bands.
The musicianship throughout is top notch and besides the players mentioned, there are many others who contributed too, so it's quite an eventful album. 

‘If I Never Let Her Go’ is certainly AOR Pop/Rock of the finest quality, slick indeed and keeps everything on track.

In ‘Die A Little’ it’s a little funky in the verse, yet the pre-chorus and chorus is much more of the slick smooth AOR Pop / Rock that JSS can do so well. You know it’s almost like Richard Marx best material meets Toto, I really love this album, seriously, it’s a complete winner and deserves to be monster. Thanks Jeff!

The magic just keeps coming in the shape of ‘Tears That I Cry’ and the massive power ballad ‘BonaFide.’The latter being a gem that any mega 80’s act I’m sure would wish they’d written and performed. Excellence to a fault!
Jeff, I’m sure you can do this stuff in your sleep now too, eh?

‘Krazy World’ next is a seriously heavier affair. Heavier, dirty riffs and as heavy as the verses get, you just know that the chorus is guaranteed to grab you and yes, it does. The guitar work is serious stuff too and of course, without sleeve notes and with a press release that doesn’t tell you who plays on what …, well, what can I tell you?! Good stuff, no matter what!

With ‘How To Love Again,’ it’s a little like modern Journey in places, it’s a mid-paced up tempo pop rocker and the fact that JSS spent time on the road with Journey, I guarantee that material was worked on together. Listen to the guitar work again, killer and the rhythm section is just great! Nice track.

‘Afterworld’ starts with nice ‘n’ dirty guitar riff and then a growling vocal from JSS gets this steady, dark rocker going.

Final track on the version I have, ‘Never Ending War’ starts with sound effects from a war scene and a young boy saying the Lord’s prayer, as the band then gets into an offbeat yet strong, emotive, epic like track.

It’s really a great album, I will say, that the first half is more instant than perhaps the second, but once you’ve spun this a few times, you’ll get what I mean about just how strong it is.
There's a regular version, with the tracks I've reviewed here out there, but also a deluxe version with a bonus DVD.
Knock yourselves out folks, a great album that cries out to be heard!

Rating: 4.75 out of 5


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